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Apes Redux

WARNING: If you don’t like hearing about a movie you think you might see, then don’t read any further.

Being a big fan of the original Planet of the Apes

The one that started it all.


though not necessarily the sequels, it was a sure bet I was going to see the new ape movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I had high hopes. After all, I still remember my folks packing us kids into the family car and taking us to see the new sci-fi movie about talking apes at the local drive-in theater. Yeah, you heard that right. A drive-in movie, complete with the klunky, metallic speaker (broken volume knob included) hanging on the window, a snack bar within walking distance, and even a playground for kids. I’m not sure, but I think drive-in movies are almost extinct these days, which is too bad. Anyway, I digress. Back to the monkeys.

It was a nifty idea to try and kick start the old monkey movies into new life, to add to the lore surrounding the ape mythos. But it just didn’t work for Debbie and me. Basically, I felt two things while watching the movie: anger and boredom. I was angry at the way the central ape character, Caesar, was treated throughout most of the movie. I realize by saying such a thing that I’m actually complimenting the movie in the realism of the apes that were created. And I suppose that’s true; they were very well done. So kudos to the filmmakers for that. But, I didn’t go to the movie to feel bad, nor get treated to a movie-length piece of PETA propaganda. If I want to feel bad about animals, I can easily do that on my own time.

Okay, so once I got over being mad at every human being alive, I simply started not to really care all that much. There was a sense of ennui that settled over me as I watched and munched popcorn, mainly due to the lengthy setup for the premise, which, to both of us, took way too long. We went expecting a quick start and then lots of apes revolting against all the bad humans. Instead, we had plenty of geeky science techno-speak and lab shots leading to the creation of the stuff that makes apes smart, then just a relatively small amount of monkeys going crazy. To be honest, by the time the movie ended, I really assumed it must have been a two and a half hour picture. Instead, it was really only one hour and forty-five minutes. I guess that tells you something.

I think the most fun I had during the movie was after I noticed the first reference to the original, classic film. Once I saw/heard it, I was ready to catch others if they came along. In all, I caught only three, but they were good ones. Here are they are (in order, for whatever that’s worth):

“It’s a madhouse. A madhouse.”

A Charlton Heston movie playing on a TV.

“Get your hands off me you damn, dirty ape.”

For anyone else who sees/saw the movie, were there any other references to the original?

BTW – I really had no intention of talking so much about the movie. I started out planning to mention only the three references to the original film, but then I just got caught up in the moment and kept typing. My bad.

So Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in my opinion, is a movie worth a rental if you’ve seen all the other ones on your list, or if you’re a big James Franco fan. As for me, I don’t plan on seeing it again.

It sure had some great looking apes, though.

–dp

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