On Sunday morning last, my wife and I took in the new movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. When it comes to animals, I’ve a marshmallow heart. Where does this come from, this pull on my heartstrings? I only know that even as a boy roaming the waterfront streets of Philly’s tough Kensington I wanted desperately to take in every stray dog I’d come across. All my life I’ve owned pets, whether dogs, cats, mice, chickens, sheep–even lizards. I know that in 1996 I made a decision and never looked back in foregoing a meat-based diet as an ethical commitment not to inflict suffering on another sentient being. Apart from a few, our world doesn’t get it, wrapped as it is in its own comfort zone.
When I saw the movie with its colossal battle royal between angry apes and human culprits atop the Golden Gate, I wondered if it were just possible this film might help some among its millions of viewers to finally get it, too. If not to change their diets–custom’s hard for most of us to break–at least to make them aware of the inevitable cruelty that comes with meat-raising, animal experiments, trapping, bow-hunting, circuses, even horse racing in which 10,000 thoroughbreds are trucked to Canada or Mexico slaughterhouses. The long cortege of animal victims slips below the horizon.
Kudos then to producer and director Rupert Wyatt and 20th Century Fox. Amazingly, they didn’t use a single primate for their blockbuster, eliminating, stress, cages, and perhaps the pain we saw low-life handlers in the film dishing out to their charges. Relying instead on the latest savvy in computer generated, digital FX imaging, they were able to create an in-your-face simulation. As Wylie put it: “Personally, I had moral problems with the idea of using chimps.”
In this movie, we get the animal take on things. More than a popcorn movie, we see our cousins endowed with intelligence and, above all, the capacity to feel.
By movie end it’s evident we’re being set up for a sequel. They’re just animals, after all. As lords of the creation, we’re going to have to kick-ass.
- Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes Director May Helm Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer (cynsworkshop.wordpress.com)
- Kodi Smit-McPhee Joins DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (collider.com)