August 10, 2011

The "Planet Of The Apes" Chronology

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" opened last weekend in North America and went straight to the top spot earning $54mil at the box office.

For those too young to remember, this is actually a prequesl to the 1968 movie "Planet of the Apes", which was subsequently followed by a few more sequels.

Ape (2011)
Ape (1968)

*** Spoilers ahead ***

Planet of the Apes (1968)
A group of astronauts crash into a planet in the distant future. The group, led by Taylor, discovers that in this planet apes are the superior beings, and humans are the lowest of living things. Taylor manages to escape his captors and eventually finds himself in an area known as the Forbidden Zone, where he made a shocking discovery...the planet was actually Earth the whole time, and that the Forbidden Zone was once New York City.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
A second space crew is sent on a reconnaissance mission to track down Taylor. Astronaut Brent crash lands on the Planet of the Apes, just like Taylor did in the original film. Underneath the Forbidden Zone, Brent discovers a group of telepaths who worship a nuclear bomb. As the apes close in to conquer the zone, Taylor detonates the bomb and Earth blows up.

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
Before Earth was blown up in the second movie, the apes Cornelius, Zira and Dr. Milo manage to escape via Taylor's spaceship. They travel back in time and arrive on Earth in the year 1973. After a series of interrogations, Zira and Cornelius accidentally reveal the eventual demise of the human race. The President orders Zira and Cornelius to be sterilized and Caesar, their baby, to be killed. Before dying in a shoot-out, the two ape parents switch babies with another ape, ensuring the baby's survival. The baby is named Milo, but is later to be called Caesar  in the next movie.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
It is the year 1983. Dogs and cats have been wiped out by a plague and now apes are household pets that are treated like slaves. After the death of his foster father, Caesar loses all faith in mankind and begins secretly gathering other apes to rally against human oppression.

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
After conquering the oppressive humans in the previous installment, Caesar must now keep the peace among the humans and apes. Gorilla General Aldo views things differently, and tries to cause an ape civil war. In the meantime, other human survivors learn of the ape city, and decide they want to take back civilization for themselves, thus setting the stage of warring ape factions and humans.

Planet of the Apes (2001)
A poor remake of the original movie directed by Tim Burton.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
This is supposed to be an origins story that offers an explanation of how the apes developed their superior intelligence in the first place. The film's star is the chimp Caesar, whose advanced brainpower is the result of the testing of Alzheimer's drugs. Once Caesar grasps the gravity of his intellect — and the human cruelty that has alienated him — he revolts, but not before taking a few chimps with him.

The interesting thing about this movie is how it made some subtle references leading to the original movie. For example:

  1. The TV reports on the news about the launching of the spaceship Icarus "lead by George Taylor", referencing the space mission in the original movie.
  2. The newspaper headlines which states that the spaceship got lost in space.
  3. When Caesar first shouted “No!” in the movie, it ties back ito "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" when it was explained that the ascent and revolt by the apes began when one ape first uttered the word “No” to protest the human treatment of his kind.    
  4. A logical explanation about how the virus got started and spread...and this eventually cause the destruction of mankind.
  5. At the end of the movie, the pilot which carries the pilot boarded a flight to New York....which was where the original movie started.

*** Updates ***

If the opening weekend is any indication, a sequel to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is inevitable. Director Rupert Wyatt shared some of the ideas he has about continuing the story:
"There’s so much we could do… The ideas I’ve had are all sorts of things, ranging from Full Metal Jacket with apes… you could start this story again eight years from where we left off, the next generation of apes, those that have come from our protagonists, perhaps going in to a conflict with humans and showing real fear, in the same way as going into war for young soldiers in this day and age, telling their story. Or how apes are taking over cities, and being moved into human environments and having to interact with them and deal with things that are part of our culture and understand and evolve through them. Spies that are in the employ of the apes, working against humans and humans maybe existing underground, because that’s a way they can avoid the virus, coming up above ground wearing gas masks, and maybe that’s what dehumanises them.”