10 August 2017

Boning Up: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

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What's the story?
James Franco plays a scientist that accidentally creates a drug that gives monkeys a super-smartness that will ultimately take over the world. The only unbelievable bit of that sentence is that James Franco plays a scientist. After being kicked out of his job because an escaped monkey was gunned down during one of his meetings he decides to continue his experiments at home with a baby chimp that he has essentially stolen from work. Over the years this chimp, Caesar, does indeed become super-smart and essentially sets about doing the same thing to every other monkey in the area. He has his reasons though, so let's not judge him too harshly.. Mostly that humans are pricks. Franco is a good human but the rest of us really do seem to be absolute cock-munchers so fuck us.. fuck us all to Hell! If you want to seem super-smart too then you can tell people that Caesar's revolution here heavily draws on elements of the original Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes. And when I say you'll look super-smart too, I really mean you'll look like a complete fucking nerd.

What's the subtext?

Well, vivisection is an obvious example seems as that's what leads to the super-smart monkeys and the destruction of humanity. However, we did start to discover a cure for Alzheimer's by performing these experiments before the monkeys ended up taking over the world.. so everybody ultimately got something out of it, I guess. They become the dominant species of our planet and we find a cure to the only disease that would allow us to forget it was our own fucking fault.

What's the best bit of the film?

Well, without question it has to be the moment in which Caesar says “no” which may be one of the most perfect moments in blockbuster history. It comes right after a fight with Draco Malfoy in which the young wizard utters the phrase, “Get your stinking paws of me you damn dirty ape”.. which is a really clunky and horrible reference. However that quote serves only to disarm the audience and make Caesar's first words, which are delivered so powerfully and perfectly, even more shocking. I gasped when I first saw this movie and I've welled up every time since simply due to how perfectly the sequence is conceived. Also.. nothing makes more more emotional than seeing a talking monkey.

I also love this scene because months before we'd seen the film I had an argument in a pub with a guy who claimed that it was going to be shit because it didn't stick to the law set out in the original apes films. According to him, and despite the fact that director Rupert Wyatt's previous film The Escapist was pretty brilliant, “It's gonna be shit because in the first Apes films they tell you that the revolution began when one monkey stood up and said 'no'”. To which I said.. "Well, firstly that might be the case with this movie and they just didn't show it in the trailer, secondly perhaps that claiming the first ape said “no” was simply metaphorical of the defiance of the apes and not literally what they did, and thirdly... it's a reboot, so it can do whatever the fuck it likes." “Yeah well it's going to be shit because it's not going to do what the original films said it should”, was his witty retort. So when this moment did actually happen I was even happier because it had essentially just won an argument for me. He was happy too because it gave him the scene he wanted. Despite his outrage at the initial existence of this film though, it turns out that he wasn't quite a big enough fan to remember that Escape From The Planet Of The Apes actually names the ape that says “no” as Aldo.. and not Caesar. Knobhead.

What's the worst bit of the film?

Probably its lack of female characters. Freida Pinto is the lead actress and she literally does fuck all beyond occasionally stand next James Franco. You could literally replace her with a sign in his hand saying, “Even though it makes no difference to the story- I'm not gay”.

What's the best line?

As so many girls have said to me, and often in the exact same tone... it couldn't be anything other than “Noooooooooooooooooo”

Is it actually worth a watch?

The film literally ends with a gorilla throwing itself at a machine-gun-firing helicopter... what more could you possibly want from a film? Is this film worth a watch? Well, contrary to Caesar's quote of the film, “Yeeeeeeeeeeeeessss!”

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