From Nuclear Disaster to GMO Nightmare

We’ll be our own end.Image

The original Planet of the Apes revealed the Earth’s destruction by human hands. Considering that it was released in 1968, that makes a lot of sense. I would say most people were certain that we were going to nuke ourselves out of existence from the 60s through the 80s, making this not only a good theme, but entirely plausible.

Today, in the absence of the ‘evil’ Soviet Empire, it’s unlikely that the Earth will descend into a nuclear oblivion. Instead, many people have replaced their fear of nukes with a fear of Imagebiotechnology. Frankenfoods, Cloning and Stem Cell Research have become the new ‘terrors.’ So it only stands to reason that the new Planet of the Apes Rebooted franchise would turn to genetic engineering for its source of both the GMO virus that unleashes the intellect of the apes AND causes the downfall of mankind all in one fell swoop.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the highest grossing of all the Planet of the Apes films thus far (including the originals).  Worldwide, the film grossed almost half a billion dollars, compared to $32M for the original film.

Michael Crichton would probably feel pretty ripped off had he lived to see this film. His 2006 novel, Next explored some of the same topics such as human identity and how other primates fit in our worldview. Just like this film, there’s a lot of time spent considering ‘man’s inhumanity to man.’  If I’m not mistaken, Mallfoy even got to play the part of an evil, little bastard again.

There were a handful of things I actually liked about this film: 1) The main character, played by James Franco, had a father at home suffering from the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease. It was this that motivated him to work so hard in order to create a cure for the disease. 2) Caesar’s balance between kind, caring chimp and menacing tyrant. He made for a good anti-hero. 3) The way this film did not try too hard to link to the original films. It was no remake, the only thing kept from the originals was the name Caesar and the idea of tracing the beginnings of the end for humankind.

What didn’t I like? 1) The pacing was too fast in the first 15 minutes. The main characters were thrown at us so fast, we never had time to care about any of them. 2) over reliance on computer animation. Even though these animations come out so realistic, they still stick out against a background of more traditional film. 3) James Franco kind of thinks a lot of himself. Granted, in the world of Hollywood he is a genius, but he’s allowed that and his fame to go to his head to the point that you can see just how happy he is to be himself through any acting.

Something you should check out if you’ve never seen it, are the cartoons of Planet of the Apes from the early 70s.

Imdb game this film a  8.6 /10; rotten tomatoes, a  82 %

Rotten tomatoes is correct.

8 down, 92 to go!

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