1 August 2017

Boning Up: Battle For The Planet Of The Apes

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Spoilers throughout

What's the story?

After leading his revolution in the previous film, Caesar is now living a happy life as king of his monkey village. General Aldo, a Gorilla, however, is being as typically right-wing and dumb as every other military type in this franchise ever has. He particularly dislikes the humans that are living in peace within the village because it's impossible to make these films without making racism a part of the subtext. Caesar discovers that recordings were made of his parents and decides to hunt them down in an underground network where some scabby looking humans are hiding out. Because looking for amateur films of your parents is always a good idea... Anyway, the scabby humans spot Caesar and decide that now is time to fight back against the apes because we humans are also right-wing fuckheads that are incapable of learning from our mistakes.

What's the subtext?

Well, there's the same old messages as in previous Apes films, I suppose. However this one mostly deals with the nature of violence and whether or not it can ever be justified. It seems that all of the right-wingers in the film are hell bent on fighting, which, as we can see from previous films, will only lead to total destruction.. again, this instalment was made during the Cold War and with the nuclear threat still hanging over the world. Caesar must therefore attempt to learn from the previous mistakes of his history without simply allowing his enemy to take control. 

What's the best bit of the film?

I suppose it's probably the end. In the final scene we see ape children living in peace with human children and it's implied that integration has finally happened, and after four previous movies of pure nihilism, perhaps everything is going to be okay. Apparently there was an alternate final draft in which we not only saw the two species living together but we saw children that were half ape/half human. Although I do completely agree that when given the option, a human will eventually try to shag anything.. I'm kind of glad we didn't end the series on the message that interspecies-fuckery is the way we'll achieve peace on Earth.

What's the worst bit of the film?

Probably the bit at the end in which Caesar is held at gun-point and in an inescapable situation. All of his ape friends have been killed and the humans are about to put one final bullet in his head. After enough time that Caesar could have been turned into a lead salad, it's revealed that the apes are only pretending to be dead, they get up, fight back, and chase the humans away. But fuck me did they leave it a little while before they did anything. Lying down on the job is frowned upon at the best of times and so I can only imagine that after the battle is won and the credits roll, Caesar must have given them one hell of a bollocking. Oh, I also didn't like the John Huston cameo at the beginning and end of the movie which essentially plays out like cheap TV series's “And previously on Planet Of The Apes” type introduction.

What's the best line?

There's lots of philosophical musings in this movie, with plenty of loaded bits of dialogue scattered throughout. However simply because it made me laugh, I think I'm going to have say that my favourite was when one of the radioactive humans tried to warn his leader about going to war...

Human Pleb.
If we shoot first we break twelve years of peace

Human Leader.
Yes. It has been rather boring hasn't it?!

Is it actually worth a watch?

Well, the reviews for the film when this originally came our were pretty terrible. Although the reviews for Blade Runner were terrible when that came out so I wouldn't let that put you off. Having said that, Blade Runner is now considered one of the greatest films of all time however if you ask people what the final one of the original Apes movies are called, most of them think it's title is, “I couldn't give a shit”. Personally I loved it so I would strongly recommend it. I think the great thing about these movies is that with each sequel the budget was cut, meaning that extra effort was put into the quality of the script with the filmmakers realising they could no longer just rely on spectacle. Plus as this film went on it became pretty apparent that Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes has taken a lot from it. There are parallels between the humans and the apes and the film climaxes with a fight between Caesar and a bad Ape. So it's worth watching just to see the comparison. I will say that Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes did do the final battle slightly better, however I'd be lying if I said I didn't find the sight of a fat man in a slightly tatty monkey costume as he runs up a tree to be slightly entertaining.

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