Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Planet of The Apes" prequel trailer teases (potentially) awesome movie with (probably) shitty moral/message

Y'know what's great about the PoTA franchise? Since it's ALL about time-travel and alternate-history, this could easily be considered a sequel, prequel, reboot and in-name-only-cash-in all at once. Depicted below: James Franco is putting on his seriousface for reverse-ironic lulz a scientist using primate brain-research to seek "the cure" (Alzheimers again, I'm assuming?) who ends up creating super-intelligent, revolution-minded simians. Money shot? A gorilla preparing to beat up a helicopter. Ticket. SOLD.

How awesome does that look? So awesome I almost don't want to vomit right now...

Great Rao... can I BE anymore sick of once again hearing the clear "voice of reason" character somberly intone "some things aren't MEANT tobe changed!" as a 'step back from the brink' line to the "mad" scientist?

Some things aren't meant to be changed? Oh, well - my mistake! By all means, let's unplug all those artificial hearts, siphon out all those lifesaving medicines and unsew all those awful ungodly stitches - after all, clearly all those "natural causes" weren't MEANT to be stopped from killing people. Never forget, kids: Science is a scary, hard-to-understand thing that smart people do; which means it's scary and evil.

Egh. Yeah, fine, movie looks great so far and I can't hold this "against" it at this point, but still... when did it get decided that Science Fiction always had to be about making people AFRAID of human progress?


Psyckid008 said...

Meh. At least iIt looks way better than the Tim Burton version.

Aleksandar said...

And while we're at it let's destroy all of the power plants and destroy every single thing that runs on electricity, because we all know that Nikola Tesla was an evil evil man for giving us the induction motor and the polyphase system and stuff like that. Who gave him the right to change our life styles, we were perfectly fine with candels and horses!

Fuck the mad scientist stereotype. Being a physicist myself these things make me rage with the passion of a thosand suns!

Tyler said...

I'm with you Bob, all the way. How dare those scientists create all those drugs that keep people from dieing. What mad man thought it a good idea to tap into the power of the heavens and harness electricity for his own means? Ugh, but yeah, still looks like a good movie.

akkuma420 said...

I agree, I think it's quite silly that Science fiction movies try and make the watcher afraid of technology.
Technology is one of the greatest reason's to be alive IMO, I LOVE seeing it advance and where it's heading next.
At the same time though, I do understand where they are coming from...
Most of the lure of a Scifi movie is the "unknown" of it.
I just think that they use this method of writing/filming a Science fiction movie to spark the interest of the viewer.
Science fiction lives by 2 words "what if" and those are very powerful words when used in the right context.
I really don't think it's so much as they want us to be scared of progress, just be aware that we are tapping into the unknown, and that can be a scary thought as well as a GREAT script for a movie if used correctly.
I'm just rambling now and I know you know what I'm trying to say, so yea... Looks ok.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Moviebob, obviously the woman was a PETA supporter.

Seriously, though, this movie will probably have PETA members loling up and down the aisles...with the Animal Liberation Front in the back, masturbating to the first world wide animal revolt since Leonard Part VI

bigjkt said...

Now hang on a second, she said "Some Things", she didn't say everything shouldn't be changed "Some things", and there are some things we should deliberate over longer than others before we go down a road we can't turn back from. I'm guessing from the trailer Franco is doing to the apes what was done to those sharks in Deep Blue Sea. I'm all for science and progress but advancing sharks, apes, or any other large species over a relatively short period of time without considering the possibilities doesn't seem all that wise. Apes are already highly intelligent and physically very strong. Just ask that woman who lost her face. So advancing their brains more could have a lot of benefits to you and I but we would have really watch them closely. I would suggest taking all that we know about them and create computer simulations about possible affects of simian brain enhancement No underestimate how a caged super smart animal might respond to being in said cage.

Just Gavin said...

Looks like a good movie, from a stand alone point of view, I assume, sadly never seen any of the other Ape films.

As for the moral, it's really stupid also because it treats science like some kind of sentient entity capable of making choices, evil choices to destroy man kind. Cos itz evul!

We don't look at World War 2 and say "It's an example of how evil history and historians are." We didn't look at the Japanese Tsunami and say "Damn geography and those georpahers to hell." Blaming science is just as stupid.

Blue Highwind said...

So it turns out that the talking apes were created by humans trying to find the cure for brain diseases which accidentally increased the apes' intelligence?

Wait a second, that's "Deep Blue Sea" with monkeys! I call foul!

"Some thing aren't meant to be changed" was a line that made me cringe. Luckily Dresden Codak has the cure:

xXx The Beast xXx said...

I agree on the "Not Meant to be Changed," "God's Domain" crap. Totally over-done, and totally false.

Does look good, however. I was especially impressed with how intelligent the eyes looked in that final shot of the chimpanzee. Very well-done effects-work, and a very nice final shot. Even if you don't realize that it's the eyes, there's just something uneasy about that shot.

William said...

Ugh, man foolishly tampering in god's domain is such a tired and somewhat inaccurate Aesop these days. I much prefer the original Conquest's lesson: Keep even somewhat sentient creatures as slaves and mistreat them and they'll fuck your shit up.

Speaking of, I'm curious how they'll explain in what fashion the Apes are a threat in this film in comparison to the original.

In Conquest, it made sense as to how the apes were so widespread, because following a disease that wiped out all dogs and cats, apes were then turned into new pets. Then seeing the potential for servants their intelligence was boosted and they were all turned into slaves.

Thus when the hyper intelligent Caesar shows up to lead them, it actually is a problem because somewhat smart apes are everywhere at that point, and Caesar's initial revolt inspires them all to rebel.

This just appears to have a couple hundred of them in one city doing damage.

RAven_Glory said...

If it makes you feel any better I believe almost all sci-fi has had a consistent "be afraid" streak in it. I mean to the way back to H.G. Wells scientifically advanced aliens will kill you, science will create monsters, or science will get you trapped out in space. I mean the theme isn't alway "Science is bad" as such but technology is very rarely good for characters in sci-fi movies. Unlike real progress which is imo almost universally a good thing

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Come on, Guys. Every John Hammond needs an Ian Malcolm antagonist. Can't have tension without conflict

Chris Cesarano said...

Well, thinking back to my Paul review, I guess it really does go both ways. Either you're a gullible idiot willing to believe in anything or you're a mad man whose creation and disrespect for God will doom humanity.

Science Fiction being used to simulate the dangers of technology? Sweet deal. That's what brought about stuff like Godzilla. However, as Reverend Ironhide said, the Decepticreeps' days are numbered now and Ian Malcom was an excellent voice of reason. In fact, Ian Malcom was a scientist as well (just a very different sort from the rest). While everyone else was willing to ignore the faults for the wonder, he kept on saying "no, slow down, we're not sure this is a good idea for this reason and that reason".

The same could easily have been said here, but instead they went with the trite.

I clearly didn't see enough Planet of the Apes movies, though. I've been under the impression that they had evolved after mankind sent itself back to the stone age with nukes. Now William says it was different!

Ah well. I shall call that smart monkey Dr. Zeus. Maybe he'll make a human doll that talks.

William said...

Chris, just to be sure I watched the Conquest again. I guess I remembered it wrong slightly, because the film doesn't specifically say that the apes got smarter through any artificial means, just adaptation. (Though with Conquest, its a pretty easy fanwank that humanity did something physiologically to ape kind to make them better slaves)

Caesar's speech at the end of the film suggests that rebelling apes will simply wait for humanity to destroy itself through warfare, and then take over. Battle of the Planet of the Apes leaves things a bit ambiguous, having some apes and humans living in peace, but not specifically saying if the timeline from the first two films has been averted or not.

Phantos said...

I think it's weird to hear annoyance about movies saying that Science is treading into dangerous territory from a guy who loved "Splice".

djl851 said...

While the phrase is certainly cliche in movies, to dismiss the sentiment entirely (not the "God's Domain" business, but rather the "where do we draw the line" question) is to dismiss the entire field of bioethics.

I myself am studying to be a physicist so I do find the 'mad scientist' stereotype to be slightly annoying, but really, what do you expect? It's an action-based sci-fi, something's gotta get the 'talking ape' ball rolling; something or somebody's gotta fuck up somewhere. I'd rather the scientist doing this be imminently brilliant but misguided as opposed to just fucking up, although truth be told, that would be more 'realistic.' But then again, we are talking about planet of the apes, so I don't think that matters all that much.

An important thing to remember is that science is not inherently good. Nor is it inherently bad. Some discoveries save millions and billions of live. Some lead to mass devastation and destruction. Many have neutral or insignificant effects on the human condition. That's the nature of science, or rather, the nature of science as carried out by human actors. It's foolish to believe that all science and research everywhere benefits everyone or even anyone. The goal of much of science fiction, or at least the science fiction I've read, is not to come down on science as good or bad, but to remind us that every action we take, big or small, has unintended consequences and that it is of utmost importance to keep this in mind in every endeavor. And so, as someone said earlier in the thread, much of science fiction does portray the negative consequence as these are what we find most jarring.

But yeah, putting a line like that in the trailer, let alone the film itself, isn't bad because of the issue it's introducing. It's just shoddy writing.

6c898700-5c58-11e0-92aa-000bcdcb5194 said...


Your life must really suck if you view fucking everything through your liberal douchebaggery prism.

"I am going to get offended by this trailer! It's going to be obviously anti-science to appeal to those neanderthal teabaggers who worship their queen of the dunces Sarah Palin!"

You know what I thought when I saw the trailer?

"Looks cool."

I pity you.

RyePunk said...

Man, when's the Flash gonna show up and lay the beat down on Grodd?

Joe said...

Thanks for ranting Bob, so I don't have to. I'm really tired of the mad scientist in films, especially when these days its political leaders, jingoists, bankers, mega-corporations, religious zealots--everyone but scientists trying to screw the rest of us over.

While I can name several recent sf novels with positive takes on transhumanism or new technologies, I can't think of any recent sf films that do. That's probably why I haven't liked most "idea" sf films recently. (District 9 was a good "idea" movie, but hardly had a positive spin on technology.) Alien invasion movies don't say anything useful anymore. Has their been any recent sf movie with a positive take on science or technology?

Nick said...

This is why I will always love Doctor Who.

Despite the fact that it has some of the most egregious examples of "Hollywood Physics" (and it's not even a Hollywood show), Doctor Who is pretty much the only major science fiction show I can think of that is actually about humanism, the enlightenment and the triumph of the intellect.

You won't find "guns, guts and God" in Doctor Who. You'll find technobabble, you'll find a clear willingness of the writers to sacrifice plausibility for metaphor, but you won't find any tired moralizing about how "mad scientists need to realize that science is bad and we should all wallow in ignorance and obedience."

KevinCV said...

Took the words right outta my mouth, Nick. Thanks, buddy. :)

Mathew Benness said...

Plus ten internets to Nick there. Seriously, just once I would like to see a movie where someone says "Some things aren't meant to be changed", and ends with the scientist's actions having a profoundly positive effect on the world, you know, like the vast majority of what happens in real life

Peter said...

Overall meh because the sheer, unmitigated lameness of "god's domain" crap was canceled out by the awesomeness of seeing a gorilla get ready to go toe-to-toe with a helicopter.

Chris Cesarano said...


I think it's more realistic to believe it's actually pretty balanced out in ignorance. People just tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to things. As I said with Bob's review (though I typo'ed it as my review) of Paul, I had a knee jerk anger towards people looking at religion as a dumb thing.

Actually, here's an example. Stargate SG-1 had plenty of episodes with the stereotypically idiotic religious zealots that make the rest of us look bad, and it felt like the message was "RELIGION BAD! IT MAKE PEOPLE DO BAD STUFF!" But there are plenty of episodes where they are pro-faith! I just don't notice those because it's easier to be offended by something that portrays my personal beliefs in a bad way.

See also: that episode of Firefly where everyone assumes River is a witch (though Joss Whedon has expressed his views on religion in a traditionally douchebag fashion, so fuck him and fuck that episode).

My Dad, a conservative, assumes Hollywood is filled with liberals and liberal values. I think it's just that we notice that sort of stuff more. Of course, liberals also lack any sense of subtlety on average, so they tend to spell out their views as well.

I feel like the best film to tread the middle ground, even though MovieBob wasn't a fan, was The Book of Eli. On one hand you had Gary Oldman wanting to manipulate religion and faith to do bad, showing how it could be problematic. On the other hand you have Denzel Washington...well, EVENTUALLY he remembers that you're supposed to spread The Word to those who will listen, but it's not about forcing views or imposing them. It was like "Here is an example of a bad Christian, and here's an example of a good Christian".

Maybe what films like this need is a more realistic approach, where the one scientist is so intent on doing something because he has a personal stake in it (see: The Fountain and Hugh Jackman trying to save his wife) but investors are preparing to pull the plug because it has yet to yield results. Meanwhile you have the more rational scientist that wants to try and finish the project, but without resorting to such drastic and dangerous untested means.

But that's actually trying to form a rational plot instead of relying on cookie-cutter archetypes, and as we should all be able to attest to from people we know, the average American audience likes archetypes. It doesn't challenge their perceptions of the world.

In fact, this is probably going to be one of my sister's more anticipated films once she sees the trailers on TV.

Joe said...


I haven't been a religious person for a very long time (and possibly never), but I respect faith as a phenomenon enough to find the Book of Eli's mere premise laughable. I'm supposed to believe that after the collapse of civilization, people would reject religious faith wholesale? That's ridiculous. If anything, the exact opposite would happen.

My point is Hollywood sf is always sounding warning bells about the technology that's not here yet, and when it's finally adopted by society, they embrace it. Notice how drugs that cure cancer or Alzheimer's always work out badly in the movies, but no one's made a film about an evil version of Viagra?

Jason said...

Ehh, looks like the I, Robot movie but with primates.

Nick said...

@Joe: A "viagra variant goes wrong" movie would be awesome, but it would inevitably be rated NC-17 even if it was completely safe (because the mere mention of naughty bits gets the moral guardians up in arms), and you can't get an NC-17 movie financed, because theaters are too scared to show it and Wal-Mart won't stock the DVDs.

Avaj said...

I didn't watch those horrible other old planet of the apes movies to have them rewrite its history. The whole thing was a horrible time paradox.

RocMegamanX said...

@Just Gavin

You mentioned WWII, so what about the Atomic Bomb? THERE'S an example of science that shouldn't have been invented.

CraftyAndy said...

I'm sorry at the 44 second mark that's when I said fuck you movie. It'll take a lot for me to get over that. You know the only way we'll get a movie where the scientist is the hero is when it's Gordon Freeman blowing the head off of an alien using a shotgun.

Benfea said...

Who cares? Seriously. Why do so many people have fond memories of this wretched franchise? The originals were awful, and the remakes are going to be at least as awful. Get over it already.