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Film / Beneath the Planet of the Apes

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The first sequel to Planet of the Apes (1968) and second installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise, released in 1970.

A fellow astronaut, Major Brent, is sent to find Taylor and rescue him... and also crashes on the Planet of the Apes. He first finds Taylor's girl Nova. After they discover a former New York City subway station in a cave, he realizes where-as well as when-he is. The station leads to an underground base inhabited by mutant humans with psychic powers, who have already imprisoned Taylor, and cultivate a "Divine Bomb". When the apes decide to invade the Forbidden Zone and then find the mutants' lair... well, the trope examples below show it's catastrophic.

The sequel to this movie, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, was released in 1971.

This movie contains examples of:

  • And Starring: Charlton Heston (Taylor) is billed this way.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Ends up being Trope Namer three movies earlier than the most famous instance, although slightly different. When the advancing army of Apes is confronted by a vision of apparently butchered scouts, Zaius suggests giving the "scouts" a Mercy Kill, but Ursus replies that "I can't order them to do what the Lawgiver has forbidden. Ape shall not kill ape."
  • Apocalypse How: Class 6. Possibly even worse.
  • Atmosphere Abuse: An example of the "nukes ignite the atmosphere" idea: at the end of movie, the astronauts note that the detonation of a cobalt bomb could "set off a chain reaction in the whole atmosphere. Burn the planet to a cinder." After the bomb detonates:
    In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe lies a medium-size star. And one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead.
  • Back for the Dead: Enforced by Charlton Heston, who only accepted to return if Taylor's part was smaller and the character died.
  • Beneath the Earth: Has one that combines both urban and caverns. The humans who are the descendants of survivors of the fall of civilization almost 2,000 years earlier retreated to buried New York City and due to living next to a giant nuclear warhead, they became mutant, telepathic humans by the time Taylor and the rest arrived.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Mutants and General Ursus.
  • Big, Bulky Bomb: The Alpha-Omega bomb.
  • Body Horror: In one memorable scene, the lead mutants reveal themselves (and, by implication, all their people) to have repulsively translucent skin, with all their veins visible. It's surprisingly effective at being disgusting.
  • Cargo Cult: The mutants' god is a nuclear bomb.
    • For some amazing Lyrical Dissonance, the mutants' mantras are quite obviously Christian hymns with all references to "God" changed to "Bomb".
  • Collapsing Lair: The underground mutant lair.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Mutant Inquisitors wear robes that are color coordinated to match the visual effects of their thought projection abilities.
  • Convenient Decoy Cat: While Brent and Nova are outside the ape city, a gorilla guard hears them but doesn't realize who (or what) they are. The guard fires several shots into the trees in which they're hiding and a bird flies out of the trees. The guard thinks that the bird was what he heard and walks away, allowing Brent and Nova to escape.
  • Doomsday Device: Again, the Alpha-Omega bomb.
  • Downer Ending: "In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe, lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead."
  • Dragon-in-Chief: While General Ursus is the main ape antagonist in this film, he still works for Dr. Zaius.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: While many characters die, Nova is the most anticlimatic one.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What the cobalt bomb ends up doing.
  • "End Is Nigh" Ending: The film fades to white just as a dying Taylor presses a lever on a Doomsday Device that will completely destroy the planet.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: Literally everybody. Except Cornelius and Zira, as it turns out in the next movie.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Ursus, taking full advantage of the gorillas' deeper vocal chords.
  • Fan Disservice: The kiss would have been nice to watch if Brent hadn't tried to strangle Nova.
  • General Ripper: Ursus.
  • Idiot Ball: After being generally being sensible throughout the film, Dr. Zaius grabs it with both hands in the last scene.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Directly referenced in the ending voice-over.
  • ...In That Order: "If they catch you talking, they will dissect you. And kill you. In that order."
  • Just Before the End: Officially, this is the last movie before the entire planet is wiped out.
  • Kiss of Death: A mind-controlled Brent tries to suffocate Nova by forcefully kissing her.
  • Latex Perfection: The mutants wear incredibly life-like masks to cover up the fact that their skin is so pale their veins are visible all over their body.
  • Masking the Deformity: The mutant humans who survived underground appear to have normal features. Near the end of the movie, it's revealed that they're all wearing latex masks to make them look normal because their faces are horribly disfigured. Alternatively it is their actual skin that now can be removed, as they have mutated that way.
  • Mutants: A whole civilization is introduced towards the end.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Zaius again, but this time, General Ursus takes it even further complete with militaristic rhetoric to Exterminate All Humans.
  • Nubile Savage: Nova, once again.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: While the mutants are singing hymns praising their god - a cobalt bomb.
  • Plot Hole:
    • Famously, the year of the "present" in Beneath is given as roughly 20 years earlier than the year that was declared the "present" when Taylor landed in the original movie. Escape uses the same date for Taylor & Brent's doomed expeditions given in Beneath, arguably making it a full-on Retcon.
    • In the first movie Taylorís narration makes it clear they will never return to Earth by design, so why is Brent on a rescue mission? And how could Earth possibly know they needed help in the first place? Not to mention Taylor's expedition intended to go to a different planet, not Earth in the future, so how would they even know where to look?
  • Ridiculously Potent Explosive: The Alpha-Omega Bomb is a cobalt bomb that is the size of a regular Minuteman missile (and maybe launch-capable like one (which had warheads the size of a fridge) although the plot tries to imply the whole missile-like shell is the bomb) and yet it is capable of killing the entire planet.
  • Say My Name: Nova's first (and only) word is "TAYLOR!"
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens:
    • General Ursus was meant to be an fairly obvious Hitler Expy, but by the finished film, he'd become a more generic General Ripper type with a lot of muddled Vietnam symbolism thrown in.
    • The mutant humans worshiping A NUCLEAR BOMB are just as scary and dogmatic, but are equally confusing; their primary influence seems to be a mashup of general "cultist" behavior and American hypocrisy.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Semi-averted. Taylor disappears during the opening scene, before returning toward the end of the film (and getting killed in the final scene thereof).
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Brent for Taylor, though in terms of attitude he's far different. James Franciscus was even cast as Brent because of his Celebrity Resemblance to Charlton Heston.
  • Tears of Blood: The Ape Lawgiver statue in an illusion.
  • Technical Pacifist: The mutants; they insist they are a peaceful people because they "only" defend themselves by using their Psychic Powers to either Mind Rape their victims to insanity/suicide or Mind Control them into killing each other. Brent outright calls them hypocrites.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Dr. Zaius decides that it's a good idea to berate the dying man standing next to the controls of a bomb capable of incinerating all life on Earth as belonging to a species that is "evil" and "capable of nothing but destruction." In fairness, Zaius didn't know about the bomb's destructive capabilities, but all life on the planet ends up paying the price for his Kick the Dog moment.
  • Wham Line: From Nova, of all characters. See Say My Name.
  • You Fail Nuclear Physics Forever: Okay, a cobalt bomb would be a pretty nasty weapon, in the "create lots of long-lasting fallout" sense. Not, however, in the "turn the planet's whole atmosphere into a gigantic nitrous-oxide fireball that incinerates the whole surface" sense. Though the original intention was for it to be just an ordinary nuke that would just wipe out the two warring factions, but Charlton Heston suggested an expansion to Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The Inquisitors' illusions are designed to work this way. It doesn't work.