February 10, 2012

Occupy the Planet of the Apes


In early August, the author set sail from Pirate’s Paradise, Florida, in a 12-foot Heron Class sloop. He did not tell anyone of his intention to leave for an extended period, nor his destination. It is not clear if he even had one in mind.

While the author has refused to divulge his whereabouts for the last six months, his boat, the Lumpy Limpkin, was littered with eight dozen empty cases of the cheapest rum legally available for sale, according to the staff at Docks of Paradise, where he docks the Limpkin while he’s in Florida.

Upon his return two weeks ago, the author immediately contacted the higher-ups at the AMERICA-THRUST Network for his next assignment. In the interest of easing him back into a full work-load, we asked him to return to his post as the FILM-THRUST home video correspondent, allowing him time to recover from what we can only assume was a typical “Chavez bender.” It would also allow him to catch up on films he missed during his absence.

“You’re making me watch that monkey movie?!” I screamed into my land-line telephone at that scag Witmer, who’s getting to play his role as my boss for the time being simply because I decided to unwind with some old friends in an undisclosed location for a mere six months.

“They’re apes, Chavez,” he said back to me with no humor in his voice whatsoever.

As if I didn’t know that. What Witmer doesn’t realize is that it’s his fault I had to hide out in the first place. The last assignment he gave me for this raging corporate institution we pompously call the AMERICA-THRUST Network was to review the Euro-trashy, sentient-tire, mind-fuck movie Rubber, which tore through my brain for days after like Phish-lot mescaline tablets.

“First with the tire and now monkeys?!” I screamed again, then ripped the phone out of the wall and stormed to the closest bathroom and threw it into the toilet, which I flushed mostly for effect.

I’m not against monkey movies, per se. I rather liked a few of the first round of Planet of the Apes films. It’s hard to remember which ones those were, however; mostly they’ve become mashed into some sort of ape-memories casserole.

The Matt LeBlanc-type monkey movies are generally eye-gougingly wretched, as we all know. What I figured was that this new Apes was going to be some half-assed hybrid of the two, updated for today’s audiences. Which is to say, Fucking Dumb.

Visually, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is sort of a mash-up of these two types of Monkey Movie. The apes are fake looking, but fake as in they’re supposed to look like real apes, but not real enough to send us into an uncanny monkey-valley.

This gives the special effects a video game feel for much of the movie, but remember that in the Heston-era Apes films the costumes pretty much looked like those thin-plastic Halloween masks that are held on by the shittiest rubber band in America, so let’s not be too picky.

Surprisingly, James Franco is the worst part of this movie by a mile. He’s completely out of place in every single scene that he’s in. It’s almost like watching a typical Hollywood movie — Rise of the Planet of the Apes, let’s say — and all of a sudden and for no reason at all your brother is playing the lead.

Yeah, your brother who’s an assistant IT manager by trade, and a pipe-fitter by hobby. All of sudden he’s in a movie, and even he looks surprised by it the whole time. That’s about as seriously as we can take Franco as Dr. Whatsisname.

But whatever. The word Apes is in the title of this movie; it gets a few mulligans. We get to see monkeys go ape-shit, or maybe it’s vice versa. Either way, who doesn’t like watching people get totally housed by a pack of animals?

I know who: all those scum-bubbles on Wall Street riding to work in the back of limousines, or helicopters. The last thing they want is the rabble gathering, brandishing sticks, learning how to yell “no!”

If you get a few thinkers in the group, pretty soon you’ve got a hellstorm brewing. A hellstorm of damn, dirty apes.

Robinzon Chavez is the FILM-THRUST home video correspondent. That way he can put his cable and Netflix bills on his expense account.