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August 05, 2011


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Jeff Yates

This site provides a set of jump links to the various wiki entries for the franchise:

Alfred Brophy

I'm wondering if this one will have the same kind of social commentary of the first Planet of the Apes. While I'm usually not a fan of sci-fi movies, I found the first one interesting because of its critique of wholesale prejudice. It wasn't subtle, but perhaps that's what made it work for the late 1960s. And I guess to build some hype for this one, one of the cable channels ran one of the more recent "Ape" movies last week and I found that it also had a message: as one of the slave-traders said at one point as he seemed to be reforming his views, "can't we all just get along?" I thought it was decent at critiquing both slavery and Jim Crow and putting the audience into the position of seeing a family separated by sale. I was impressed.

I think I'm going to hold off putting down some money for this one until I get reports on whether this has a message about rising up to cast off the chains of oppression, as the trailers seem to suggest. Or if this is just about ever more violence. I did note in the New York Times' review, however, that one of the key characters is named Will Rodman. And that reminded me that one of the North Carolina reformers of the antebellum era was one William Blount Rodman. A coincidence?!

Colin Miller

I would go with "2001" or "12 Monkeys" if they count. Otherwise, I will go with George Romero's "Money Shines,' a pretty good horror movie. I heard good things about the documentary "Project Nim" this summer, but I think that I will wait to see it on DVD.

From what I remember of the original Apes movies (which I think we actually watched in school for some reason):

In "Planet of the Apes," Charlton Heston is an astronaut who goes to the future, where apes rule after a nuclear war on what turns out to be Earth. In "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," a second spaceship (a rescue mission for Heston's ship) lands, and they come upon men living in the subway system who worship the nuclear bomb. At the end of the movie, Heston's character sets off a nuclear bomb that destroys the world. But, in "Escape from the Planet of the Apes," it turns out that three apes had fixed Heston's spaceship and escaped, somehow returning to 1970s America. They have a son, who in "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" because the leader of the apes' revolt against humanity (similar to the new movie). In "Battle for the Planet of the Apes," man and ape fight, but at the end they learn that this can only lead to the destruction of the planet and decide to peacefully co-exist. Or something like that.

Tim Zinnecker

Apes. Monkeys. While both are primates, there are differences. See

But I digress.

My vote? Curious George.

Jacqui Lipton

Ah, Tim. That's the second time today my "monkey" terminology has been questioned. In conversation earlier, I mistakenly referred to a lemur as a monkey as well.

And thanks to Colin both for explaining the original movie series in context. Where was your school that the ape movies were on the curriculum? Also, I have to give you a hat tip for mentioning 2001. I hadn't thought of that as a monkey movie and that opening scene has to be one of the best monkey movie moments ever. I particularly remember the Mad Magazine send up where the monkey throws the bone into the sky and it immediately hits the hull of the spaceship from the next scene. The spaceship pilot mutters, "That's funny. I could have sworn a bone just hit the ship." (or something to that effect.)

How about "Congo" anyone? Not a great movie, but LOTS of monkeys. (Oh, and wasn't one of the Indiana Jones movies filled with monkeys - and monkey brains - as well?)

Colin Miller

Jacqui, I was in Virginia Beach. When the calendar hit June, we pretty much just watched movies (and the French Open) in class. I believe that we watched the Apes movies in history class along with Casablanca and Apocalypse Now.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom had the scene where they were served chilled monkey brains. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy had his monkey sidekick who met his fate at the hand of "bad grapes."

Tim Zinnecker

What? No one has mentioned BEDTIME FOR BONZO! But maybe I'm showing my age ....

Jacqui Lipton

Colin - remind me never to take you on in a movie trivia quiz.

Tim Zinnecker

Colin, confirming what I thought -- bad "dates" (not grapes).

But you still know more movie trivia than I do!

Colin Miller

Here's a good blog post by Chuck Klosterman about monkey movies, Project Nim, and all things Planet of the Apes:

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