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History of 'Planet of the Apes'

Before the 'Rise,' we look at how the 'Planet of the Apes' franchise dominated the film landscape

By David Walker
Special to MSN Movies

Before "Star Wars" changed the cultural landscape, and before the revitalization of "Star Trek," when it was little more than a staple of syndicated reruns, there was the unmatched phenomenon of "Planet of the Apes." From the moment the first landmark film debuted in 1968, the world ruled by talking apes captured the imagination of audiences across the globe. Ape-mania quickly took over pop culture in a way that now seems commonplace, but in the early 1970s was still pretty rare.

Over the years, other film series, from "Star Wars" to "Harry Potter," have stolen the thunder of "Planet of the Apes." But there are still loyal fans who have been waiting for a "Apes" resurgence, many who have felt the sting of bitter disappointment of less-than-satisfying attempts to resurrect the franchise in a variety of media. Now, with the release of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," these same fans hope that the series will be restored to its former glory — or at least that this film will be better than Tim Burton's misguided mess.

With a cast of CGI simians rampaging through San Francisco, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" has been marketed as something of a prequel to the original 1968 "Planet of the Apes." But die-hard purists are already grumbling that the film's very premise rewrites the entire mythology created in the first movie. In preparation for the release of "Rise," here is a brief history lesson of everything you need to know about "Planet of the Apes."

Next: Checking out 'Planet of the Apes' book

(20th Century Fox)

 
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