Weekend Weeviews: Omega Man, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

A month between postings. Who needs regular updates? I’ve got a few of these weekend weeviews piled up, so I’m going to do them two at a time every couple of days.

Omega Man

Charleton Heston makes this post-apocalyptic world view quite the masterpiece. Considering his current stance on guns, it is easy to throw a couple of cheap shots at the movie in which he plays a gun-crazed doctor. Thinking you’re the only one left in existence has got to be pretty hard on the psyche, and it shows in the character. Robert Neville (Heston’s character) obviously doesn’t think he’s really alone, just the only one left who shouldn’t be shot on sight. The rest of the human race was hit by a crappy plague, 28 days later-style. This plague apparently doesn’t kill all brain functions, but only crams you into a religious sect which could only be described as luddite. Movies aren’t interesting without a love interest, so Heston finds out early about Lisa (Rosalind Cash) who is keeping a set of children who are immune. Robert is also immune, and hopes to create a serum from his blood. This 70’s end of the world is remarkably watchable, although it has it’s moments of Action Movie. The acting is well done, although the cult of luddites is somewhat overplayed and has strange overtones of vampirism for some reason. Omega Man gets a 7. (imdb, amazon)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes

As a child of the 80s, I never saw any of the original Planet of the Apes movies, and always assumed they were campy and not well done. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that they actually have a plot and are interesting. This fourth movie in the series of 70s movies presents it’s moral message with a generous heaping of.. it’s moral message. Years after his parents travelled backward in time in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Caesar, the only talking ape left, is incognito with the circus master who raised him and comes to the city for the first time. At this time the plague which killed all pets has already ravaged the nation, humans have decided that apes are more useful as slaves than pets, and already have a large monolithic “Ape Management” section of government. Caesar gets thrown through the system when his “owner” gets brought into questioning for.. questioning the treatment of an ape. Being highly intelligent, he quickly gets snatched up for his skills by a top government official. Starting an underground resistance movement is the next step, and dominos start to fall from there. Conquest.. then degenerates into a large-cast action film, with hundreds of extras in a street-level ape vs. human fight. It’s not the most interesting movie ever, but considering my expectations I can happily give it a 6. (imdb, amazon)