“Evolution becomes revolution”

June 9, 2011 • 9:57 am

That’s the motto for the new prequel, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which opens August 11.  The terribly novel premise is that genetic engineering of chimpanzees turns them into a race of super-primates, hell-bent on destroying humanity.  You can see the trailer here.

Here’s a screenshot:

I’ll sure be seeing this one come August–NOT!

75 thoughts on ““Evolution becomes revolution”

    1. That reminds me of a story of an experiment where an ape was supposed to knock a banana loose from a high shelf using a long pole, but instead, he stood the stick on end, quickly climbed it, and grabbed the banana.

  1. This sounds like creationism to me. The humans ultimately ‘created’ these apes. This goes totally against the grain of the whole Planet of the Apes story, in which apes ‘replaced humans after they wiped themselves out (more or less). Very sad and daft. Even more sad, I will so go and see it….

  2. Its not evolution if you genetically engineer stuff. Genetic engineering becomes revolution just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    Planet of the Apes was a fun movie… and I think it works better when you don’t think about how unlikely it is that even super smart monkeys will defeat 6 billion people.

    1. Not exactly genetic engineering. From the trailer it seemed like they were treating a single chimp with a new drug, then the chimp got smart enough to give the drug to all the other apes in the facility.

      But your point is taken. This has nothing whatsoever to do with evolution.

    1. Kinda hard to tell the story if they don’t try and wipe us out. ^_^

      That’s actually one of the problems I have with the whole ‘machine intelligences rise up and start conquering humanity’ thing.

      The urge to conquer is a human thing.

      I think it’s an extreme act of projection that we tend to impose it on animals and machines in our works of fiction.

  3. The trailer I saw before X-Men First Class actually looked promising at first. It started out like it was going to focus on the mistreatment of an “uplifted” ape, and follow the ethics and consequences of it. I wasn’t too optimistic about Hollywood portraying it well, but it could have started some good conversations.

    …Then I saw the second half of the trailer, turned to my friend, and said “Goddammit, it’s just Planet of the Apes”, and that was before I saw the title.

    I just hope it doesn’t become mentioned in every single discussion of increasing non-human intelligence in the way that people feel obligated to bring up Skynet in every single discussion about AI.

    1. Seriously… someone needs to give these apes a hug.

      Skynet always bugged me too.. its like he downloaded his personality from that teenaged nihilist who was always drawing skulls on his homework. Program in some niceness people.

      1. “that teenaged nihilist who was always drawing skulls on his homework”… oh dear! I grew up to be an adult nihilist who collects skulls! (bird & animal!) 😉

  4. The trailer doesn’t mention genetic engineering. It shows them giving a brain repair drug to a chimp and then we are told it works but has the side effect of boosting its intelligence. I’m not sure how this fits into the idea of a race of intelligent chimps taking over. How would they pass on their intelligence?
    Lamarckian evolution?

    1. Yeah, it would have to be Lamarkian. Perhaps, though, the apes could treat all their offspring with the drug? We’ll have to inform the producers before they make any sequels. The originals, if I remember my childhood correctly, used selective breeding.

  5. Never understood why people get worked up over ‘space opera’ style sci-fi. It’s a fable; the oppressed rising up against the oppressors. The ‘science’ is just a plot device.

  6. The greatest dumbest lines from the trailer

    Will to investors: “Our therapy enables the brain to repair itself. We call it The Cure”

    colleague/love interest: “This is wrong Will.”
    Will: “It works.”

    PI: “They’re not people, you know.”

    And the winner.

    colleague/love interest: “You’re trying to control things that are not meant to be controlled.”

    Playing God. It’s what scientists do.

  7. “We’re testing it on one subject”
    I guess statisticians can frown upon this (almost) as much as zoologists

  8. In the (probably horrible) film’s defense, it looks like this version’s premise tries to explain where the smart apes came from in the original. Loved the original, but even as a grade school student I couldn’t understand how apes evolved in such a short time after we nuked humanity.

    Apparently in the reboot, the smart apes take off and hide out until humanity wipes itself out with engineered viruses and whatever else the director could afford to throw at us.

    Still, that “Frankenstein’s monster” moral is kinda tired.

  9. Well you all seem to hate it, and (if I dare say so) seem all rather po-faced about the crappy science. I expect to see similar comments about Back to the Future or Star Wars/Trek whatever… It’s *fiction*. Anyway, surely as a *cultural object* like Jersey Shore, the interesting thing is the attitude this film apparently takes, rather than the ludicrous scientific ‘premise’. In the case of the trailer, it’s whose side are you on in watching it? The humans or the (other) apes? Were you all cheering as the helicopter guy mowed them down? No, thought not. Isn’t that an interesting inversion from the original film which was primarily from Charlton Heston’s p.o.v., in which he had to learn the similarities between us and the (other) apes? And yes I know it’s a trashy film, but just like Jersey Shore, or any other cultural object, it can be explored and thought about in its context…

    1. I actually do like films where the scientist says “it’s all going to go horribly wrong but you won’t listen” – & then it does. If I recall rightly the original film seemed to have a sort of anti-vivisection stance but it is years since I saw it – does that sound right? At any rate it plays on the basic human fears of that which is like us but yet different.

    2. Star Wars is specifically *not* science– it’s mythology that just happens to be set in space. It starts with the words “Once upon a time…” Mythology, through and through;-)

      1. “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”

        So its a myth, but even the fairy tale opening is recast in science fiction language.

  10. Am I the only one who loves stupid summer sci-fi? Come on. ALL this stuff is nonsense. Green Arrow, Thor, X-Men, Super 8…Jurassic Park, Jaws, Star Trek…on and on and on. The dumber the better. Not that I don’t enjoy good documentaries and higher-quality sci-fi (Jerry was right about “Never Let Me Go,” for example), but I would never not see a movie merely because it’s stupid. For one thing, they got something absolutely correct from the trailer I saw: there’s hardly anything creepier than a devious look of intelligence on the face of a non-human ape. Not sure why that should be so chilling, but I think it is. Hell, I’d see the dumb movie just for that.

    1. Yes – I wrote a cooment bjust above before I read yours – it is the fear of the ‘near’ yet ‘far’ – machines are like us yet unlike us they are tireless, chimps & gorillas are like us yet different, stronger…

      1. And children, Dominic. I think evil children fall somewhere into that camp. Maybe because children look and behave like shaved bonobos sometimes.

          1. (Domimic–that made me almost get coffee in my nose…)

            @Greg– “Danny isn’t here, Mrs. Torrence.”, and the twin girls from the same movie… and Damien. Ok– stop now. In the house alone and giving myself the creeps.

    1. Bite your tongue, sir.

      The final Harry Potter movie is out on July 15th. I expect it to shatter box office records.

      1. Marta,

        That’s good. I haven’t seen the trailer for it yet. The trailers I’ve seen so far have been godawful.

  11. Am I the only one who is infinitely curious as to how other primates somehow “take over” the world when there’s 7 billion humans and perhaps a few million (and that may be generous) other primates in the world? Sadface.

    1. By the looks of it, by running into rush-hour traffic. You have to admit, we did NOT see that one coming.

    2. We haven’t even killed off all other species on the planet yet… and we’re already suffering from Survivor’s Guilt, which is I think what most “animals take over the world” movies are basically about.

  12. Get over it! You miss out on a lot of good science fiction stories if you insist upon scientific plausibility. When movie makers try to pass scientific muster, all you get are bad movies like Contact.

  13. This movie really didn’t need to be remade. Of course, many of the Planet of the Apes movies didn’t need to be made in the first place, but the remake of this episode of the “saga” (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes) was actually fairly good in my opinion. Stuff from the trailer that makes me roll my eyes:
    1) Painfully obvious CGI. CGI is fine when it’s not obvious, but the original has the advantage of using actual objects and thus looked real enough to allow one to suspend disbelief.
    2) Caesar seems to be solely a villain, rather than a sympathetic figure. The original was interesting precisely because Caesar was a good guy in his own right. In the trailer, he seems like Magneto from X-men 3. Ugh.
    3) Hubristic scientist and shady corporate leader collaborate to create something with horrible consequences. Yawn.
    4) As soon as I saw the hispanic woman I knew she was going to say something normative and something echoing religious sentiments. I was not surprised. Really, guys?
    5) “We call it: The Cure” What, really? You could at least come up with a line or a name that doesn’t sound like it was written by an executive, probably in exactly the same setting in which the line is uttered in the film.

    It’s even worse than just cannibalizing an already used premise, it’s cannibalizing an already used premise and piling cliches on top of each other in such a way that the parts of the original that were interesting seem to be lost. Personally I am all for the idea of remaking old films, shot for shot, with better technology and methods solely for the sake of creating a more polished version (like redoing the exterior shots of the Enterprise in the original series). I don’t see why we have to justify this crap by changing it for the sake of changing it.

    I swear, I’m not a Planet of the Apes nerd at all, this trailer just hit so many wrong notes I am merely developing sympathetic nerdosis rageeitis. I’m betting my complaint about Caesar won’t be borne out by the film, but who knows.

    On a side note, did anyone else notice the bit where someone said Caesar was outperforming humans on some task or another? The funny part about this is that in real life young chimpanzees actually do outperform human children on a variety of tasks (no Chimpocalypse yet).

  14. I guess the motivation for the apes to destroy mankind is to avoid future problems with chimp creationists.
    (“If we came from humans, then why are there still humans?”)

  15. I love all the comments. When I first saw it my thoughts drifted to, where the hell did all these apes come from? How many could this lab possibly hold? Did the first few raid all the zoos in 50 square miles? Did they get their ape chemists to keep the production going? I’ll probably see it (at the very least a pirate).

    1. Next we’ll find out that part of the ‘evolution’ of the chips caused by The Cure is the ability to reproduce by mitosis.


      It’s no less ridiculous than anything else shown in the trailer.


      But for all my snark, I’ll probably wind up seeing it anyway.

      I just wanna see some chips take down a helicopter and smash up traffic, dammit!

    1. I just couldn’t be more pumped. I’m think drive-in for this one (yes, they still exist in Minnesota where I live), and I expect it to be bad-good. I hope all y’ll enjoy your Merchant & Ivory summer block-not-busters while I’m muching the popcorn and get my angry chimp on.

  16. Charles Darwins theory is more than proven, firstly primatologists can explain why primates developed intelligently (it’s now hard to suggest life didn’t begin with primates)
    And psychologists have profiled how the human mind evolved, in relation to apes developing intelligently.
    When apes develop intelligently does it cause any psychological problems?.
    I’ll run through some comparisons between primitive believe and modern believes.
    Primitive man believed the world was flat, modern man knows it’s a sphere.
    Primitive man believed the world was the centre of the solar system, modern man knows the sun is the centre of the solar system.
    Primitive man believed life began with Adam and eve, modern man knows life began with apes.
    When apes evolve intelligently Doe’s it cause any psychological problems?.
    It obviously does.
    To be precise when apes evolve Intelligently it cause extensive psychological problems the comparisons between Primitive and modern believes highlight that.
    The scientific understanding of the psychological problems caused when apes evolve intelligently are as follows.
    When apes evolve Intelligently it cause an assimilated mind which is relevant to Freud, relating to the balance of the human mind.
    Get ready for a very spectacular revolution.

  17. It wasn’t about super-primates hell-bent on destroying humanity.

    It’s about super-primates revolting against the terrible treatment they’ve had at the hands of human beings.

    There’s no ‘OH THE FOLLY OF SCIENCE!’ moments either. You end up sympathising with the non-human apes, and cheer them on as they ‘evolve’ and cast off the shackles of their mental and physical bondage.

    It’s not an anti-evolutionist or anti-science film; it’s a freedom story.

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