5 Ways to Prep: War for the Planet of the Apes
By George Rose
July 16, 2017
As of 2017, I still haven’t seen any of the five original Planet of the Apes films released between 1968 and 1973, and I don’t imagine I will anytime soon. What I can confidently tell you is that 2001’s reboot is likely the worst the series has ever produced. This, of course, makes it a good recommendation to see before the latest movie is released so you can know just exactly where the low bar for the series rests. As far as low bars go, the special effects and action are at least passable, while star Mark Wahlberg is very easy to look at for two hours. After this 2001 release my prayers changed; I would ask the Lord of Hollywood to punish those involved in breaking my heart and taking The Mummy Returns’ opening weekend record away from it. I assumed this meant the Apes would disappear for another 30 years and Burton would find redemption.
2) Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Between 2001-2011, I went from being 16 years old to being 26. As you grow older, you learn a few things. I learned that “God” could actually be any version of any higher power that countless religions claim is the one true creator. I also came to understand that God, or Whoever is listening, doesn’t waste time on what I want with regards to Hollywood. People are starving in Africa, soooooooooo maybe my heart shouldn’t break every time the “biggest opening weekend” title is in jeopardy. Also, with cutting God a little slack in the Hollywood department, I came to trust and believe in a new higher power: Karma.
Though 2003’s Big Fish proved Tim Burton truly has a unique talent and is an amazing director, Karma would punish this “sellout” of a director with a long string of truly unoriginal garbage. Burton, once the king of updating iconic characters (Batman!!!), would become the ultimate jester of the genre that liked to juggle the balls of the new King of Hollywood, Johnny Depp. There was 2005’s remake Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2007’s musical update Sweeney Todd, 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, and 2012’s Dark Shadows. While karma was busy taking a ten year dump all over Burton, the powers that be were busy redeeming the Apes franchise.
Maybe it wasn’t a crappy franchise. Maybe Burton really isn’t my hero and is just a Hollywood assassin hired to kill beloved franchises. Instead of banishing the Apes to another 30-year absence, 20th Century Fox went the way of the prequel-reboot in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes after a decade long disappearance. Oh. My. Golly gee whiz! It was AMAZING!!! Instead of diving right into a whole planet of primates, we are taken back to the start when it was a planet of idiot human beings. For some reason, Fox decided to hire legendary stoner James Franco as the lead in this heartfelt, action packed origin story. Much to my surprise, he is actually quite amazing as Will Rodman, the man who basically started this whole monkey mess.