This is complicated. It’s a great movie but the sci-fi label is a bit pretentious since the majority of the movie is philosophical and reflects that given the way we treat animals, wouldn’t we hate it if we were caged and not given any rights, but it’s still great as a movie. The first 20 minutes are the best part of the movie, with the chilling landscape and the soundtrack creating a tense atmosphere while still keeping its aesthetics with a masterfully crafted landscape that could be the best portrayal of a dystopian wasteland ever conceived in cinema. What is interesting is that many of the best sci-fi cult films are made as good as they are because of the scenery that is created, and this is no exception. The second act is slightly is slightly slack, with the dynamic between the two captives of the apes frankly just being boring, and is nothing like the explorers jolly pessimism, with the relentless taunts of the first act an interesting subplot. But the strength of the first act returns with the final play being a masterful combination of human emotion, misplaced pity for a race that should be feared (the humans), and the most haunting ending that is revealed in the best way possible.
Worth the cult following it heeded.
First act: 9/10
Second act: 7/10
Final act: 10/10
Total rating: 8/10