My Brief Review of DAWN OF PLANET OF THE APES; many, many spoilers:
99% of the population of San Francisco can no longer afford to live in the city due to the spiralling costs of living and debunk to live in the John Muir Woods across the Bay without electriity and mod cons.
The remaining affluent 1% realise that all their accumulated capital without a labour force is useless and try to convince the tree-dwelling hippies to go back to being bellboys and waitresses so that the affluent can restore their pre-viral lifestyles. This works at first and the long haired, unkempt hippies first actually help the 1 percenters to clear debris from a dam so that they can restore power and a new age consumer lifestyle to San Francisco. But the detente between pointless capital and directionless labour is short lived and soon the managers and the employees are at each other’s throats over overtime and medical coverage.
Eventually Caesar Chavez comes back from the dead to stand up to the bosses and lead his hippie busboy revolution against the purveyers of parking zone restrictions. Although, the one percenters leave, it’s not before they’ve contacted the residents of Marin County who are on their way following complex freeway off ramp instructions and are in desperate need of both mobile masseuses and pool cleaners.
War is inevitable.
This was my inital impression of the Hollywood blockbuster lore; for it is indeed since my inital writing, now a blockbuster. And thus with Blockbuster comes prophecy and divination! Now we shall catch a brief breath of zeitgeist blowing our way. Here, as Hamlet entertained Claudius, we may also catch a glimpse of collective facial expression as we see humans dressed up in vector graphics and moving like primates. Primates pretending to be primates…but there’s the rub! The politics of APE DAWN are actually about species and identity, in spite of my tongue-in-cheek parody of a film review above. Caesar’s colony of intelligent apes embraces species (chimp, gorilla, orangutang), as different from each other as each is different to Man. And that’s the point, it’s the hairless ones that create division, exclusion, privilege. I’m genuinely surprised in the film when the humans spend a few days with the apes at their colony that more of the humans don’t cross over; I mean they’re all primates after all; no one more diverse than any other. Who wouldn’t choose Ceasar’s subsistence-led, self-reliant, ecologically sound lifestyle over the posse of 76 Gas Station vending machine human raiders?
Ceasar doesn’t like human primates, but he was raised by one and is open to the concept that there are a few good hairless primates. It is us, the hairless ones who cannot understand what our own fucking mirror is telling us, in our face, to our face: we are apes. we are primitives. our brains haven’t developed significantly at all since Neanderthal times. This move is about identification: of the Self, of the community one finds oneself connected to and how we see our sense of self identified through the mirrors of the familiar that we find in the world. What we identify our selves with. In identifying we gain comprehension and empathy. In APE DAWN, the hairy primates behave no differently than the hairless ones. Each is ultimately thwarted by avarice, fear and greed. But the difference is that one can’t deny the fictional rule of the world the film depicts, that the humans would have gained acceptance and homogeny within the primate collective, long before the hairy primates would be incorporated into a hairless primate colony.
And here we find where limiting identification, closing off borders, building walls, providing security, promoting tribalism, exclusion, cliques and classes and that grand moustached, blood drenched daddy of them all: Nationalism, all inhibit our ability to connect with the world as it is, not as it is prescribed.