Film Junk Podcast Episode #330: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

0:00 – Intro
10:20 – Headlines: New Photos from Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Rises, Alexandre Aja to direct Pet Sematary Remake?, Brett Ratner to Produce the Oscars, Steven Soderbergh is Second Unit Director on The Hunger Games, Die Hard 5 Director Shortlist
31:45 – Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
1:02:10 – Trailer Trash: Tower Heist, The Darkest Hour, The Sitter
1:18:35 – Other Stuff We Watched: Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Beetlejuice, Hellboy, Jaws, Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment, Heavy TO, Razorback, 24/7: Penguins/Capitals, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Frank’s 3D TV, Attack the Block, Congo
2:06:15 – Junk Mail: Movie Club Podcast, Joss Whedon, Flea Markets and Douchebag Neighbours, How Jay Handles Criticism, Frank’s Aversion to Jumpy Movies
2:21:20 – This Week’s DVD Releases
2:24:15 – Outro
2:28:00 – Spoiler Discussion: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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  • What about The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris?

  • kyri


    My favorite episode from the TVseries of the planet of the apes was the one that chimps thought that the blood of a human girl was polluted because they tried once to transfer her blood to a chimp and the chimp died.. because they didn’t know about the different types of blood (A,AB,B,O) and then the twist, oh my god.. the revelation of the rhesus factor simply blew my mind away..

    I was 10.

  • kyri

    I once read that APES and Monkeys in general are unable to speak, or say words, not because they are not smart enough but because they are not physiologically capable to do it. That is why I thought that the first film basically implied that the Apes EVOLVED after human race was self-destroyed by a Nuclear War..
    /how do you think the first film intended to tell us how it all happened? Was it a drug-virus that evolved the apes or is it just natural selection?.
    Funny thing is the fact that Heston went later to present a weird documentary called “forbidden archeology” that was trying to prove that the theory of Evolution is wrong.
    Funny stuff.
    Also the name “Heston” in Greek literally means “Shit on that Guy” so in the posters of his films they used to change it to “Iston”..

  • Falsk

    On the way to a job interview today I got to the “shpark while the griddle’s hot” part of the show. There’s nothing like a little Reed nonsense to get rid of some pre-interview jitters. Most excellent! :D


    I thought maybe the fact that Cesar was born from an ape who had been given the serum meant it might be more naturally embedded in his DNA and maybe had a more advanced physical effect, on top of advancing his intelligence. Clearly his facial features become more human-like throughout the course of the film and you can see a difference in his body when he stands. This, for me, is good enough to explain the talking.

  • @Sean: I don’t have that book. I have a bunch of other books on evolution that I haven’t read, yet. I’ve never even finished reading The Origin of Species. It’s so boring.

    @kyri: That episode sounds clever. I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say about the TV series on the podcast. I saw several of the episodes when they first aired in the 70s, but none of the plots stuck in my memory. The series fit the “chase genre” that The Fugitive popularized.
    Concerning apes talking, I think you’re right about apes not being physiologically capable. I mentioned this on the podcast, but I’ve read that it’s the position of the voice box that accounts for our ability to speak with clarity and duration, and that our upright stature is crucial to the positioning. Swarez mentioned in an earlier comment that apes don’t have vocal cords, but I think they must have some type of vocal cords in order to make shrieking noises.
    Concerning how apes became intelligent in the first film, there was no explanation. I don’t see how man destroying himself in a nuclear war would allow apes to evolve and humans to lose their intelligence or ability to speak. The third film supposedly explains how apes became so intelligent, but I think you have to really suspend your disbelief.

    @Falsk: Hope your job interview went well.

  • Oh, if it wasn’t clear from the podcast, I actually agree with Jay on Caesar’s ability to utter a few words. I have no problem with that.

    I have no problem with a virus somehow affecting “intelligence.” (Actually, I’m a bit confused now about how rapidly the virus affects intelligence. I assumed Caesar’s release of the gas in the sanctuary was to increase the intelligence of his army of escapees, but it makes more sense that he did this so that he could create more intelligent apes by mating with the apes exposed to the gas. Then again, maybe Caesar isn’t that smart. :-)) But it doesn’t make sense how a virus could make physical changes, especially physical changes to make apes more human-like. So in this respect, I disagree with Jay. I would think Caesar might become more “human-like” because he was brought up by humans. Like when he wanted to sit in the passenger seat rather than ride in the back of the vehicle.

  • kyri

    This is a very reasonable explanation indeed Jay, but I doubt that the creators thought about it, and the same with the violent-intelligence scenario, sure intelligence can lead to violence it’s a VERY good theory but you need to put a small line in the film to justify this. The creators on the other hand put a line: “oh, she was pregnant that is why she was aggressive” And if you analyze the meaning of this small line and WHY it was in the film you can understand why this film is not a good film. The creators were DESPERATELY trying to avoid the “hot potatoes” and they were DESPERATELY trying to idealize the monkeys and not present them as evil. To the point that it destroys the film. Monkeys and apes are wild animals, and especially smart apes who will take the rights from the humans. This film just ignores that. Like the people who have them as pets- I don’t like those people- I don’t like this film.

    This film in order to work it needed to split the monkeys into 2 groups at the end. The “evil” monkeys who kill humans (in a graphic way preferably) and the “good monkeys” the pacifist apes that try to stop the others.
    Instead we had one solid idealized “revolution” filled with small silly “explanations” everywhere to justify the slightest “bad” behavior of those monkeys. Even at the very end. when we have the weird ape killing the “villain” they made that character a caricature that cursed and was ridiculously “evil”. Tell me one reason why the character who dies, couldn’t be Franco? why you need to create an “evil” version of what that character symbolizes?

    When the black guy in Terminator 2 dies, he dies, basically because he committed hubris. He was a good family man, a likable character but he commits hubris without knowing it and destroys humanity. If he was an evil caricature T2 wouldn’t be the same movie.

    James Franco did basically the same thing but he gets away with it with a silly plot vehicle.

  • kyri

    What is the catharsis in Rise.O.P.O.T.Apes? : The weird looking chimp that we (evil humans) misjudge from his appearance takes permission from Cesar and kills the villain, not by actually killing him or something but by.. not saving him from falling off the cliff.

    What is the catharsis in Transformers?

    See any similarities?

    I know I am stretching it a bit here. But my point is simple, like Reed said, Rise of the planet of the apes is not a very deep film, it’s basically a mindless blockbuster with a little more soul than Transformers 3. But even a dry turd has more soul than Michael Bay. So I don’t know how much that matters.

    @ Reed

    I would love to give a rewatch on the series to see how it plays today. (I assume the worst) It appears that the episode I was referring is called “The Surgeon”. Do you have it? (no I don’t want you to give it to me I am just curious)

  • CrowKiller06

    I have to nerd-out and tell you the name of the Ape with the scars on his face and the white eye is: “Koba.”
    “Buck” is the gorilla.
    “Caesar” you all know.
    “Rocket” is the alpha of the primate sanctuary, until Caesar ousts him.
    “Maurice” is the circus Orangutan.

  • @kyri

    I agree that it’s not a very deep film, but I also wouldn’t write off RotPotA as “mindless” or “destroyed” simply because it’s not high drama; the character of Caesar is compelling and sympathetic enough to make the “escape from the ape-torium” part of the story work very well.

    Likewise, at least for me, there’s a camp element to the film in its situations and characters, from the neighbor to the overly slimy villain (who embodies the three “B’s” of evil: British, Businessman, and Black) right down to Brian Cox’s sleazy-’70s-porn-producer, getup that’s both entertaining and cleverly self-aware.

    Despite that, I don’t understand your RotPotA/Transformers comparison–are you saying that the idea of killing through inaction is inherently bad? If so, I strongly disagree and would argue that it’s not the idea itself that’s bad, rather it’s the way in which it’s presented. We can agree that the way in which it’s presented in RotPotA is not particularly resonant, but Transformers has no bearing on that.

    And I’d add that the scene where Caesar shuts his cage, effectively turns his back on Franco, is pretty cathartic.

  • kyri

    I am saying the exact opposite Nat mate, it’s not inherently bad, it’s retarded. Yes, the “villain” dies because the script-book demands it But he dies with the MOST sterilized way possible in order not to have the monkeys portrayed as villains even to the eyes of the most innocent soul in the movie theater. This is called idealism. The film builds an idealistic black/white world just like transformers and Michael bay does in his movies. Autobots are inherently good and idealized just like the monkeys are in this film. And decepticons are grey-evil caricatures just like the British-black scientist and the harry potter boy. The big Ape that dies at the end basically takes the place of the retarded bumblebee, the closeups into the eyes of the monkeys reminded me the retarded closeups in the eyes of dying Autobots and so on.
    A more sophisticated movie, lets say The Dark Knight, blurs the lines between good and evil. Sure Batman is supposed to be the “good protagonist” but nolan presents him pretty much as a rich sociopath. A basket case that wears a mask and tries to solve his personal issues by fighting crime. Criss nolan’s batman one might say is George Bush. Nolan examines the ethical dilemma of how far can a hero go by pushing it “in the name of freedom” before he becomes the villain. Sure, not many people get the allegories or the symbolism in the movie, but the fact is that they are there for those who have the capacity to see them. And they are “polite” they are not aggressive or allover the place like Michael bay uses his patriotic “symbolisms” or this movie with the “animal rights” stuff. The same with Inception or Children of men. Those movies deal with so many themes yet they can still play as simple action movies. This is what great movies do, they can work in many levels.
    Rise of the planet of the Apes is a dumped down idealization of monkeys. What confused you into believing that is something more than that is the burden that the original movie and concept brings to the table. The scene that you mention as catharsis, with Ceasar closing the Door to Franco (that is indeed a very effective scene) is exactly in there because some issues just had to be addressed otherwise we wouldn’t have a planet of the apes film. Everything else that could be ignored or changed into a more idealized and softer version they were changed or ignored. For example, humanity is being wiped at the VERY VERY VERY end ONLY because the concept of the original film demands it. Yet they did EVERYTHING that it was humanly possible to present it in the most sterile and soft way possible. Sure the good scientist dies but he was Fat, without a life, a sweaty nobody with no friends or family.

    You see what I am talking about?

    And this is why I appreciate and respect Criss Nolan and a few other directors so much. He manage to create TRAGEDIES-DRAMAS of massive proportions, things that FUCK you mentally and challenge the moneymaking movie-establishment.
    He serves knowledge, ideas and ideals to the masses. And he gets away with it!

    What does planet of the Apes gave us? Yet another insidiously misanthropistic, sterilized, dumped down approach on a very heavy concept. It’s the Era that we live in. It’s fucked. \And when the real world is fucked the Arts become idealizations because people feel the need to see something that will take them to a happy place I guess.

  • Kyri twists his argument too.

    Caesar’s mother was violent because she was PROTECTING HER OFFSPRING not because she was pregnant. She had given birth right before the presentation.

    Talking about good apes vs bad apes and the splitting of camps. I have said before, I think this is the direction the series is going to go and there is evidence of it in this film. It also makes sense because the original films having “thinking apes” and “violent apes”. There is no need to put this “splitting of camps” in this film. Its hinted at, its coming with two very “fleshed out” apes, both very smart due to receiving treatment in the lab.

    Rise of the Planet of The Apes II
    Caesar vs Koba
    “Its on like Donkey Kong!”

  • And get off the Nolan horse, Batman Begins is the worst offender of everything you talk about. One long string of meaningless, unrealistic platitudes.

  • @Kyri

    I think Rus may be right in that you’re twisting a few things–for one, you’re overlooking the characters of Franco and Caesar, who have some moral depth (not tremendously deep, but they’re certainly not black and white) and the more bloodthirsty apes that Caesar reprimands for wanting to outright kill the humans–if the apes were as angelic as you say, there wouldn’t have been any need for that scene. Nor the scene where the other apes in the ape-torium try to beat the living crap out of Caesar. Nor the creepy-eyed-chimp. Nor…

    And though you concede that there are some good humans–Franco, his wife, his father, and the fat scientist–and acknowledge the effectiveness of the cage-closing scene, I don’t think it’s fair to simply dismiss them by saying “Well, they had to make it that way.” No, they didn’t–but even if one accepts that they did, the scene wouldn’t have worked if the filmmakers hadn’t given the characters enough weight to pull it off.

    Or suppose that they are trying to “soften” or “idealize” as much as they can–so what? There’s still a lot of scenes that aren’t “soft” or “idealized,” and they, regardless of whether they “had” to be in there or not, work very well.

    You make some interesting points, but it seems to me that you’re criticizing the film on a purely hypothetical basis. Again, it’s not a great film, but it’s a much better film than you’re giving it credit for.

  • kyri

    @Rus you are probably “right” about Batman Begins but you ignore the fact that at that time Nolan was playing by the rules of their game. He was a NOBODY and behaved, one might say, like a Trojan Horse in order to penetrate the movie industry, sure the first film is not 100% what Prestige, Inception, memento and Dark Knight are but it is a much more “risky” film than PG13.of the planet of the Apes is.

    I am sure hoping that they will use the same director and let him free to take the franchise where his vision leads him to, I do acknowledge and see the struggle that he put against the studio in order for the film to have those certain qualities that it has. But nevertheless I am judging it “harder” than Thor for example because the Concept of this film had a lot more potentials and philosophical implications that simply were not explored.
    Sure is not as horrible as I thought it was going to be but it is still pretty much middle of the road.

  • CrowKiller06

    @ Everyone…..
    I’m not trying to pick a fight, or choose sides here, but, I wonder…
    Are we over-analyzing some of the newer films that come out now ? When you look at a Michael Bay film, you either enjoy it for the ridiculousness, or for some reason you enjoy his “style.” But, when you get a film like RotPotA, can’t we appreciate that it’s working on a level more sophisticated than most of the other movies that Hollywood dumps on us ?! Everyone’s taste will be different than everyone else, but, I feel like this was a better accomplished film than most of the mainstream films we get !
    Just my opinion.

    PS. I forgot to mention that I think we can leave this franchise alone after this movie. No need for another PotA film.

  • /\/\/\/\/\first, no its a movie website, a place to talk about movies, if people that enjoy movies don’t think and discuss them they will eventually turn into something no one cares about…like poetry

    I for one am on board with PotAs, I want more with the same feel of this one. the next can be like 28 Days later were we switch between human and ape camps watching they deal with the new reality!

  • Joe Verra

    gentlemen I throughly enjoyed the review of Planet of the Apes. I too was very surpised by this film since I did’nt expect much from it. Being that Reed is supposedly the Planet of the Apes guru I’m surprised that he didn’t relize that the news reports in the film of the rocket launch is indeed Taylor’s spacraft ‘ICARUS’ that relands on earth in 3978 A.D. I for one had an “Oh Shit” moment when I saw this and thought that it was a brilliant tie in to the original classic. as for Tim Burton’s version of POTA as Jay would say “I was shit!”

  • Loren

    “REED” was hilarious! Most of his comments caused laughter amongst the group and it was very entertaining to listen too. The banter was great! Anytime “Reed” does a guest appearance is fine with me!

  • @kyri: I assume The Surgeon is in my DVD complete series set.

    @Joe: I didn’t know Taylor’s spacecraft was named Icarus. I thought Taylor’s mission had to do with studying Dr. Hasslein’s theories on time and the speed of light, so I didn’t connect the Mars mission to Taylor’s spacecraft.

    @Loren: Thx for the ego boost. In person, I’m not funny.

  • @kyri: I watched the episode “The Surgeon.” It was okay. I watched another episode that had Jackie Earle Haley as a child in a major guest starring role. It’s fun recognizing actors underneath the ape make-up.

  • John Branch

    @Reed: Marc Singer (V,Beast Master) is in the Apes TV Series As a human.

  • @John: Yeah, I happened to watch that episode. The DVD producers should have listed the guest star credits on the packaging for us cult actor followers.

  • Okay, just got around to watching Rise and went back for the spoiler discussion, which was great. I basically agree with the guys’ assessments – I wouldn’t give it a 4 but no less than 3. The main problem was that the movie was way too short – and if that’s your main criticism of a movie, than it must do something right.


    I might be stating the obvious, but I also went back and re-watched the original, and what became apparent was that Rise isn’t really a prequel. I mean, when you put Charlton Heston on TV as a nod/homage it pretty much says it right there. The film is basically what the new Star Trek is for the Star Trek Franchise (maybe that’s why Reed didn’t like it).
    First of all, whether you know the twist ending of the original or not, Rise completely undermines it – it takes place on Earth! If you watched this, and then watched the original for the first time, you would already assume it takes place on Earth, and Taylor’s babbling about “crashing on another planet” will seem superfluous.
    On top of that, in the original, mankind finds its demise through nuclear war, not a viral plague (the “nuclear holocaust” of modern age, apparently).
    So plot-wise, Rise doesn’t really tie in with the original. I found it confusing that the movie had an obvious reference to the spaceship from the 1968 film without actually tying to the 1968 film in anything but basic concept.

    There’s an interview with the screenwriters I thought I would share here, it has some interesting tidbits, including the fact that the genesis of the project came form the screenwriters themselves, and not from the studio’s intention of reviving the franchise, which is pretty unusual.