Thursday, February 19, 2009


What is this?

I love movies. Entertainment. But there are lessons somewhere within the two hour show.

Planet of the Apes

The main events of the book are placed in a frame story, in which Jinn and Phyllis, a couple out on a pleasure cruise in a spaceship, find a message in a bottle floating in space. The message inside the bottle is the testimony of a man, Ulysse Mérou, who has written down his story in the hope that someone else, somewhere, will find it. Ulysse begins by explaining that he was a friend of Professor Antelle, a genius scientist on Earth, who invented a spaceship that could travel at nearly the speed of light. Ulysse, the professor, and a physicist named Levain fly off in this ship to explore outer space. They travel to the nearest star system that the professor theorized might be capable of life, the red sun Betelgeuse, which would take them about 350 years to reach. Due to time dilation, however, the trip only seems two years long to the travelers.

They arrive at the distant solar system and find that it contains an Earth-like planet, which they name Soror ( latin for sister), "because of its resemblance to our Earth." They land on the planet and discover that they can breathe the air, drink the water, and eat the local vegetation. They soon encounter other human beings on the planet, although these others act as primitively as chimpanzees and destroy the clothing of the three astronauts. They are captured by the primitive humans and stay with them for a few hours. At the end of this time, they are startled to see a hunting party in the forest, consisting of gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees using guns and machines. The apes wear human clothing identical to that of 20th-century Earth, with the exception that they wear gloves instead of shoes on their prehensile feet. The hunting party shoots several of the humans for sport, including Levain, and capture others, including Ulysse.

Ulysse is taken off to the apes' city, which looks exactly the same as a human city from 20th-century Earth, with the exception that some smaller furniture exists for the use of the chimpanzees. While most of the humans captured by the hunting party are sold for manual labor, the protagonist is sent to a research facility. There, the apes perform experiments on the humans similar to Pavlov's conditioning experiments on dogs, and Ulysse proves his intelligence by failing to be conditioned, and by speaking and drawing geometrical figures. Ulysse is adopted by one of the researchers, Zira, a female chimpanzee, who begins to teach him the apes' language. He learns from her all about the ape planet. Eventually, he is freed from his cage, and meets Zira's fiancé, Cornélius, a respected young scientist. With Cornélius' help, he makes a speech in front of the ape President and numerous representatives, and is given specially tailored clothing. He tours the city and learns about the apes' civilization and history. The apes have a very ancient society, but their origins are lost in time. Their technology and culture have progressed slowly through the centuries because each generation, for the most part, with what is recognized as characteristically ape-like behaviour, imitates those of the past. The society is divided between the violent gorillas, the pedantic and conservative orangutans, and the intellectual chimpanzees.

Although Ulysse's chimpanzee patrons Zira and Cornélius are convinced of his sentience, the society's leading orangutan scientists believe that he is faking his understanding of language, because their philosophy will not allow the possibility of sentient human beings. Ulysse falls in love with a primitive human female, Nova, whom he had met in the forest at the beginning of his visit to the planet. He impregnates her and thus proves that he is the same species as the primitive humans, which lowers his standing in the eyes of many of the apes. However, their derision turns to fear with a discovery in a distant archaeological dig and an analysis of memory in some human brains. Evidence is uncovered that fills in the missing history of the apes. In the distant past, the planet was ruled by human beings who built a technological society and enslaved apes to perform their manual labor. Over time the humans became more and more dependent upon the apes, until eventually they became so lazy and degenerate that they were overthrown by their ape servants and fell into the primitive state in which our protagonist found them.

While some of the apes reject this evidence, others - in particular, an old orangutan scientist, Dr. Zaius - take it as a sign that the humans are a threat and must be exterminated. Ulysse learns of this, and escapes from the planet with his wife and new-born son, returning to Earth in the professor's spaceship. Again, the trip takes several centuries, but only a relative time of a few years to the protagonist. Ulysse lands on Earth, over 700 years after he had originally left it, and lands outside the city of Paris. However, once outside the ship, he discovers that Earth is now ruled by sentient apes just like the planet from which he has fled (this is where his story on paper ends). He immediately leaves Earth in his ship, writes his story, places it in a bottle, and launches it into space for someone to find. It is at this point in the story that we discover that Jinn and Phyllis, the couple who found the bottle, are chimpanzees. Jinn and Phyllis dismiss Ulysse's story, saying that a human would not have the intelligence.

I am trying to imagine watching this movie while on vacation in Banding Perak, a spectacular resort. It is all about a group challenging another group, a species trying to outclass another species for power and greed. Of course there will be fire and arson. And humanity is burning to ashes. Lets go to Banding to save whats left of Humanity.