On the promise of good reviews and the seemingly type-cast-as-some-form-of simian Andy Serkis portraying the lead role of Caesar, my beautiful fiance Kara and I took in the newest re-boot of The Planet of the Apes franchise, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.
At first I only saw it as yr standard mid-late summer popcorn B-movie fare. It has some pretty crappy acting in it (the star human is, after all, James Franco) and regardless of how far special effects have come since James Cameron did some fucked shit with the Terminator 2-predating THE ABYSS water creature, you could still tell that any time it showed one of the “damned dirty apes” swinging around and gnawing human flesh and what-have-you, you were watching the fruits of the labor of some nerd sitting at a computer typing in code to make what you were seeing on the screen seem real.
But then the iconic Charlton Heston line was finally spoken.
But this time it wasnt some uber-male Republican future NRA president uttering the iconic command. No, this time the line was given to the douchebag college-student/part-time ape sanctuary worker to utter. He says it to our movie’s hero (Caesar, the “damned dirty ape” in question) just before Caesar knocks his block off (to loud applause from the screening’s audience–though, to be fair, we watched it at one of those cinema bar & grill deals, and by the time we were 3/4 into the film, every single person in that theater was three shits to the wind).
But drunk or not, I, in my ever-present cultural attune-ness, realized that I was witness to a major paradigm shift. Because this time, it wasn’t the white people–the humans–we in the audience were meant to root for. This time our sympathies were meant to lie with those of the damned dirty apes. Because who in these dark financial and political times isnt feeling more and more like we are being shut out of the promised land? Who isnt feeling caged and treated like not much more than batteries, energy, indentured servants whose sole purpose is to provide the labor that serves to merely keep our heads from finally sinking beneath rising tides, while those who employ us (if we are employed at all) line their bank accounts on the fruits of our meager wages?
Yeah, there was something happening here. And what it was WAS EXACTLY CLEAR: it was becoming our time.
Now, dont get me wrong (you never do, right?….we’re always on the same page, yeah), I’m not one to advocate for social revolution (or am I?). All I’m saying is that this B-movie with shitty James Franco acting (oxymoron???) made me think that maybe–just maybe–we might be witnessing something bigger than a movie studio trying to find a new angle to tell an old-ass story (started by a French guy, btw) because they’ve run out of ideas (and while we’re on the subject, movie studio people, let me remind you that both futureproof and Sanctuary are both available for adaptation should you ever tire of remaking the fucking Dukes of Hazzard). Maybe–just maybe–we were sitting in these movie theaters (or at home utilizing illegal downloads, as the case may be) watching art imitate life (metaphorically, of course). Maybe we were (are) about to take the power back.
Or maybe we were (are) just late taking our daily morphine shot. And Andy Serkis has a long career ahead of him portraying other caged apes trying to break out of the fucking cell. Or maybe I’m just drunk… on beautiful possibility.