PDA

View Full Version : Planet of apes-question


clairobscur
09-01-2001, 04:52 PM
I just saw "planet of the apes", which was released here only last week. When I noticed that the theater was 4/5 empty (only 7 days after the release), I understood it will be a big dissapointment. And indeed, it was (structure of the story destroyed by artificial actions scenes, drama destroyed by comical scenes, characters without any depth, inconsistencies of the plot, character's actions making no sense, happy end [I don't consider the comical scene added at the very end],etc,etc,etc...). In other words, this movie totally sucks and when compared with the first one, it's a shame. I believe some film directors should have a look on the work of their predecessors.


Well, anyway, this have been covered in older threads (but I had to release a little steam). However, after seeing this movie, and remembering the previous one,I wondered about the content of the original novel. Could someone who read it explain me (very rougly) what was the plot of the book?

Schadenfreude
09-01-2001, 05:30 PM
The novel by Pierre Boulle is a typical science fiction novel of the time period (mid 60's) in which a brave explorer finds himself on an earthlike planet populated BY APES WHO ACT LIKE MEN!

The humans of this planet are non-sentient, communicating only in grunts and screams, much like apes do on earth. He is quickly collected and studied by the man-like apes. The rest of the novel is his progression from lab subject to a full understanding of the nature of the society.

I enjoyed the book, although not significantly more than other 60's adventure sci-fi. The book-end story of the people who find his narrative is nice, but predictable, at least from a modern perspective. It was out of print for quite some time, but is now available again, due in no small part to the new film, which I hear has little to do with the book (not that it will prevent me from seing it, as it IS Tim Burton).

clairobscur
09-01-2001, 06:19 PM
Thanks for your response. So, the story seems to be closer to the first movie scenario.

And how does the book end?

Schadenfreude
09-01-2001, 06:54 PM
Well, I'd recommend reading it. It's a fun read. But if you don't have the time or inclination, I'm happy to oblige.


*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
Spoiler Space (just in case)
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

The main character (Charleton Heston in the original film) eventually gains the trust of his keeper and proves to ape society that he is intelligent. This allow him access to the apes' growing archaeology findings which show that there may have been a civilization preceding them.

The apes end up mastering some sort of racial memory regression, and discover that the humans used to rule the planet, but have become debased.

I am totally blanking now on whether the planet turns out to be Earth or not. I've got to find my copy again and check it out.

Tuckerfan
09-01-2001, 07:27 PM
I cheated and didn't read the book, only the last couple of pages. The narrator and his wife manage to get on to a spaceship and fly back to Earth. The narrator talks about how happy he is to be going home, etc. When he lands, he's surprised to see that things haven't progressed very much since he's been gone for 700 years. An old truck drives up and the driver gets out and the narrator discovers that the driver is an ape!

Here the book ends with two apes having finished reading the narrator's diary and thinking that it was a wonderful work of fiction and that there was just no way a human could talk.

clairobscur
09-01-2001, 08:12 PM
Thank you. So, indeed, the first movie is much closer to the "spirit" of the book....

Michael Ellis
09-01-2001, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by clairobscur
Thank you. So, indeed, the first movie is much closer to the "spirit" of the book....

Although the very end of the 2001 version is closer to the ending of the book described here (i.e. The guy gets back to Earth and, well, you know...)

betenoir
09-01-2001, 09:05 PM
Wait a minute. I thought I just read somewhere that the novel had a framing device where the whole narrative was discovered in a capsule floating in space- like a message in a bottle. And at the end you find out the characters reading the story are apes themselves.

?????

I also read Pierre Boulle considered his book to be a philosophical novel.

Lemur866
09-01-2001, 10:02 PM
The big different between the book and the sixties movie is that PotA wasn't earth in the book. In the book, the humans began to suffer from ennui and boredom and just sort of degenerated. Apes took over, and treated the humans like we treat apes. The book-hero lands on PotA, is captured and sent to a biology lab, but eventually makes friends with the biologists. But he is a threat to the society of the PotA, so he leaves to return to earth. He lands on earth and discovers that the same thing has happened to earth...humans have degenerated and apes rule earth. But earth and the PotA were separate but parallel planets.

And yes, the framing device is that some astronauts find the manuscript and read it. At the end they decide that it is nonsense, since humans can't write.

clairobscur
09-02-2001, 02:08 AM
Well, so the book is somewhat less tragic than the 60's movie...


(perhaps I should think about reading the book by myself, actually...)

nightshadea
09-02-2001, 03:06 AM
But isnt the last original apes movie a prequel the first one ?

Supposedly according to one of the movie there was a disease that killed off all the cats and dogs and they began using apes as pets

somewhere over time the apes learned how to talk and the humans began began using them as servants and workers and that evolved into slavery

The apes revolted and a war broke out and eventually the situations became what you see in the first film

The message i got out of it was the apes in their quest was along the lines of be "careful you dont turn into the tryanny your fighting against "

Also whats amusing is the one where the apes go back in time to human earth tell them what happens It all ends up being wiped out my a nuke attack and yet nothing changes in the end

nightshadea
09-02-2001, 03:10 AM
Originally posted by nightshadea
The message i got out of it was the apes in their quest was along the lines of be "careful you dont turn into the tryanny your fighting against " [/B]

heh this should read : The apes in their quest for freedom turned out to be just like the humans

The moral I got out of it was was along the lines of be "careful you dont turn into the tryanny your fighting against "

Monkey Chews
09-02-2001, 10:41 AM
Spoilers for all of the orginal Planet of the Apes movies down below...
.
D
A
M
N
.
Y
O
U
.
D
A
M
N
.
Y
O
U
.
A
L
L
.
T
O
.
H
E
L
L
.
Originally posted by nightshadea
But isnt the last original apes movie a prequel the first one ?
...
Also whats amusing is the one where the apes go back in time to human earth tell them what happens It all ends up being wiped out my a nuke attack and yet nothing changes in the end
The last Apes movie is a sort of a prequel to the first movie, but things do change...

In Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Cornelius and Zira, having just escaped the destruction of the Earth in a war between the Apes and the surviving humans, arrive in 1973. Cornelius tells us that cats and dogs will be wiped out and be replaced by apes as pets, and eventually as personal servants. In about five hundred years time, the apes will revolt and gain mastery of the planet. The authorities try to kill them and their newborn baby, to prevent these intelligent apes or their descendants from helping to bring about this future. Although Cornelius and Zira are killed, their child, Ceasar, is kept safe and hidden.

In Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the future that Cornelius predicted has come true - apes have replaced cats and dogs and are treated like slaves. It's 1991, and the now grown-up Ceasar leads a rebellion of apes - about 480 years or so before he's supposed to - against the humans. I guess they were right to fear what the intelligent apes from the future and their progeny would do.

But not so fast - in the final movie, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, set after a nuclear war has destroyed most of the earth, Ceasar is leading a band of apes (who have learned to talk - not a bad trick in 12 years) and humans trying to live together in peace. They may be living together but the apes are really running the show, and the humans are in servitude to them. It looks like the future seen in the original Planet of the Apes is going to come true. That is, until Ceasar has a run-in with a militant gorilla named Aldo who sees apes as the master race and wants the humans killed. Aldo basically represents the types of militant apes we saw in the first movie eventually ruling the planet. Ceasar realises that both apes and humans are as bad as each other, kills Aldo, and frees the humans. Jump to hundreds of years in the future, (somewhere in time between the last Apes movie and the first) and we see the fabled "Lawgiver", who we heard about in the first movie, giving a lesson to his class about the great ape king Ceasar. As the camera pulls back to reveal his class, we see not just apes as we expect, but humans and apes, laughing and playing and learning together, as equals. (It's about the only damn Ape movie with a happy ending.)

So the final Apes movie actually changes the timeline, and implies that the future we see in the first movie won't come to pass. The fact that Zira and Cornelius travelled to the past and gave birth to Ceasar, who became leader of the apes, changed the future for the better.

Erm, well... that's my take on it. That's right, innit?

Beefcliff
09-02-2001, 12:10 PM
I own the box set of all the Planet of the Apes films, and It was always my theory that they planned to make a 6th movie, set in between "Battle" and "Planet" where Humans and Apes go at it again in yet another nuclear war, where apes once again take control, setting up the series for "Planet of the Apes". The only reason I say this is, the whole point of the third and fourth movie was to show that History (or is that, the future?) cannot be escaped. There is a quote in "escape" about destiny being a highway system, where we can change lanes in life, but the destination will always be the same.

As for Tim Burtons trashing, Yes, the original was 10 times better. However, Tim Roth (General Thade) gave an outstanding performance, plus he had to pull it off in an ape suit. Bravo.

TheeGrumpy
09-02-2001, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by Nicko
...As the camera pulls back to reveal his class, we see not just apes as we expect, but humans and apes, laughing and playing and learning together, as equals. (It's about the only damn Ape movie with a happy ending.)
So the final Apes movie actually changes the timeline, and implies that the future we see in the first movie won't come to pass.

I don't think any such implication is warranted, basically because the continuity from one sequel to the other is so sloppy. I think they just threw the backstory out the window when it became convenient for Caesar to lead the revolt. (Though it is still the fabled Aldo who says "No.")

As for the ending of Battle, look again. The humans & apes aren't laughing & playing together. They are fighting with each other. This is why Caesar's statue sheds a tear. It implies that, for all his idealism, the ultimate revolution is yet to come.

Monkey Chews
09-03-2001, 05:04 AM
Originally posted by Beefcliff
I own the box set of all the Planet of the Apes films, and It was always my theory that they planned to make a 6th movie, set in between "Battle" and "Planet" where Humans and Apes go at it again in yet another nuclear war, where apes once again take control, setting up the series for "Planet of the Apes". The only reason I say this is, the whole point of the third and fourth movie was to show that History (or is that, the future?) cannot be escaped. There is a quote in "escape" about destiny being a highway system, where we can change lanes in life, but the destination will always
They talk about TIME, not destiny, being like a highway system, and that the destination can be changed. It's an important theme in Battle as well, and Ceasar and Virgil discuss a number if times. Ceasar learns the fate of the earth from the recordings of his parents in the ruined city, and wants to change it.

I have heard that Battle was always intended to be the last, and wrap the story up, but I've got nothing to back that up.

In it's first draft, Battle ended with Aldo killing Ceasar and a faction of militant gorillas and orangutans taking control, paving the way for the future we see in Planet. The studio and Arthur P. Jacobs hated it, and wanted an upbeat ending.

Originally posted by TheeGrumpy
I don't think any such implication is warranted, basically because the continuity from one sequel to the other is so sloppy. I think they just threw the backstory out the window when it became convenient for Caesar to lead the revolt. (Though it is still the fabled Aldo who says "No.")
Isn't it Lisa who first says "No" - to Ceasar, who is threatening the humans? (Nice twist there.)

Agreed that the continuity is for crap. For a start, how do Cornelius and Zira know all the future history? The entire first movie is based around the fact that nobody knows how the apes came to be in charge, except maybe Dr Zaius. (I like to think that Cornelius found out the truth from his archaelogical dig, just before he got in the spaceship that had been magically dragged up from the bottom of an unmarked sea and fixed to working order by an ape civilisation that had never figured out how to fold a paper aeroplane.)

Yeah, the continuity is great - to poop on.

Originally posted by TheeGrumpy
As for the ending of Battle, look again. The humans & apes aren't laughing & playing together. They are fighting with each other. This is why Caesar's statue sheds a tear. It implies that, for all his idealism, the ultimate revolution is yet to come. [/B]
The humans and apes are playfully fighting - like you might do with your brother or sister. They're sitting together, all learning from the Lawgiver. The first two movies make it clear that the Lawgiver hated humans as much as Dr Zaius did. "Beware the beast Man, hunt him, drive him out, kill him" and all that. This time around, the Lawgiver is all about the humans. They're equals.

I always thought Ceasar was shedding a tear because of his own broken idealism - he broke the sacred rule that "Ape shall not kill Ape", bringing the apes down to the level of humans. And it took the death of his own son to do it. But look at the outcome!

Am I the only one who saw it this way? Please god, no!

TheeGrumpy
09-03-2001, 01:24 PM
That's a plausible interpretation, Nicko. I was probably projecting onto Battle a similar scene in Terminator 2. Two boys are playing with toy guns, prompting the Terminator's observation that it is "in your nature to destroy yourselves." I imagine that Caesar's statue is making the same observation.

And you are correct, it was Lisa who said "no" in Conquest. I was rather metaphorically referring to the saying of "no" by Aldo in Battle. Now, it was nice of them to remember the Aldo backstory from Escape in time for the final movie. But it would have been tidier to use it in Conquest, where it would have mattered. (And would have helped fix an apparent discontinuity, since Cornelius leaves the impression that an ape named Aldo is the instigator of the revolt -- not knowing that it would be his own son, several generations too early.)