The original Planet of the Apes is a cyclical story with no distinguishable beginning or ending. It is precisely that conundrum which makes the series so tantalizing. A virus plagues the earth and wipes out the domesticated cats and dogs. Man is hungry for furry companionship, erects statues to their fallen critters, and looks to chimpanzees as a replacement. Soon they fall in love with the chimps as they prove to be easily domesticated and begin to teach them menial tasks. This leads to the less than brilliant idea to harness their teachablity in domestication and turn them into slaves until the uprising instigated by Caesar, the son of Cornelius and Zira. The slaves revolt, a war is fought, and somewhere in there is a hint of nuclear war brought on by humans. Hundreds of years later the apes are ruling the planet, astronauts cross all time barriers to find their future ape world where we are first introduced to Cornelius and Zira, future parents of Caesar. Crazy humans are living underground in the future worshipping a nuclear bomb, blow up the planet and Cornelius and Zira escape on the astronauts sunken ship, and it is learned that that is how the domestic cats and dogs got the virus…from the chimps of the future. Whew! Cyclic, yes. Imperfect, yes. Endearing, absolutely!
The saga began in 1968 and continued until 1973. I don’t recall the first time I saw Planet of the Apes but I do know I was hooked for life. I am sure I have watched each original movie about 100 times each as I was growing up, having kids of my own, and suffering through the Mark Wahlberg debacle. I have the VHS, DVD, and will own whatever Sony will come up with next. Countless enthralling hours have been dedicated to the cartoons, scenes have been studied, and lines and quotes committed to memory. Some may rightly accuse me of being a ridiculously devout fan of those damn, dirty apes.
The 2011 version of Rise of the Planet of the Apes was pretty good. Because of the errors in the original story line I just gave in and decided okay, this can work. They just needed to work with the virus in the next movie so that the humans weren’t dying, but those furbabies were. And then tonight I finally got around to watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. My son, also an Ape enthusiast warned me not to watch it. I didn’t listen…
Now don’t get me wrong, I loved it! It held my interest, developed quiet well, and was rather exciting…if it were a different story. Maybe that’s what Hollywood intended to do all along, create a twisted variation, perhaps a new aspect of “what if”. I don’t know what they were thinking but it’s not the true Ape story. I know, it’s from another plain of existence. Because it’s not the Apes I have treasured my entire life.