Thursday, March 12, 2015

Battle for the Planet of the Apes Through a Kid’s Eyes

This one’s going to veer away from the “kid’s eyes” focus, because after five films there weren’t many additions.

She found a great deal of “poopyheads” in this outing. (Aldo, the mutants, Gorilla’s in general etc.)

She was also puzzled as to why the movie had to start by showing scenes from the two we’d just watched.  Thus it was time for another history lesson, explaining the dark days past when everything wasn’t instantly available streaming, on disk, or even on “fuzzy old tapes.”

While the death of young Cornelius did visibly sadden her, she was relieved at the end because she “expected everyone I liked to die.”

Roddy McDowall turned in another amazing performance as an older and differently focused Caesar.  Once more he pulls a different emotive experience out of the same make up.

The story ends with the statue of Caesar crying. Combining that with the human girl and chimp boy fighting is the evidence usually cited for the Lawgiver’s hopes for a future of harmony and peace being unfounded and the story being a circle leading to the inevitable Heston initiated explosion.

I think the “key surprise statement” from the previous film, coupled with developments here and beyond call for a different interpretation.

The fighting kids demonstrate they don’t see each other different than any other children of their own species. The statue of Caesar is crying because it took the death of his son to attain the future of harmony and peace. 

In Escape it was stated that the first ape to say, “NO!” was Aldo.  We meet Aldo the Gorilla general this time around as a pre-Sheriff Lobo Claude Akins portrays a brutal anti-intellectual thug.

One option is Gorillas took over and changed history to give him credit. With the Orangutans being the keepers of knowledge and power in the original timeline, them doling out credit to another group seems unlikely.

Cornelius and Zira coming back in time and introducing Caesar as an intelligent ape into the revolution changed the famous quote from an angry “NO!” of defiance, to a much softer, “no,” as a call for mercy.  This leads to a more intelligence and compassion driven revolt.

As young Cornelius puts it in this film, “If my father were a Gorilla, we’d all be learning riding instead of writing.”

It isn’t perfect harmony shown, but there are some encouraging elements:

The meeting between Gorilla soldiers and the Mutants was accelerated to much earlier in the timeline, thinning the Mutant’s ranks and providing the apes knowledge of those that hold the Alpha Omega Bomb, and the knowledge that their destroyed city (which is now on another coast for some reason) has nothing of value to them.

It’s true that the apes still sit segregated on the council, but their jobs aren’t, possibly leading to a less striated society.

Humans are second class citizens, but are still teachers and doctors -a far cry from the mute savages in the first film.

Some extra evidence comes from what followed the movies.

In the 1974 live action series, things have gotten far worse for humans.  However, they are still capable of speech, meaning they haven’t regressed as far as the original timeline. 

More importantly, a reference is made to Taylor and his group of astronauts having been killed.  OK, that’s not really good for them, but since their arrival and subsequent actions are the direct causes that led to the world blowing up, overall its excellent news.

Finally, the 1975 Return to cartoon showed a much more technologically advanced ape society, indicating a general recovery in the world.  It also ended suggesting Cornelius and Zira (one or both of which may now be their own descendants) raising human equality to the Senate.  Doctor Zaius also depowers Gorilla general Urko, before he can take power like Ursus did in Beneath.

See, it really was all Taylor’s fault, just like the Orangutan said.

The quote this time wasn’t a surprise for the reason it has been in the last four.  Everyone knows everyone else can talk. 

Instead it comes from Paul Williams’s advice that succeeds at breaking Caesar out of his grief over his son, and rage at the attack of the city humans (Mutants) as he states that, “the human way is violence and death.”  He is quite correct that this line comes from a “wise and good ape,” and follows the implied recommendation to lead his society toward that harmonious future.

Key Surprise Statement:
"Aldo wasn’t human, was he Caesar?”

Apes Index


longbow said...

I was playing a board game with friends a few years back when one half of a couple make a move that would almost certainly eliminate the other half of the couple from the game.

I gasped and started chanting "Ape has killed ape". He giggled some but she just sort of stared at me, without reference.

Jeff McGinley said...

Its amazing how often that line comes up in our lives anyway.

Thanx for sharing!