I have a confession to make. I’m not a science fiction geek. But watching the trailers for the Rise of the Planet of the Apes had made me curious, and because I have a boyfriend who is a self-confessed geek of all things Science and Technology, we decided to make a date out of it and watch the movie together.
First, let me say that the trailer really was pretty good at hooking the audience into actually watching the movie- even for folks like me who has only heard of the Planet of the Apes (let’s call it P.A from here) franchise (I even remember that episode from The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon gets sick and his friends decided to escape to the movie theaters to watch the Planet of the Apes marathon) and never really paid attention to it.
So here’s a quick reaction from a P.A virgin. The story line for me, was fantastic. The dialogue between the characters were deep and subtle at the right moments, without being too cheesy and tiresome. The relationship between Will (superbly portrayed by James Franco) and Caesar (Andy Serkis) was properly developed and established. I found myself going “Aww!” several times during the first part of the movie. Caesar really was a cute chimp.
Being a self-confessed Psych-geek myself, I was able to relate to some parts of the movie that actually coincided with my lessons. For example, I couldn’t help but nod vigorously when the lab assistant first warned the big boss of the company about the chimps developing attachments (which was precisely what happened to Caesar, Will and his father). My heart ached and swelled for Caesar and the unfortunate events he had to go through. Imagine being left behind by your family without any explanation, thrown into a strange place, with even stranger people (or in this case, apes).
There was also the case of ethics and moral dilemma- treating the chimps properly, using your father as your own test subject, producing mass amounts of the drugs without properly going through the procedures and rigorous testing, etc.
The most salient concept that popped out to me during the film though was the same concept that our professors back at uni have been drilling in our heads about Psychology experiments: being cautious about extrapolating results from animal experiments to actual humans (the drug that Will had invented in the lab worked miracles for the apes, at the same time caused demise to the humans exposed to it).
B and I had a discussion once about the survival of the humans. Without our intelligence, we don’t stand a chance against other stronger, more powerful species. Although it seemed to me that Caesar couldn’t keep his anger in check at first, at least he showed moments when it seemed like he was also against killing any more humans. They just wanted freedom.
All in all, this year’s rendition of P.A was a success. The whole cast and crew can congratulate themselves on a job well done, because they’ve just recruited another human to join the Planet of the Apes.