for the Planet of the Apes”
For those unfamiliar with the back story, the apes have acquired
advance intelligence through human error:
a mutation experiment gone awry.
Then the human population was ravaged by a mysterious “simian
virus” from being in contact with the hyped-up apes, until the two
groups are now approximately equal, and struggling for control of what
remains of the post-apocalyptic planet.
Most of the apes communicate by their own sign language, but some,
like their leader, Caesar (Andy Serkis) can speak English fluently, and
does---not just to communicate with the humans, but with the apes, as well
(to demonstrate his superior intellect?).
It's not unusual to see apes riding horseback, brandishing spears,
and sometimes just indulging in primal roaring, but neither is it unusual
to see the humans using arrows as well as more advanced weaponry.
It's a hodge-podge world out there, and Director/Writer Matt Reeves
takes full advantage of the incongruity of the human girl who can't speak
but also can't identify with the warmongering humans, as well as the irony
of the humans developing a new virus that renders them speechless, and
further descending in the primate pecking order.
The battle scenes are intriguing, but really, this boils down to a
confrontation between the Caesar bent on revenge for the slaying of his
family, and the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), the leader of the human group
that is striving against the apes.
Ah, but it's more complicated than that.
It seems the wacko Colonel has made enemies among the humans, which
makes Caesar realize that if he's cagey enough to help his tribe survive,
maybe the humans will wipe each other out and do his dirty work for him.
At the end, Caesar is really more of a Moses figure:
he leads his enslaved people out of their bondage and into their
Promised Land, and like Moses, figures that once he's got them there, it's
somebody else's turn to lead. Like
Moses, Caesar has enemy blood on his hands, and like Moses, Caesar
benefits from a miraculous bit of natural catastrophe to help deter his
It's amazing how quickly you can start thinking the apes are the
good guys—that is, family-oriented, civilized, and empathetic, while the
humans are the bad guys---that is, violent, self-centered, power hungry,
Yes, it stands in a long line of separate episodes, but after a
little introduction, it also stands on its own.
And yes, it's a parable in ape's clothing.