"Time of the Apes (SFドラマ 猿の軍団, Esuefu dorama saru no gundan?) (literally, "SF Drama: Army of the Apes"), produced/filmed in 1974 and released in 1987, is a Japanese science fiction film. A teacher and two children take refuge in cryogenic capsules to escape an earthquake, only to wake up in a world populated by sentient apes. Produced by Tsubaraya Productions, Time of the Apes is actually a composite of half-hour episodes of the Japanese television program Saru no gundan, made in 1974. In 1987, Sandy Frank re-edited them into a movie and imported them to the U.S.
It was satirized twice by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (once in 1989 and again in 1991). The writers seemed to take particular delight in little Johnny's offhand remark, when warned to be careful of a possible earthquake: "I don't care!"
This film capitalized on the Planet of the Apes genre. Though entirely Japanese, the dubbed version gives the characters English names.
The children Johnny (Masaaki Kaji) and Caroline (Hiroko Saito) travel to visit the laboratory of Johnny's uncle. There they are given a tour by young female lab assistant Catherine (Reiko Tokunaga) and get to see the lab's cryogenic chambers. Unfortunately a severe earthquake strikes. Catherine, Caroline, and Johnny take shelter in the nearest available cryogenic chambers, which then activate. They awaken in another time populated by a militaristic ape society, the outward appearance of which is similar to 20th Century earth; the apes drive 20th century automobiles such as Buicks and jeeps and carry M1 Carbine rifles.
The plot then turns into a cat-and-mouse game. After escaping the apes, the protagonists are pursued into a booby-trap laden jungle area known as "Green Mountain.". A human in hiding, Godo (Tetsuya Ushio), helps them escape from the apes. A hermit, Godo knows little about his own background or other humans in the world, but is well-known to the apes as a fearsome warrior.
As they struggle against the apes in a series of never-ending chases, a flying saucer appears at key moments without explanation. At one point, the beings in the saucer appear to communicate telepathically with Catherine, who reveals that the saucer belongs to another society known as the UCOMM, a group at odds with the ape society. UCOMM also seems to hold the key to their efforts to get back to the 20th Century."