Monday, June 22, 2020
Doc Watch: Making the Apes - The Artists Who Changed Film (2020)
Format: Amazon Streaming
Director: William Conlin
There's not much to spoil here - it's a fact based documentary on the people behind the iconic make-up for the run of the original 5 Planet of the Apes films, the TV show and more. It does a good job of contextualizing the state of the art in the mid-60's and how they got there, starting in the Lon Chaney era.
Really, what I liked is that - as much as it's about the make-up and creation of - it gives personality and stories to the people who were there and made a vision a reality. We sometimes forget there are minds and lives behind the people who aren't the writers, directors and actors - but those unseen wizards who rise at 2:30 AM to be at work by 4:30 AM to get the actor on the set by morning, looking like a gorilla? Those are people who fell in love with monster make-up to such a degree, that's how they love and what they've chosen to do.
And, of course, for the people involved, Planet of the Apes - which won an honorary Academy Award for make-up before it became a staple of the Oscars - was a major turning point in the lives of a lot of people in the Hollywood make-up industry. It was sort of the digital T-Rex of its day.
It's currently streaming on Amazon, and if you're any kind of POTA fan, I recommend giving Making the Apes: The Artists Who Changed Film a go.