Sunday, October 11, 2015


Saw THIS one over the weekend, too. 


This 2014 release is bound to be one of the most frightening stories you will see in your lifetime.  I am pretty sure this will not turn out to be an exaggerated claim on my part.  Dear Scrod, I was hardly able to turn my eyes away from the screen as the horror unfolded, and I had BAD DREAMS all night afterwards.  I still feel weird, 2 days later.  IT WAS THAT SCARY.

This is essentially the same type of nightmare presented to viewers in the original Planet of the Apes film cycle.  Apes evolve into humans, who evolve into apes, who evolve into humans, back and forth until you're just about ready to bury your head in the floor of the fishtank and breathe sand to make it go away.  But this particular movie reaches far beyond all the others to out-and-out terrify any waterbreather watching it. 

In the previous installment, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we see exactly why the featherless bipeds need to be turned back into fish.  No surprises here.  The human world is ugly.  They're unbelievably cruel even to the close relatives they claim to be so fond of -- the other "great apes."  The apes, to their credit, get out of Dodge and start their own society, taking advantage of some of the unexpected effects of the medical research being done on them to break free and head for the nearest forestland.  The inspirational ending isn't quite enough to offset the hideousness of what the apes are escaping, but it's still a big relief.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes  picks up the story about 10 years later, and we get a good, close look into ape society.  Chimps, Gorillas and Orangs are living cooperatively and peacefully...UNTIL THE FEATHERLESS BIPEDS SHOW UP. 


>> At the start of the story, there are already some signs that things are going to go TERRIBLY WRONG.  The apes -- still led by a grim-faced, bitter-looking Caesar -- are now living in approximately the way landlocked tribes of  Homo sap. did a few thousand years ago.  They use some basic tools, about the same as unenhanced apes do, and they now know how to make fire.  They communicate using a combination of American Sign Language and spoken English, sort of like the Neanderthals in The Clan of the Cave Bear.  That doesn't spell trouble in itself, of course. 

>> These apes go on hunting trips together -- yeah, they're carnivores now.  They live in a depopulated California but they aren't dining on oranges or self-seeded tomatoes.  They're close to the edge of the ocean, and there's a comedy scene showing a couple of chimps fishing in the surf with a pointed stick...But we never see any of us catching them so we can be eaten.  There are no signs of piscatorial transformation, for sure.  These are not the green-skinned beach dwellers of Skull Island.

>> They're starting to wear clothes, which is an alarming sign; it's a true saying of humans that pride goes before a fall, and these folk are wearing warpaint to go hunting.  Caesar's wife wears a sort of beaded headdress, and another ape in the upper echelon wears a fancy necklace around the house.  Yeah.  THEY'RE FLASHING STATUS SYMBOLS.

>> Then, as I say, HUMANS FIND THEM.  This is where you want to upchuck everything you've ever eaten.  One brief encounter and the apes start acting JUST LIKE THE HOMO SAPS.  And the humans, for want of better words, GO APE.  I'll spare you the details.

>> Caesar finds himself over a barrel.  He can't trust the humans, except for a couple of them, and he can't trust the apes, except for a couple of them, and even those he's not sure of.  What should he do?  Then his old buddy Koba pulls a gun on him.  This is what I mean when I say that they are acting like humans.  It's enough to make you want to crawl up on the beach to die.

>> IT DOESN'T COME OUT LOOKING VERY PRETTY.  Let me tell you this much:  Caesar looks a lot grimmer and a lot more bitter by the end of this unhappy story.

If you watch this one, I urge you to remind each other as the story unfolds that THIS IS ONLY A MOVIE.  In reality, WE are the ones who will win this fight.  WE'RE ALREADY WINNING IT NOW.



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