In a time present historians call the past, and future historians will call the past-er or ‘past plus’ there was a film called Planet of the Apes, a romantic comedy that was mistakenly billed as science fiction. Nowadays we refer to it as a classic to avoid confusion when hunting it down in local video rental stores (unless you’re reading this after 1998, and it’s all done by downloading into some magic box in your home), and hail it as one of the grand masterpieces of social commentary film making. And then in 2000 some floppy haired individual with delusions of grandeur whom wears sunglasses all hours of the day yet isn’t Bono (future readers will know him as the current Space Pope) decided it warranted a remake, only with less of that glorious social critiquing and monumental (literally) ending stuff, and better ape costumes….okay so that part I can deal with. So in honour of the recent release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, here is Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001)
Part 1: Monkeys in Microwaves = Big Business Bucks
The year: Star Date 2029. The place: Space! The research vessel Oberon is training chimps for space flight, an experiment that could, for undisclosed reasons, only be performed a bazillion light years from earth. Yes, despite already having technology capable of getting gravity-enabled SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH LABORATORY and hundreds of crewmen into the deep voids of the cosmos they apparently still feel manned crafts are a hazard. Oh I see why this is taking place so far away; pre-being awesome (C2005) Mark Wahlberg is on board as Leo, the lovable space chimp trainer (I feel stupid just writing that, so imagine how his parents and friends reacted when he chose it as a career choice). With an electro-magnetic storm approaching (in space), the money-focused dick-wads in charge with no emotional attachment to the apes (unlike the lovable hippy scientists who love animals – especially primates renown for eating their babies alive for the shits and giggles, and ripping off arms for being in the same time-zone as them [regardless of country]. Boy, come the new millenium subtext really rams it down your throat these days) decide to see if this is the same storm Reed Richards was chasing after in Fantastic Four, with their dreams of getting to the franchise before Paramount Studios. Naturally, Leo has a problem with sending the chimp he’s trained to do the job he trained it to do.
Leo: You can’t send Pericles out there – you’ve seen what happened to the baboon in the telepod in The Fly! Apes and microwaves don’t mix! (that’s right, that actually blend)
Suit: Look, we hired you to train apes to send into space. And we are already in space. So actually he’d be closer to home being outside the ship. Therefore your belief that apes shouldn’t be out here is flawed and you must concede to logic.
Loe’s head explodes from the paradoxical argument.
Leo: Fine, but when I become a really famous actor, then piss it up against the wall in an M. Night Shamamlalalalal film, and then get it back again in 2010, you’ll regret being such a corporate tool.
Suit: Maybe next time you won’t name your favourite chimp after Achilles cousin who dies early and foolishly in Troy. (You read right, that was a reference to Troy. Let’s see Roger Ebert do that)
Pericles the chimp wonder is bundled into an experimental pod just slightly smaller than my one room apartment where my secret second family of 5 live and launched into the ELECTIRCAL STORM.
Suit: Now we can test the effectiveness of lightning on apes in a conductive metal pod. We’re going to need to wear rain ponchos for this one boys!
Surprise twist, the ship fails and the ape drifts off out of contact. Leo, perfectly rationally, decides that it was the ape and not the metal ship that was the problem and goes in search, crammed into a second tiny pod.
So dead for copyright infringement…Anyway, Leo too becomes cut off and spirals through space and time, eventually crash landing with style on a planet that goes from swamp, to desert, to jungle and crop field within strides apparently, in the Space Year 5021 – when Star Wars memorabilia is finally worth something. Seeing half naked chicks he puts on a swagger and tries to bone his way into a way off this rock. Apes in armour appear and kick the banana leaves out of the humans as they round them up into cages and wheel them off. Apes enslaving humans, who comes up with this stuff? Oh yeah; Franklin J. Schaffner in 1968! (I’m aware this was an adaption of the 1963 novel, but this is comedy people, work with me here) Leo, feeling foolish he went after a chimp now and his fellow Neanderthals with impeccable dentistry (this is the California of Ape World) are taken to slave trader and Orang-utan entrepreneur Limbo, who is kind of like this worlds Brice Campbell – a lovable failure who’s not seen as much as he should for all the Helen Bonham Carter exposure.
We cut back to 2000 – Hollywood, where Tim Burton is engaged in a phone call.
Tim: I know it sounds crazy, but my career is going too well – my reputation is unshakable. It’s about time I churned out a terrible sell-out movie, just to stop Goth girls buying Jack Skeleton merchandise. (Pause) Yes, I know that’s a long shot.
He paces the room in search of something to convert into source material – like Stephen King did and has done ever since the late 80s. He sees a poster on the wall for King Kong.
Tim: I got it! King Kong…what do you mean Peter Jackson’s already got dibs. Fuck it then, I’ll just do Planet of the Apes. Get me my wife and Jonny Depp on the phone! What’s that; Jonny feels I don’t need him to sell my movies right now? Oh trust me, after this he will.
Cut forward 3020 years and 27 Tim Burton films starring Jonny Depp back to Leo and the remains of humanity. Limbo sells off today’s catch to the highest bidders to be slaves and pets. Ari Bonham Carter is a female ape activist with a rich daddy and a keen interest in and fondness of humans – the shirtless Leo in particular. Over the next hour-half viewers will marvel at how their relationship develops from the fetishistic to the downright bestial in this fun family film. Sensing Leo is different from the other, she buys him and the only female attractive enough to be a love interest to work as butlers for her father, Senator Sandar – even though he held her at weapon-point just earlier. Even ape’s love a bad boy. That evening Sandar is throwing a party for all the plot-convenient apes; General ‘I turned down Professor Snape for this’ Thade; Colonel ‘how do we make Michael Clarke Duncan even more threatening’ Atta; and a host of bigoted upper-society types. They scoff Ari for her beliefs that humans should have proper toilet buckets and all the other rights our grandfathers fought the Nazis for, during which Thade makes clear that if he could find a condom in this latex-devoid world he would personally skull-fuck each and every last human to death. Oh lord, there was a “having a bad hair day” quip there…*sad face*. Thane is also looking for some Ari lovin’ – oh how opposites attract. I for one can’t keep the women out of my basement.
Ari: We could at least give them roller skates and bow ties. How adorable would that be?
Sandar: Now that’s just foolishness – could you imagine them doing that to us if the tables were turned? They’d sooner put us in a microwave oven and blast us into an electrical storm than let us suffer that kind of indignity.
Thade: Hatehatehatehatehatehate. Look at me, all I’m doing is preaching racism and I’m still stealing the show. How’d you like that Charlton Heston, I’m beating you at your own game and no kids had to get shot up to do it!
Fat Orang-utan: I concur with Thade, those human are only good for one thing: not escaping their cages.
Leo escapes his cage. He opens the other house workers cages. They escape their cages.
Not-human-but-Still-Bizarrely-Sort-of-a-House-Servant Ape: The humans have escaped their cages!
Fat Orang-utan/Ari: Oh fig-trumpets…
As Leo and the human slaver make their escape the sexy human by name of Daena stops them.
Daena: Stop we must go back for my father.
Leo: Holy crap, you can speak?! Why the hell did you wait this long? Hey, about earlier – I thought you couldn’t understand me, that’s why I talked about all the things I was going to do to and or/ in your mouth once you were asleep.
Daena: Hey no sweat – rape is frequent with in this society; by both human and ape.
While Leo vomits up the sloppy seconds he ingested when he went down on her during nap-time, the rest of the slaves go and free her father. General Thade previously left the party after a further round of cock-blockery from Ari and headed off to investigate claims of a meteor crashing in the swamp. On learning it is a human space craft….somehow knowing what that is, he brains the two witnesses to death. This is the same species Leo ventured into an electrical storm front for –and he didn’t even get super powers (unless appearing in films after staring in a crappy M. Night film is a power –which it is!)
At Limbos’ place they free Daena’s grizzly father and the younglings, plus a few non-developed slaves useful for cannon fodder. Leo and the Pussy Cats run a modest rampage through the city, keeping low by hiding in plain sight – using bedrooms and well-lit areas to make their sneaky getaway through crowds of apes enjoying such past times as listening to jungle metal for the loitering youth, lap dances for the rich, grooming for the middle-aged and vein, and slave ownership for the spoilt kiddies. Naturally breaking into ape’s houses right in front of them and stealing their pets gets them noticed pretty quickly, and before long they have the guards hunting them. Ari and her elderly ape servant, who may think he’s human due to senility, thus explaining how he remains employed in a human job for decades, catch up with Leo and the Last Crusade. Her plan on talking them back to the house (and I’m assuming she means the newly acquired slaves too – try explaining that one to daddy) fails in the presence of her Stockholm syndrome, and she ends up joining them on the run. Lolz with a side of la-mayo.
Part 2: Hurray for Hostages!
Ari shows the merry band a secret way out of the city while the guards rally under Thade’s command. Unfortunately the escape plan not only leads them through the camp the guards are stationed at, it also takes them right past the eye line of Thade and Atta. As escape routes go, that’s like fleeing the Death Star via Vader’s crapper the morning after Taco Tuesday. Daena’s dad distracts Atta long enough for the team to continue on – his brilliant plan being to charge the very large gorilla so imposing that you’ll crap someone else’s pants in terror, and yet he dies despite the thought and planning that went into this. He wasn’t the only mongoloid in the vicinity though, as Atta’s troops stand around as if the rubber in their costumes had frozen over rather than going after the fleeing convicts. Thade even takes time out to stab the old man, rather than chasing the human who presumably kidnapped his beloved Ari. This is why a civilisation of apes could never overthrow us; they can’t make decisive decisions for all the [object] in [place]. Despite this set back to his confidence, Thade sends out the troop to capture the renegade slaves, who have arrived at the crash site though the time-hopping magic of editing. Ari freaks out at the sight of the lake because apes fear water – their only natural predator -, and Daena quips about humans praying for rain. Burn; although when you look that good yet feel threatened by a female chimp for a man’s affections you have some serious issues of self-worth to address – maybe she was fat as a teenager, or maybe it’s the whole being subjugated by apes thing, who can say. Leo dives into the lake and retrieves his completely waterproof cloth satchel, also finding the bodies Thade added to his kill count earlier. Inside his goody bag is a gun, ship communicator and rave-ready glow sticks. The com-link says the mother ship is nearby and they set off in search. Limbo jumps the party and pimp-slaps them into submission until Leo shows why man beats simian (according to Charlton Heston): GUNS BITCH! Unable to risk Limbo giving up their location they have to take him hostage. And then old ape destroys Ari’s gun, the twazzok.
Thade discusses martial law to rid the planet of humans in order for him to return Sandar’s daughter.
Thade: They stole your daughter from you….probably. Now the only way to get her back safe it to declare violence and death upon every last human.
Sandar: Even the younglings?
Thade: Especially the younglings.
Sandar: And you’re sure your anger isn’t blinding you?
Thade: YOU ARE THE ONE WHO IS BLINDED BY HIS ANGER!
Sandar: Maybe you’re right….okay, kill them all.
Pretty sure this is the kind of prejudice, lack of foresight, and fearful hatred of difference that led us to the worst war in known recent history: The bidding war between Gary0169 and Queens_a_whosit99 over the last remaining hair of Patrick Stewart (eBay in 2004). Never forget…. Atta reports the humans are not in the city – the most dangerous place they could be –, and must be outside the city – the safest place they could be. Duh!
Outside the jungle outside the swamp outside the city, the renegades track across the desert badlands (this planet is fucking mental – a geologists nightmare…or dream, I don’t know how their sick minds operate). Thade goes to speak to his father, who is ironically Charlton Heston. Naturally the conversation leads to that of gun ownership after Thade informs him that he believes Leo came from another world – and more are likely coming to find him. Heston knows this because his family have passed on knowledge along their bloodline, back when they were ruled by humans. The proof: a gun – this is Heston you know. Humanities strength is their technology, which Thade must stop them recovering in the Secret Zone. Heston dies and yet the world gains a tool for killing. Somehow this feels like a bitterly hollow victory. Leo and co have arrived at the boundary of the sacred/secret zone, from where the apes originated in the time before time was aware of the concept of time – a place where monkey Jesus is destined to return to one day. However there is an encampment of ape soldiers guarding the river to which there is no bypassing. Having realised where they went wrong last time, the humans advance on horseback under cover of night fall, only to spoil it by running straight through the camp and setting fire to everything. Subtlety is lost on theses R-tards. While the slaves secretly cross the river, Leo heroically draws the torch-wielding soldiers directly to them – a plan worthy of Jar Jar Binks if ever there was one -, yet inexplicably they all make it away alive.
Right, now to discuss a fairly a recurring theme that has blown to unavoidable size: that of time + distance= retardation. Atta returns to Thade and informs him that he and his men were unable to stop the humans, who have crossed the river. When asked why they didn’t give chase, Atta replies they took their horses. This means that they took a whole day marching back to the city on foot to tell Thade they failed to take the 10 min walk around the river to catch them up. They’re now 2 whole days behind the humans who actually know where they are going, not just pissing in the dark. APES IS DUMB! Thade throws a MAJOR ass tantrum, leaping around like a bawling toddler rather than executing his inept generals. They sound the call to arms and march out to meet the humans – oh look, now they have lots of horses.
Back with the humans, Old Ape’s backstory as ex-general turned Atta’s bitch is revealed –meaning a fight between the two is impending. Ari and Leo share a tender moment, not too far distant to this couple of cross-species lovers:
Only with less chance of babies and more soft talking. Next day they ride out to
Rohan Calima: the crashed remains of Leo’s rescue shuttle. He can’t tell from the centuries of dust, rust, skulls and ability to enter straight through the rocket thrusters that the ship is a wreck of ancient time. Not even all that “our savoir was born here” talk from earlier prepares him for the revelation that ‘Calima’ is short for ‘Caution: Live Animals’. This is his ship and also the genesis of the apes. Wounded mate. The black box, still working after thousands of years, chronicles the rapid evolution of the apes, who overthrew their human brethren and went on to become yadda yadda we’re up to speed. I think this scene was in Lost in Space back in ’98 yet Leo still doesn’t quite get it until listening to the horrific screams of terror and unknown levels of pain as the last entry plays out like an Eli Roth’s version of Passion of the Christ.
Leo: Ooooooh, I see. The apes overthrew my crew and killed them all horribly.
He sucker punches Ari in the jaw. Outside the discover that humans from all over have flocked to see the fabled one who will lead them to victory over their suppressors. All the humans are white (despite living in desert and tropical jungle regions – THE FUCK!?) and the apes are black I should point out, which seems like 20th Century Fox is getting its personal feelings of fascist paranoia in the way of the overall meaning. Is this revenge for the racial undertones of the previous Apes saga perhaps? And how does a civilisation of nomadic tribes and slaves hear of this and flock en mass within 24 hours when they’re outclassed and ruled by ape masters? Is this nit-picking or just fucking stupidity on the film makers part? *Sigh*, remember when Burton used to make quirky gothic classics with wit and kooky charm? Old Ape goes to Atta’s camp on the outskirts of the crashed shuttle, accompanying Ari who tries to seduce Thade out of his need to drink blood from the hearts of the pink-skins. Lack of sex does make a man crazy, which I why I always sleep with the prostitutes before I garrotte them to keep me on the straight and narrow. Too bad she stinks of human, so he brands her with a hot iron and casts her out (gotta remember that one for next time). What a whore.
Part 3: The Ape-Shit Hits the Fan
Leo is rewatching the video log of his friends being eaten alive – just him chillin’ with happy memories -, while outside a gorilla goads a child into making a war-worthy spear. Ha, this planet is so fucking bonkers. Leo discovers there is still some reserve power and forms a plan of Michael Bay proportions. They lure in the first, weak wave of Ape infantry with their soft fleshy bodies, then use the thrusters to incinerate the fuckers!
Only some of the apes die and the rest knocked over – so really it was a waste of effort in using the last of the fule. More fortunatly none of the knocked-over apes evolve further into this as a result of Leo’s tinkering with science:
Yeah, that’d be bitchin’! Thade leads the rest of the much stronger apes into the fray and shit gets real. People die but not the important ones; Daena saves Ari; Old Ape squares off with Atta (I called that one); and Leo runs around like a headless chicken until Thade gets his butt in gear and they head for their face-off of destiny – you ever seen a chimp in armour depicting two zombie monkeys fighting each other kill a man with a pointy helmet? You have now, and all my years spent developing my PHD were wasted in just 3 seconds of film. The battle for the planet of the apes comes to a swift halt when Pericles’ shuttle touches down and out pops a devolved ape in a flight suit. Rather than screaming “What the fuck is that monstrosity? KILL IT before it brings about the extinction of all that is good!”, Atta and the apes bow down to the return of their simian saviour, their monkey messiah, their christpanze. Leo picks him up and fusses over Pericles – picks up their messiah and fusses over him…WE CAN’T EVEN DRAW CARTOONS OF MUHAMID IN SWEEDEN! The prophesy of the ape’s masters’ return and the end of ape/human suffrage fulfilled, everything should be groovy. But Pericles runs to the derelict space craft, followed by a VERY pissy Thade, determined to kill Chimp Jesus in front of a legion of loyal devoted believers. The rest of the apes apparently don’t mind their hope incarnate is alone with a human rabble-rouser and a violent psychopath though, and they leave the two enemies to fight over the fate of Pericles, who is fatally wounded by Thade’ gun. Leo traps Thade inside a bullet proof room – ironically, even a monkey could open theses doors at one point, yet Thade is trapped. Leo states to Atta that Thade’s family knew about this all along and have been hiding the truth to maintain positions of power throughout the millennia. With the support of his oldest friend Atta and Ari now placed with the humans, Thade goes bananas (been holding that one in for so long) and shoots up the room – eventually leaving him broken and spent.
Thade dealt with, Leo takes the not-dead Pericles out to his awaiting audience. The dead are buried in unmarked graves so in death the humans and apes will be unidentifiable from one another. Just like that, centuries of slavery and prejudice is ended because the apes are happy. You know, just like how racial tension ended overnight after the Emancipation Proclamation. Even Limbo is allowed to sell aspirin to the gleeful children he had branded with hot irons and caged until the dog food factories needed re-stocking. Leo decides he wants to bone the human chick instead of Ari (….yeah, I guess….) and flies off in the space pod – leaving Pericles to his servants, presumably wondering what the fuck is going on. He travels through time and space and eventually arrives on a planet of bat shit bonkers surprise endings. Yes, expect no Statue of Liberty’s or “DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!” here; just an earth that is either our future post-Rise of the Planet of the Apes, or a parallel dimension where Thade won the war, or something. NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THIS ENDING IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT! Leo is arrested on the steps of the Thadebraham Lincoln Monument by ape SWAT teams as ape journalists’ record the historic moment – historic in its idiocy.