A ship is sent to discover what happened to previous crew from the first movie. It crashes and kills the captain. Brent is the lone survivor with no way home. He finds Nova, Taylor's human mate, but without Taylor. They return to ape city and Brent realizes what has happened.
Zira and Cornelius help Brent and Nova with supplies and a map to the Forbidden Zone, where Taylor is believed to be. Brent meets intelligent humans who have mutated and gained mind control powers. They worship the Alpha Omega bomb, leftover from man. The apes want to kill everyone in the Forbidden Zone and the mutants plan on useing the bomb.
This sequel is more sci-fictioo than the first and harder to believe. Still, it is very intriguing because this movie shows more of the human history artifacts. We see our own present time world as an archeological site, which piques my interest.
The story is half a rehash of the first movie with the other half being a continuation of the first. It doesn't need a second astronaut but Heston didn't want to be in it more. The new actors are not a waste. They do add depth to the story.
Most of the main cast reprised their roles.Charlton Heston returned as Taylor but in a much briefer capacty, being seen as flashbacks until the last 15 minutes in which he plays a pivotal role. Kim Hunter returns as Zira. Maurice Evans returns as the secretive Dr. Zaius. Linda Harrison returns as the non-speaking, half-clothed human and mate of Taylor, Nova.
Roddy McDowall does not reprise his role as Zira's mate, Cornelius. He couldn't return for this sequel because he was busy with a movie overseas. Flashbacks with McDowall are used from the first movie, making him the only actor to be in all five ape movies.
Cornelius is now played by David Watson but it isn't the same without McDowall. Cornelius' role is considerably lesser than in the original.
James Franciscus (Brent) looks very similar to Charlton Heston in body, hair, and face, so he was probably chosen for that reason. He creates a character that is more endearing than Heston's Taylor, who only thought about himself, and without Heston's overdone acting. I actually cared about his character.
The special effects and music are the same as in the first movie. The main additions are the mutated humans beneath the planet and the remains of New York City.
This really is THE end of the ape franchise. The other 3 sequels occur before the first two films take place. Time travel, don't you love it?
Beneath the Planet of the Apes is not the best sequel but still is a must-see for sci-fi and ape fans.