The internet has seen the recent release of various trailers for the reboot/prequel of the Planet Of The Apes franchise called Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Here's one of them now...
Now I was a big fan of the original movies. I saw all the movies on TV, had the action figures fighting with my Star Trek figures, and I even watched the short lived TV series when the Great Money Movie would re-run them in two-episode blocks.
However, I avoided the remake from 2001. Sure the make up and special effects were slicker, but the originality and novelty was long gone, and any attempt to recreate the kick in the nuts shock quality of the ending of the first movie would just be jerking the audience's chain.
I will also avoid Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes for a variety of reasons.
1. No Roddy McDowall. While Charlton Heston provided the square jawed heroics in the first movie, it was McDowall, playing various Chimp characters who provided the humanity.
2. Explaining how it happened kind of ruins the metaphor. What made the original movie work was that the roots of the Apes inheriting the Earth was left vague. Everything was summed up with "You maniacs, you blew it up!" The apes existed to make a point about the human race. The sequels lost some of this emotional/intellectual impact when they eventually did attempt to explain what happened in the sequels. However, since the sequels were based on a time travel premise they created a complete circular cluster-fark and ends telling you that a whole new future, independent of the events of the other movies, has been forged.
3. The plot. I can sum up the whole movie. Doctor Franco tries to cure Alzheimer's disease, but it makes his test monkey super-smart. Super-smart monkey gets treated meanly by the sinister corporate executive guy, and their minions the obnoxious redneck guys, making smart monkey want revenge. Super-Smart Monkey makes the other downtrodden apes super smart, and the few hundred or so apes somehow bring down the entirety of human civilization by jumping on helicopters and throwing parking meters at cop cars.
Does the EPA declare the rebelling apes an endangered species, barring humanity from fighting back?
Because unless something like that happens, the humans will grab their guns and the apes will soon realize that their poorly opposed thumbs aren't very good in a gunfight. Remember, even if every ape on the planet becomes super-smart, they are still outnumbered by the armed military personnel of the world.
That part of the premise makes as much sense as this picture from my childhood:
And that's not a lot of sense.
At least original franchise had the idea of apes being used first as pets, then as omnipresent slave labor in every facet of society. It was a bit of a stretch credibility wise, but it gave them the excuse they needed to have intelligent apes in every city and every house in the world.
When they rose up, there was a scintilla of a chance of succeeding.
I don't see any sign of that in this new movie. Just a handful raising hell in one city, waiting to be gunned down or bombed into oblivion by the police and military.
If they wanted to go beyond CGI monkey action they should have taken an entirely different tack. Doctor finds cure for Alzheimer's that makes the test monkeys super smart. After it eliminates Alzheimer's disease, the humans start abusing the cure thinking it will make them smarter too, but instead it makes them crazier. Civilization starts to fall apart, and the smart apes go off to hide in a safe corner, watching nuclear apocalypse swallow up their homo sapiens cousins. The smart apes then decide, let's build our own civilization, and not make the mistakes they made.
It still cheapens the metaphor/mythology created in the original film, but it at least doesn't stretch credibility beyond even the capabilities of science fiction.
That's my opinion, though I do tend to be right about these sorts of things.
UPDATE: Word is out on how the film ends. Click here for my thoughts on the ending. Warning it contains SPOILERS.