The third movie in the original Planet of the Apes trilogy is Escape From the Planet of the Apes. They blew up the world, so how do you follow that fer crying out loud!?!?! SPOILER: Go back in time. The apes fixed the broken space ship they found in the lake… ahem, somehow… we are told. And this, despite showing any evidence that they were in any way any sort of civilized society or had the ability to do this. BELIEVE!
How does Escape connect to the theory that we are living in the same world as the Planet of the Apes? Escape is a pretty standard fish-out-of-water story where the APES this time around get stranded in OUR world. I run into a good number of polite, well-intending neanderthals during the course of my day. Do you? These are the people who feel like they don’t quite belong; that who and what they are isn’t “normal.” I personally don’t think that there is a such thing as normal these days, but I think the way many people are raised and many people’s experiences in the world leave a lot of people feeling unsatisfied with their standing in the world. I see an awful lot of people trying to find a way to fit in while they are standing out. We, the entire world, have turned into our own fish-out-of water.
The story of Escape is that once the apes display their intelligence, it is ridiculously revealed that at some point apes, not man will rule the world. We live in a world where apes HAVE displayed a pretty fair amount of intelligence – not the power of speak mind you – and yet no one seems to be particularly scared. And this civilization has the benefit of the Planet of the Apes movies as reminders that everything could suddenly go awry, information I assume is absent in the world of the movies (but really, who know?)
The first half of Escape is a comedy; the second half a tragedy. Weird, bizarre combination! When I watch the movie Escape I see it through the lens of fear just about every time I watched it. That is the same kind of civilized world we live in now. A world of fear, or at least an America of fear. Watch ten minutes of television and it will tell you the latest thing to be afraid of or that you should feel under-confident about. To me, the world of Escape is a direct reflection of our world, a straight-up comparison.
Are we headed for a future where we will be taken over? I could envision that, seeing the many displays of ineptitude I see all around me. Could we blot ourselves out of existence completely? I would love to tell myself that we are not capable of it, but I can’t be convincing enough to myself that it is true. Can we prevent bad stuff from happening, or is it destiny? Escape is a case of showing us how we are doomed to not only repeat our failures, but how they lead us to destruction.
SO LET’S PARTY!
NEXT TIME: Oh, by the way, did you notice we are evolving into the planet of the apes. Great. This is part four. Coming soon!