Apes of the world UNITE!

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Directedby Rupert Wyatt, 2011

For those of you needing a good action/sci-fi flick but maybe Cowboys and Aliens isnt your thing, this is your film. But not just for that, or for the great nostalgia factor, but for the underlying message...

First of all, I have to say this: as with all good art, you get out of it what you bring to it. Such is the case with Rise of the Planet of the Apes; remake of Conquest of The Planet of the Apes (with a little of Escape from the Planet of the Apes mixed in there if you remember the 70’s films), and sequel of the 2001 Tim Burton remake Planet of the Apes.

In this film, James Franco plays a scientist working for a pharmaceutical company developing a cure for Alzheimer's. As usual with drug companies, it is being tested on Apes and the results are promising. But a side effect of the medication makes apes more aggressive and one goes bizarre and wrecks the lab. Because of this, the business owner decides to terminate all of the test subjects. They then discover a baby ape, which the female who went crazy was hiding. Franco takes him home to his Alzheimer's patient father, played by John Lithgow.

Over the next few years, Caesar (named for the child chimp in Conquest), develops rapidly, overcoming a human’s development by several years. But as with any intelligence, it can get you into trouble. I wont revel why, but Caesar ends up in an Ape sanctuary while Franco tries to get him back. Meanwhile, he experiments on his father and succeeds in curing him. But it wears off quickly and a new delivery method is needed.

While Franco tries to develop a new formula, Caesar gets treated worse than second-rate garbage. But he meets another ape who can sign, who encourages him to educate the other apes. This is where the message starts to come through. I found this to be true with the original films as well, (Spoiler ALERT) but the ape’s in both films revolt BECAUSE they are slaves! They realize that they are just as intelligent as humans, and are sick of being beaten and yelled at! This is a metaphor for the WORKING CLASS! Once Caesar shares the “virus” of “knowledge” it spreads within the ape compound, and eventually city wide to other apes.

I wont give away the ending, but as much as I liked it, I liked the ending to the original better, but just because of the struggle of the apes and its relationship to the working class now. I think if we can not only go see this film (yes, its distributed by Fox, but the message is good!), but start conversations about how it relates to the current struggle, it might just be a good head turner.

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  • Good review of interesting cultural product.
    --jim lane in Dallas

    Posted by JIm Lane, 08/13/2011 10:37am (6 years ago)

  • I much preferred the blatantly anti-Imperialist message of Cowboys and Aliens. Finally, something to humanize suicide bombers. Finally, something that depicts Freedom Fighters as what they are--the poor using whatever means at their disposal to attempt to go up against an overwhelmingly dominant world power.

    Posted by Hope, 08/11/2011 9:13pm (6 years ago)

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