This summer's Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (review HERE), available to watch in your local ODEON cinema right NOW, is one of the best sequels to have ever been made in our opinion, and that coming from the fact that it's following up Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes - one of the best reboots to have ever been made - that truly is something worth celebrating.
Mankind's closest DNA relative has not exactly been shy when it comes to taking the spotlight on the silver screen, and there were A LOT of possibilities to consider when we whittled down to our top five picks. Since it's due to Planet Of The Apes, we left the rest of the movies off, and we also discounted movies that had apes in them, but they weren't necessarily a big part of them, which meant saying goodbye to the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Outbreak and Trading Places. Then there were the likes of Congo and Mighty Joe Young which we left off just because they're bad movies.
So here we are, our top five monkey movies!
While the Planet Of The Apes can show off the fact that it's had eight movies in its franchise to date, it's still just coming in second place to King Kong, who has managed to hit the big screen no less than ELEVEN TIMES. Starting off in 1933, and most recently with Peter Jackson's epic retelling in 2005, these are also probably the two entries most worthy of your time. The original is one of the first monster movies ever made, and is a bonefide classic to this day. The latter, while a little on the long side (the director's cut clocks in at over four hours), is still an emotionally effective blockbuster, with another stand-out motion-capture performance from the Apes' reboot star Andy Serkis.
DUNSTON CHECKS IN
So there's this snooty five star hotel run by the nice-but-efficient manager who never has any time for his son cos he's so busy with work. Then a world-famous cat-burglar (kinda) arrives at the hotel, and his partner Dunston escapes - who happens to be a chimp - and becomes best friends with the kid. Any child would've found this to be the greatest set-up for a movie ever, mainly because you get to live in a fancy hotel and your best mate is a money, and it helps that the movie also had the likes of Jason Alexander, Faye Dunaway and Rupert Everett to make things funny for the grown ups, too.
GORILLAS IN THE MIST
Right in the middle of her Alien / Ghostbusters hey-day, Sigourney Weaver took on the role of Dian Fossey, and the true story of her work in Rwanda helping the apes survive hunters and poachers. First of all, this film is SAD. Sad, sad, sad. Anyone who watches this movie and doesn't cry is probably some kind of android and needs to watched. Secondly, the movie was nominated for Five Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Weaver, who is absolutely phenomenal in the role, and the footage of live gorillas mixed with those of people in gorilla suits were edited seamlessly. But we did warn you. Sadness!
THE JUNGLE BOOK
“Oooooooh, I'm the king of the swingers, oh, the jungle VIP…” And now that song is stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You're welcome! It's been nearly fifty years since The Jungle Book was first released, and you'd be hard pressed to find a kid these days that still doesn't know every word to every song in the movie. One of the bigger stars of the movie, the orang-utan King Louie, wants to get information from Mowgli, specifically how to make fire so he can be as advanced as man. Of course you probably missed all of that because you were still singing that song of his.
What would happen if a chimp, named Nim Chimpsky, was raised by humans and thought American sign language as it grew up? Would it develop its own language? Would it believe itself to be human? And what would happen when Nim grew up and was forced back into the life of a normal chimp? That's what documentary Project Nim asks, and the answers range from hilarious to properly heartbreaking, and in the process we're left with one of the most entertaining and involving films you'll ever see.
Don't be a chump, get along to see Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes at your local ODEON Cinema!