Commentary

August 1, 2014

Fly Over: ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘La Bamba’

Marcy Copeland and Nestor Cruz

battle-for-the-planet-of-the-apes-poster

‘Battle for the Planet of the Apes’ vs ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

“Battle for the Planet of the Apes” features the wonderful Roddy McDowall reprising his role as Caesar/ Cornelius in the fifth and final chapter of the Planet of the Apes Saga.
Ten years have passed since the apes, led by Caesar, rebelled against the humans. After victory was achieved, Caesar had to guide the apes while keeping peace with the humans and living together as one. Humans were considered enslaved but were treated fairly and with respect. The mighty gorilla general Aldo does not share Caesar’s point of view or agree with the relationship he has with the humans.
There is a small band of mutant human survivors who escaped capture and have begun to rebuild, acquiring weapons and items needed to wage war against the apes and threaten the stability of the human and ape relationship.
I know the new movie “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was released in theaters. I saw it and yes, the movie is amazing. But to better understand that movie is to know what gave birth to the concept of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” That’s right, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” was the inspiration. For me, as much as I did enjoy the new movie, I kept thinking about the original and how it had more of a story than the new movie.
Caesar, trying to understand his heritage, beginning a new society, and keeping peace with the humans, seeks to travel into the nuclear ruins of the city to obtain footage of his deceased parents. To learn about the future from which his parents are from, Caesar jeopardizes everything he has created including his son. After a chimpanzee is injured by humans, this is enough for general Aldo to order all humans into cages and to attack the Forbidden City.
 
Rebuttal by Staff Sgt. Nestor Cruz
Remember that awesome movie you grew up watching and told people they needed to see it? Then you revisit the movie, expecting pure awesomeness to leap from the screen, but you notice all the movie’s flaws and realize your memory embellished the movie throughout the years.
The original “Planet of the Apes” movies fall under this category. Yes, the concept and stories were brilliantly executed then. They may have enjoyed widespread popularity back in the day, not so much with “Battle” since it took in a mere $8.8 million in 1973, but that ship has sailed and some movies really deserve a 21st century makeover.
That’s not to say the originals lacked merit. The “Apes” reboot movies take several elements from the originals as a nod of respect and to carry the plot. Both “Battle” and “Dawn” are parables dealing with racial conflict. The Caesar character strives for peace between ape and human. Also, a high-ranking ape stages a coup and orders the imprisonment of all humans.
One subtle reference is the orangutan Maurice. In the originals, the orangutan, Dr. Zaius, was played by Maurice Evans.
“Battle” was simply a final attempt to make money out of a tired franchise while “Dawn” succeeded in vitalizing the reboot.
 
Closing argument by Copeland
For me, too much focus on references and a last ditch effort to make money shouldn’t be what is taken from this franchise, old and new, but the film quality and what it gave to the “Apes” franchise should be the primary focus. “Battle for Planet of the Apes” gave completeness, a finalization to how the story really began, why human separated from ape and why ape became the dominant species. It gave the world an opportunity by holding up a mirror to our faces saying “Look at us! Look at the destruction we are capable of and what we need to change about ourselves and our world.” Rather than working together with the apes, humans chose to blow it all up.
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” doesn’t give us an opportunity to place ourselves mentally into that situation. At best, it’s a great movie with plenty of action and, yes, an amazing story, which would not have been possible without the original. In the end, only “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” can make humans feel like “damn dirty apes.”
This film is rated G.

 

dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ vs ‘Battle for the Planet of the Apes’

Movie reboots and remakes are hit or miss. They either disappoint fans of the original by straying too far from the original premise or they blow away moviegoers with a fresh take on said premise.
The sequel to 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” falls under the latter category.
“Dawn” takes place ten years after its predecessor. Most of humanity has been wiped out by the spread of ALZ 113 except for a small number worldwide.
Caesar (Andy Serkis) has established an ape colony in the mountains over-looking San Francisco. Both ape and human camps are unaware of the existence of the other until a pair of young apes stumble upon a human hiker. This chance meeting results in a wounded ape, prompting Caesar to visit the human camp with an ape contingent. He instructs the humans to never venture into the mountains again.
One of the humans, Malcolm (Jason Clarke), risks incurring the apes’ wrath, and seeks an audience with Caesar to ask permission to repair a dam in ape territory. The dam is vital to the survival of the humans and Malcolm promises they will never bother the apes again. Caesar agrees, seeing this as his only opportunity to attain peace with the humans. But there are members of both camps who believe there can never be peace between both species.
“Rise” and “Dawn” share similar premises with the fourth and fifth installments in the original “Planet of the Apes” film series but are not intended to be direct remakes, hence the term “reboot” much used by Hollywood these days. This distinction may disappoint movie fans who remember the original movies. The reboots are immensely enjoyable if longtime Apes fans go in with an open mind.
 
Rebuttal by Senior Airman Marcy Copeland
Whether it is a remake or a reboot, movie viewers cannot help but compare the two movies, or at least those who have seen the original series. I do agree that the new movie had amazing computer animated graphics and a good storyline to follow, but it lacked the human to ape connection that was achieved in the Battle for the Planet of the Apes.
In the fifth installment of the original series, apes and humans lived together trying to find a place in the world that both species could exist and all was overshadowed by jealousy and the need for dominance from both General Aldo and the mutant human’s side. This showed that no matter the species, jealously and greed are always there in an animal trying to dominate the world, human or ape. The need for power outweighs the so called family dynamics the apes and humans thought they established by working together after the nuclear war.
Caesar in the “Battle for Planet of the Apes” suffered a cost far greater in his quest for peace between the humans than in the new release. Caesar’s son Cornelius was hiding in a tree and overheard General Aldo making plans to overthrow Caesar. General Aldo cuts the branch Cornelius was on, sending him to the ground. He later dies from his injuries, leaving Caesar devastated. In the new movie there wasn’t really any great personal loss for Caesar and no reason for Koba to become jealous of Caesar letting humans in to fix the dam.
 
Closing argument by Nestor Cruz
“Dawn” did not lack a human to ape connection. Both sides exercised a healthy distrust for the other species, thus creating conflict. This is what moviegoers crave. If everything was sunshine and rainbows between humans and apes, that would make a very boring movie.
The risks Caesar faced in “Dawn” were just as serious as in “Battle”, if not greater. Followers are a fickle lot and Caesar risked the loyalty of his constituents by allowing the humans to work on the dam. His decision cost him the loyalty of his lieutenant Koba. It’s just as well because with a face like Koba’s, his character needed to be the rebellious berserker.
What this debate ultimately boils down to is this question: Does it or will it stand the test of time? Writers Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver took some of the best elements from “Battle” and modernized the “Planet of the Apes” concept, making it relevant for the 21st century. Let the numbers speak for themselves: In its first 12 days of release, “Dawn” took in $138 million domestically. Throw in overseas earnings and “Dawn” is sitting pretty at $241 million worldwide as of this writing. “Battle” was good; “Dawn” was made better.
This film is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language.




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