Merry Planet of the Apes

The Planet of the ApesIt’s Christmas. And that means it’s time for my annual holiday tradition – a half-rack of Budweiser™, a giant bowl of popcorn given a glossy coat by two sticks of rich creamery butter, a clean pair of pants (why waste paper towels or napkins?), a box of tissues, and all five of the original Planet of the Apes movies. While everybody is opening presents that they’ll return/re-gift and/or put on eBay™, I’m goin’ ape for the entire day: 486 minutes (or “8.1 hours”) of human-hating entertainment.

In case you haven’t seen the Ape movies in chronological order, what the hell is wrong with you? I’ll cut you some slack if you’re still three years old or younger. Everyone else – NO EXCUSE.

But as this is the season of giving, I present a primer to the super awesome The Planet of the Apes (or El Planeta de Los Simios for you Spanish readers), one of the greatest film franchises ever in the history of the world. It’s the only TRUE way to celebrate Christmas.

The Planet of the ApesPLANET OF THE APES (1968)
Made in 1968, some astronauts zooming around space somehow end up in the future where Earth is ruled by MONKEYS THAT TALK! Humans are hunted by gorillas as trophies and to protect their eco-system (humans have a tendency to stink up the place). Best. Plot. Ever.

The Planet of the ApesBENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970)
So they send another astronaut into outer space to look for Taylor and the other three space guys that didn’t come back with their expensive spaceship. Luckily, Brent, the rescue-naut, crash-lands near Ape City. Before the apes can add him to their trophy case, underground mutants mind-capture him. I say mind-captured because in the future some humans can talk and yell at you with their thoughts. Wish I could do that. Great action, great apeage, great depiction of New York as a war-scarred wasteland, cool mutant faces, lots of apes, and a nuclear bomb. How – besides a sequel – could you want anything more?

The Planet of the ApesESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES (1971)
You mean to tell me that talking apes from the future pulled Taylor’s spaceship from the bottom of the Forbidden Zone lake, figured out how to fix it, put on space suits and piloted the craft into outer space right before the Earth was blown up by the Divine Bomb worshipped by mutants living underground, and went through a time warp, which back-plopped them into the year 1973 where they were considered a threat to the Earth’s future and scheduled to be neutered, but instead were hunted down and murdered? Works for me!

The Planet of the ApesCONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (1972)
In 1983, a disease wiped out every cat and dog on the planet. I’m surprised that one got by you. In 1991 the United States evolved into a nationalist/socialist culture, using fascist techniques and repression to keep everyone in line. See what happens when you vote Republican? Apes are domesticated as pets, then taught to clean house, do the laundry, shop for groceries (they always know where to find sale-priced bananas), and be our butlers and maids. Because we’re Americans, we treat ’em like second-class shit. But baby Milo, the surviving ape son of Cornelius and Zira, is now an adult who cleverly chooses the name Caesar, and rises secretly through the ranks to become the leader of a revolt that has the apes turning on their human slave masters. He teaches the monkey butlers how to use machine guns, flame-throwers, and overloaded litter boxes as weapons of liberation.

The Planet of the Apes

After getting served in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the humans, with radioactive sores on their units, rally for some payback. It’s now the 21st Century, 10 years after the apes dehumanized the world. And what humans are left are kept in corrals and made to do minimum-wage stuff for their ape masters. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Head ape Caesar, tired of all the non-getting-alonging, decides it might be time for peaceful coexisting with their hairless pets. Damn hippie.

El Planeta de Los Simios. Monkeys that talk. That’s pretty freakin’ cool.

The Planet of the Apes

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