15:24 18 January 2018
It is the story of humanity, of compliance, and of evolution. It is a story that makes us question who we are as a species. If we are not careful, if we truly take for granted what we have, we could find our situations reversed with those same creatures we keep in zoos now. For those true fans, however, the reboot alone is not enough. That is why you should take a look at these other creations in The Planet of the Apes franchise:
Like most great films, there is a book behind it. The Planet of the Apes franchise was originally a series by French author Pierre Boulle, who wrote La Planète des Singes. He wrote the novel after he was inspired by the human expressions he saw in our animal cousin, the ape. It is a social satire whose main message was that human atrophy could be our doom, if we took our intelligence for granted.
This comment was in relation to our over-reliance on technology. On how we have given up our drive and allowed machines to do the hard work. It has never been truer today, even though the original novel was written nearly fifty years ago in 1963. AI technologies are becoming smarter, automation is taking over an increasing amount of jobs. We have personal assistants in our phones, and we have all the information in the world at our fingertips. As much as we have expanded, and as far as our technology has advanced, are we better for it? What are we losing out by handing over so much of the hard labor and effort to machines?
In La Planète des Singes, this overreliance on technology causes the apes to take advantage of humankind’s sloth and overthrow them. In the reboot, it is still our advances in technology that cause the uprising. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, however, it is genetic advancements that cause Caesar to evolve, and eventually start the uprising against his captors. Though it is fiction, the social commentary is very real.
Though we might never see the day that our animal kingdom cousins join us in heightened consciousness, there are many sci-fi plotlines that could become a reality. From designer babies to cameras implanted into our retinas. The next stage of our evolution is surely coming, and we as a species will change forever as a result.
Needless to say, the novel was a hit, and translated into English under both Monkey Planet and Planet of the Apes. After the initial success of the franchise, many novelizations were created for the original movies, as well as a few prequel novels and tie-in novels were also written, though none with the social impact that La Planète des Singes brought.
It should be common knowledge that the Planet of the Apes is a successful reboot, but if you don’t know then you should check out the original films immediately! They are the ones that captured the imaginations of a generation, and posed the question of our relation to our genetic cousins, the apes. The original movie series spanned from 1968 to 1973, with five movies in total. The budget for these movies was far less than what the reboots cost, with the most expensive of them only reaching an estimated $10 million.
After the movies, the series moved to television format. They were made to capitalize on the success of the films, but were initially planned for in 1971. The television series was held off until 1973, when Arthur P. Jacobs died. You might not have realized that there was a television series, since after they aired Fox edited these episodes into five for-television movies. This brought the total “movies” from the pre-reboot era to be ten movies in total.
A few years after the failed live-action series NBC decided to then adapt the franchise for an animated series as well. This series didn’t make the success that the producers had hoped, and the second series was never created, thus leaving the plot of the animated series unfinished.
Though Planet of the Apes never seemed to succeed as a television serialization, the comics have found modest success and have been going since 1968. The most famous rendition of these comic books is when Marvel had control and published Planet of the Pes from 1974 – 1977. The comic book series has been picked up by other publishers to similar success.
Such successful and long-running franchise included a few games for fan interaction, too. First attempts were made as early as 1983, but these prototypes for computer games never saw release. A few computer games that made it to release got mostly negative reviews and did not do much justice to the franchise until a themed mobile game and a video game were created and were considered a success. Since then, a range of toys and slot games like Planet of the Apes also came to life as a part of cultural heritage from this world-famous movie phenomenon.
The Planet of the Apes is a longstanding franchise with lots of source material, and, as fantastical as it is, it also raises important social dilemmas. For any true fan, there are options galore to jump into that universe again and again.
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