Return To The ‘Planet Of The Apes’

The original “Planet of the Apes” was based upon the novel, “La Planète des Singes,” by Pierre Boulle, with a screenplay by Rod Sterling (“Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “The Twilight Zone,”  “Night Gallery,” etc).  The original film, I can’t speak as much about the sequels (Beneath the Planet of the Apes, “Escape From the Planet of the Apes,” “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes,” and “Battle for the Planet of the Apes”) except for ‘Conquest,’ which takes the underlying subtext of race relations to a logical–though pessimistic–conclusion.

The films revolved around a dystopian future in which humans are no longer at the top of the food chain–as if that wasn’t bad enough–but the world has been “reset” by nuclear devastation.  It has begun to recover, but now various species of simian, who don’t think too highly of the remaining humans, are now running things.

Roles have been reversed, and humans now live primitively, like the animals that we once believed that we were superior to.

As I mentioned, I recall “Contest of the Planet of the Apes,” directed by J. Lee Thompson, which was my favorite.

Tim Burton had a version of “Planet of the Apes” in 2001, but it managed somehow to lose the whole racial subtext, which meant that the film now was no deeper than the surface.

A somewhat cowardly response, though I am not sure it it says anything about the people that view and make movies, or if it was primarily a marketing issue.

The upcoming “Rise of the Planet of the Apes, directed by Rupert Wyatt, visually looks interesting, but if it has as little to offer as Tim Burton’s version (it doesn’t have to have a racial subtext, though it has to have some subtext beyond the obvious) then I may wait for Netflix streaming.

Though perhaps I am being pessimistic.  I will wait till I hear more before I react.

Most people would think that such things cannot exist outside of science fiction, though according to scientists such a scenario may be more possible than any of us think.

3 thoughts on “Return To The ‘Planet Of The Apes’

  1. After all the theatrical features, multiple TV shows, documentaries, remakes, comics, action figures and much more, having all seemingly fizzled out by the early 2000s, it is odd that 20th Century Fox would try and reboot this franchise with a prequel – of sorts. While the film certainly isn’t necessary, it attempts to fill in the details (as opposed to bridging a gap) on the uprising of an intelligent ape takeover of Earth. To anyone unfamiliar with the major tips in the Planet of the Apes series, this new chapter will make little sense and seem largely pointless, in particular as it ramps as much as the require for an additional film – one that, if created, would probably be far more exciting.

    1. What I wonder is if the film is as shallow as Burton’s because I am not too interested in seeing apes, or robots, or mice, attempt to take over the world. Again. What I am interested in is a film–like most of the earlier films in the series–that deals with other aspects of the human condition, not destruction of destruction’s sake.

      That’s Michael Bay’s job–pretty pictures and explosions that distract us for a moment, till it ends, and we not only have no idea what we had just watched, but have already forgotten what we had seen.

      That was Burton’s mistake. He made a film about that was, at heart–what am I talking about. It had no heart–about nothing. It was virtually an insult to the films that proceeded it, that at their worst attempted to tackle some of the issues that we as a people had to deal with.

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