28 July 2017

Boning Up: Escape From The Planet Of The Apes

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Spoilers throughout. 

What's the story?

The previous film ended with the apes gunning down a load of skinless freaks and Charlton Heston going all 'fuck-this' and nuking the Earth. So how the fuck do you follow that? Well, apparently as this was happening, three other apes; Zira, Cornelius, and Monkey McRed-Shirt, re-built themselves a spaceship that sent them back in time to the 1970's. So now you have a reversal of story in which the apes are the strangers in our world as our politicians try to figure out what to do with them. Although, the scientists investigating them don't seem to take too many precautions, for instance, willingly locking themselves in cages with the apes to perform experiments without any knowledge of how safe our new visitors might be. I guess these scientists have a similar attitude to health and safety as Steve Irwin did after uttering the phrase “Watch me jab this Stingray in the tits, fellas” Anyway, once this is complete, the apes are then paraded around as celebrities, with us then becoming suspicious that their existence is a risk to the future of humanity. For a film that starts off as a fish-out-of-water comedy, I have to say that I was somewhat surprised when we ultimately decide to shoot the living fuck out of the apes in an ending that was like The Wild Bunch crossed with Dunstan Checks In.

What's the subtext?
There's a brief comment on celebrity culture when the apes are tarted up and paraded around in front of flashing cameras. Although there's a good chance that the press just thought those monkey-looking freaks were a few members of the band Supergrass, because this aspect isn't really developed.

The main crux of the story however is in its dealing with the topic of vivisection. The 1970's humans learn that the apes of the future will experiment on us in much the same we that we currently experiment on them. In which case, can we really be angry at them for committing the same evil that we're already doing? Well.. maybe. Because all they do is chop our brains up, but at least we sometimes make them look pretty by testing a bit of lipstick on them too.

The film also deals with the idea of fate. Maybe the future isn't as set in stone as we learnt in Terminator 2. Or as we then re-learnt in Terminator 3... oh.. maybe it is? There's also a discussion regarding killing these innocent apes in order to protect the future of our species which is equated to the morality of killing Hitler's ancestors in order prevent the Second World War. Although the way this film ends with the Government guy unloading his gun into a baby fucking chimp John Wick-style, I'm not too sure that killing a baby Hitler would be much of a problem for these trigger happy bastards.

What's the best bit of the film?

Without a doubt, it's the scene in which Cornelius delivers his speech about the rise of the apes. I figure I'll just include it here because it's interesting to see how Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes adhered to it. Although fuck knows who 'Aldo' is...

They became alert to the concept of slavery. And, as their numbers grew, to slavery's antidote which, of course, is unity. At first, they began assembling in small groups. They learned the art of corporate and militant action. They learned to refuse. At first, they just grunted their refusal. But then, on a historic day, which is commemorated by my species and fully documented in the sacred scrolls, there came Aldo. He did not grunt. He articulated. He spoke a word which had been spoken to him time without number by humans. He said 'No.' That's how it all started.

What's the worst bit of the film?

Nothing major but the end goes a little off the rails, I suppose. A mad-man chasing after the monkeys is a bit less credible than having the actual authorities send them to the big banana in the sky in a Night Of The Living Dead kind of way. Also - the bit where the two apes ask for help in case they need to commit suicide and the vet they're talking to responds with “I thought you might ask that”, before casually pulling a fucking gun out of his pocket was a bit too close to that scene in Team America: World Police in which the main character asks the same question and is given a hammer.

What's the best line?

As I write this now, we in the UK are at the end of a pretty interesting election in which the usual shit as been thrown about and so I have to say that I did like the line that the president of the film uses..

I consider it dispassionately as a possibility and not hysterically as a fact”

However my favourite line of the film was probably the much more simple..

“They are not astronauts, they are apes!”

I think that's the line that I'm now going to start using when I see people I think are thick.

Is it actually worth a watch?

Trust me... it definitely is.