Thursday, April 7, 2011

My love for Planet of the Apes

I overuse a lot of different phrases. Calling something "Bad news bears" was an old favorite. "I don't have this money" is currently in my arsenal. And starting a story with "I'll never forget when..." is used ad nauseam by myself (the stories themselves I will probably forget in five years). Currently, in order to qualify my love of something, I usually start by saying "I grew up on [insert random franchise here]." Jurassic Park? Grew up on it. Hook? Grew up on it. Mighty Ducks 2? Grew up on it. But for the most part it's true. My childhood consisted of watching a crap load of films. It was the best way I could think to spend my time. One series of movies I always watched was Planet of the Apes. It seemed at least once a year, Sci-fi Channel ran a marathon of the five movie series. My mother and I would sit down and watch them all.

First one was the best one.

Casual readers of my blog may have already picked up the fact that I acquired a lot of my taste in movies and television from my mother. She was the one that sat me down and showed me movies that I still cherish today. She was the one that showed me Twilight Zone. And, like Twilight Zone, the original Planet of the Apes was written by Rod Serling. While it was originally based off a French book, Serling was the one to give us the movie we know today. Really, the movie unfolds like one long Twilight Zone episode.

Have you seen the episode with the guy and the masks? It was crazy...

Everything about the movie still stands up to time. Even the monkey makeup remains impressive. It's a testament to the quality of the filmmaking. The movie has a charm all its own and an ending that still shocks audiences today (that is, the 15 people in the world that don't know the ending). Like with the Pink Panther series, the sequels were unnecessary but still interesting in its exploration of ideas. The concept of mutants worshiping a bomb is brilliant. Being sandwiched in a lesser Apes sequel does nothing to hamper the idea. And, like any good sequels, the concepts and ideas behind the first movie are expanded further. Where this is detrimental or not to the first movie is a different matter entirely. The series did however respect the mythology as it grabbed whatever cash it could by releasing an Apes film every year for the next four years.

Thankfully keeping Roddy McDowall in work.

Two television series, comic books and lunch boxes were all adorned with Dr. Zaius, Cornelius and other damned dirty apes. The public grew tired of the series, attributing it to the constant barrage of Ape entertainment and products. If they had video games back then, they would of made Plant of the Apes games and it would of probably sucked.

As I stated before, the quality went down as the series chugged along. This added reason for the public not to care about men in ape costumes anymore. Beneath the Planet of the Apes was basically a remake of the first film in it's plot structure. Escape from Planet of the Apes was borderline boring for my eight-year-old self. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes was too scary. And Battle for the Planet of the Apes seemed more like a television movie than an actual film.

I'll still watch it though.

To me, Planet of the Apes is a charming film that is impossible not to enjoy. If I've said it once I'll say it again, I will not marry a girl unless she likes Plant of the Apes. She's just not worth it if she can't enjoy at least the first movie. Planet of the Apes was, in my opinion, one of the first cash-grab movie franchises. It was almost ten year before Star Wars, giving us an entertaining, sci-fi merchandise empire before Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles blew up the Death Star.

If you don't know who Wedge is look him up.
He's the Jesse Hall of Rogue Squadron
[Jesse Hall being the best/most unappreciated Mighty Ducks player.
It's a crime he wasn't in the third Ducks film.
Then again that movie kind of sucked (longest caption ever on my blog.).].

After people were bombarded with Apes they lost interest, leaving me to watch marathons of it on Saturday mornings in peace. Then Tim Burton decided to remake Planet of the Apes with Markey Mark. Now bear in mind, this was back when Burton wasn't a talentless hack. Back when he still had that crazy hair having, sunglasses wearing magic. The movie had no heart though and was nothing but a heartless reflection of the original. I also blame the remake for destroying Burton's credibility. The remake was the first time Helena Bonham Carter and Burton worked together. Becoming partners with Burton, she is now his muse. But, considering the fact that his past few movies sucked, he should get a new muse.

Is it bad I consider this the movie she looked most attractive? That's probably sick right?

Chalk the remake as a misguided mistake. Now they are trying to make another one. This one called Rise of the Apes and centered around Caesar, the ape who helps lead the rebellion. James Franco is set to star in it (not as an ape). Franco has been blowing up recently, so I'm not disappointed to hear his name attached. He does have talent. His name is also attached to the Blood Meridian film, which I am also curious about. Blood Meridian was the most brutal book I've ever read, so the movie should be awesome.

Every line of this book would make an awesome metal band name.

The movie, as it sound so far, is messing with the mythology though. It may be a series about talking apes but the original series had a very strict philosophy. The remake deviated but it still kept the basics and at least retained the "men in make up" aesthetic. This aesthetic being one of the most visible parts of the Ape media franchise. But to hear that they are making CGI apes disappoints me completely. That and hearing how Caesar is a test subject for a Alzheimer's cure. Is it just me or is this sounding like a monkey version of Deep Blue Sea? Deep Blue Sea also involved experimentation to find a cure for Alzheimer's that led to a deadly, smarter version of the animal.

Remembered for the best death scene ever.

With CGI apes, the most recognizable part of the series is gone. Yes Andy Serkis is going to be doing the motion capture, but just because he was a good Gollum doesn't mean he should throw on dot-covered spandex for every part he can. He already played an ape in the King Kong remake and that was disappointing. So, even though I love the Planet of the Apes films, Rise of the Apes is probably going to do nothing but disappoint me. The reboot is just bad news bears.

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