As the original Planet of the Apes franchise has moved from modern film into classic spectacle, Hollywood decides to reboot the series for a new generation of film goers. Thirty-two years since the Charlton Heston original classic, a reboot goes into production and is released in 2001 to great excitement. Tim Burton, the director of such genre favorites as Sleepy Hollow and Ed Wood, helms an ambitious remake starring Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, and the beautiful Estella Warren in a film that sadly disappoints both the younger audience and those who are fans of the original series. Though spectacular visually, the story arc would resonate with neither film critic nor filmgoer.
Yet today, August 11, 2011, ten years after the first reboot Hollywood yet again brings to audiences a new version of the franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Unlike the Tim Burton film, this new reboot focuses on an alternate timeline from the original following more the storyline of the fourth film of the original franchise Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (which starred Roddy McDowell and Ricardo Montalban). With new advances in science, apes are genetically altered in the attempts to cure Alzheimer’s disease with an unusual side effect, intelligence development within the chimpanzee. Starring James Franco, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis, and the beautiful Freida Pinto, fans of the original once more hope for a film that will not only blow them away visually but will have a story that will echo within today’s world.
Dark Discussions finishes up their trilogy The Planet of the Apes retrospective. Philip and Mike discuss genetic engineering, both its potentials and dangers, and try to answer the question of what amount of intelligence within a creature would establish the beast to be considered more than just an animal. Such novels as Michael Crichton’s Next, Robin Cook’s Chromosome 6, H. G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau, and Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH are brought into the topic. George A. Romero’s film Monkey Shines, Will Smith’s I Am Legend, and the new documentary Project Nim are discussed. Even the cartoon show Family Guy has some value to add to the dialogue with its talking dog Brian. No matter what one thinks, Rise of the Planet of the Apes may be just the starting point on subjects as diverse as stem cell research, cloning, and genetic engineering. Horror films may be nothing more than fiction yet science is so much more. Science is reality.