Dead Caterpillar

The universe is a vast cosmic conspiracy ...

Darn you all to heck!

Sunday, Aug 7th, 2011

I watched Planet of the Apes (the 2001 Mark Wahlberg one) today on FX, in between packing and moving stuff into my new house. I find the whole Planet of the Apes saga difficult to take seriously, simply because apes have such funny connotation. When I think of apes, I think of tree swinging, of ew-ew ah-ah sounds, butt scratching and bananas. Just stuff I can’t take seriously. So no matter how much an ape looks and acts human, there is always that underlying funny connotation there.. and that’s going to directly undermine their good or evil, heroic or villainous, dramatic portrayals in Planet of the Apes.

Anyway, I noticed the voice of Charleston Heston in Thade’s father this time around.

Thade's father (left), played by Charleston Heston and Thade (right), played by Tim Roth.

In the above scene, Ape-Heston is on his death bed consoling Thade (the evil chimp villain on the right) to exterminate the humans or something like that. His last words are “Damn them … damn them all to Hell!”

Love it! Golden!

Anyone who is familiar with the original 1968 Planet of the Apes knows that Charleston Heston (playing as a man, not an ape) utters that very same line during the famous beach scene, just after he finds the Statue of Liberty in ruins and discovers that the humans destroyed themselves. I used to re-enact the scene as a kid, on the beach during family vacations, much to my mother’s amusement.

Ahhhhhh!! I love it so much! Heston says it so emphatically, with so much umph. And with his hands in the sand like that … the waves! A truly magic movie moment. I’m pretty sure I re-enacted that scene every time my family went to the beach.

There is a delicious parody of the scene in the animated adventure comedy Madagascar. I watched Madagascar for the first time a few summers ago at a camp I was working at in Maryland. It was movie night and the room was full of kids. None of them understood the reference.

Of course the lion (Ben Stiller) omits “God” and uses the euphemisms darn and heck in place of damn and hell. I guess that’s to be expected in a kid’s movie, but it really only adds to the humor.

I’m not too anxious to see the new Rise of the Planet of the Apes movie. I feel the overly-exhausted end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it theme has lost its novelty (with 2012, Battle: LA, I am Legend, Daybreakers, Priest, The Book of Eli, The Road, etc) and, besides, as stated, apes don’t do much for me in any sort of dramatic context. I’ll probably see it when it comes out in the dollar theater.

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