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Monday, August 8, 2011

Switching allegiances

Saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes this past weekend. 

It's a pretty safe bet that virtually everyone over the age of 25 who sees this movie will have already seen one of the earlier Planet of the Apes movies. It's even safer to say that the number of movie-goers who rooted for the apes in those movies was statistically insignificant.

Yet the vast majority of the audience for this latest installment, which is actually a prequel, will root for the apes. And all they needed to do was show us the ape protagonist -- Caesar -- doted upon as a baby, and then show him somewhat unjustly locked up and tormented by a sadistic worker at the animal shelter where he is kept.

Are we really that susceptible to manipulation? Are we so easily swayed to even root against our own species?

Evidently.

This isn't a review, just an aside. But while we're on the subject, the movie itself was entertaining. James Franco seems more naturally suited to play a stoner than a scientist, but it was more important that he be empathetic for this role, and he played that effectively enough. Frieda Pinto, as the romantic interest, needed only to look luscious, and she did that admirably. And the action scenes were creative and gratifying. Worth seeing.

6 comments:

Paavo said...

Reading about UK riots made me return to this post.

Brits are clearly switching allegiances from fuck the police to fuck the looting scum.

In the 60's or 70's Robocop would have been a horror movie about a fascist killing machine. In the 80's it was about a hero saving the day.

I think there is market for a British remake of that "masterpiece". The Robobobby.

BTW:
"It's a pretty safe bet that virtually everyone over the age of 25 who sees this movie will have already seen one of the earlier Planet of the Apes movies. "

I saw the Marky Mark version, but to me Troy McClure is the only true Colonel Taylor.

John Craig said...

Paavo --
You are 100% right about the British allegiances. Practically everyone I've spoken to about it has said they wish the police were authorized to just shoot the rioters on sight.

I saw the (Marky) Mark Wahlberg version too, it struck me as just an unimaginative remake of the Charlton Heston version, with just better special effects. This new movie is quite good, though, a lot more intelligence went into its making.

Dave Moriarty said...

based on your recommendation i took the cherubs and my wife to see the plant of the apes and we all enjoyed it

we all found ourselves rooting for Caeser. I especially enjoyed his ability to speak and in the third person at that-and Caesear is not yet a professional athlete.

the ending gave us some promise for a nice Andromeda strain story when the virus wipes out the human population -- the cherubs are eager to see that . thank for the tip!

John Craig said...

Thanks Dave.

Caesar may not have been a pro athlete, but he sure moved like one. I'm glad the filmmakers were familiar with chimp strength.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the movie but I think a lot of us root for the animals in any real life encounter where we perceive a human taking advantage of an animal. I'd be perfectly happy, for example, to see a charging rhino take out a big game hunter who was trying to kill it. Having said that, I eat plenty of red meat and other animal flesh so maybe I'm a hypocrite of some order.

John Craig said...

I feel exactly the same way. I'd love to see rhinos and elephants and gorillas kill whatever poachers try to kill those endangered species, and it wouldn't even bother me to see a few deer and elk turn the tables on whatever hunters are legally trying to kill them.

I eat meat too, it just never struck me as particularly "sporting" to go into the woods to kill Bambi.