As my colleague and co-snowman-enterer g put it in one of his earlier posts: some things necessitate an explanation. One of his examples was the ending from Tim Burton’s 2001 film Planet Of The Apes. Talk about opening up a can of worms…
As a long time Burtonite, I have stood by the filmmaker even through his least glorious moments so when Planet Of The Apes came out I had my work cut out. Incidentally, I have actually already attempted to explain THAT ending years ago after watching it on the Super HD VHS tape of the film I bought at the time. I remember drawing a timeline, I remember multiple circles and arrows, I remember numbers, confusion, I remember tears. But now I finally have hair in strange places, I think it’s time I gave it another go.
This is gonna hurt isn’t it…
Anyway, in retrospect, I think my original analysis failed because it was based on an inherent comparison with the original Charlton Heston film when in fact the “linear” core of that film is completely rewritten here, hence the term “re-imagining” coined by Burton himself back in the day. So this is a whole new monster…and so am I. So lets burst through that snowman together and hope things aren’t too sticky in there.
The film begins in the year 2029 (even in space?) with Mark Wahlberg training a chimp called Ira (or Ari or Pericles…make your mind up Wikipedia!) to land a mini space pod. Unfortunately his boss decides to send Ira on a mission straight away (right after the poor chimp failed the training miserably) in order to probe some kind of electro-magnetic storm headed their way. Obviously that fails, Ira is lost and a pissed off Wahlberg hops on a second pod in order to rescue his beloved furry co-worker…so far: nothing wrong here.
So Ira’s pod gets lost into the storm as it is propelled into the corridors of time…somewhere. Marky’s pod is also zapped through time but in 3002 (so says Wiki but I don’t remember there being a definite date when he gets to the planet itself), he then crash lands on the titular planet and the film really begins.
Tim Roth plays some kind of evil warmongering ape who is meant to be the descendant of like the first chimp or whatever…Chimp Jesus basically. During Charlton Heston’s cameo scene, Roth’s father tells him to open some kind of vase which contains something really old and precious: it turns out to be a hand gun (well, laser gun). Ahaaaah, the plot thickens…
I remember watching it the first time and thinking “OMFG, so Roth is old Ira!” but no: THAT would be ridiculous.
When that happens though, we immediately assume that, ok, it’s 3002 so, like the original film, this is way later and the gun being there makes sense. BIG mistake! Never compare both films!
Way later, the gang finds Kalima, an Area 51-style mythical piece of land no-one dares go to. There they find Wahlberg’s entire space shuttle from the first scene of the film: apparently they went looking for him and ended up on the planet themselves. So, ok, the ship got lost in time and landed eons ago, which could mean that Tim Roth’s gun was taken from that specific ship, which could also mean that the “first chimp” was in fact one of the chimps locked up in the cages on that ship, which could also mean that…
So then Ira actually shows up right on time, intact in its little pod in one of the biggest coincidences in the history of fiiiiiiiiilm!!! Jeez, It’s just like Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionnaire getting all the most convenient questions in one go…except with apes and a different story and setting altogether….and in the future.
Every ape obviously assumes Ira is Chimp Jesus and Wahlberg takes his pod, gives Helena Bonham Carter a smooch (much to Whatsername’s displeasure) and flies off back to Earth…somehow.
And we all know what happens next: he gets back to present day Earth and nothing is wrong there until Marky Mark finds that Abraham Lincoln’s face has been ape-ified…and everyone else for that matter.
Alright, so what’s the big question here? (besides “Ape Lincoln??? Seriously???”)
WTF springs to mind.
There are a few ways this could work:
1/ Lets say Wahlberg didn’t land in 3002 and in fact landed in Medieval times a long time after Chimp Jesus got out of his cage, man auto-destroyed itself and the apes evolved super quick finally taking over the whole planet. The apes’ global society would then continue to evolve like the humans’ and end up much like our current world…but with apes.
2/ Lets assume Wahlberg did land in 3002: this would mean that at some point in the future…nope, that’s meaningless.
Ok so 1 is the ONLY way this could work. I will go back to the film and check this 3002 thing but yeah, essentially the idea is that the space shuttle landed ages ago and intelligent apes got out, evolved super fast (but not fast enough that they became humans?) took over our world and everything that happened after that mirrored our own history…but with apes.
If that’s what they were going for, it kinda makes some sense if you squint really hard and squeeze your balls with your thighs until they kind of merge into one, single super-ball. But it’s stupid. So stupid in fact that entering the snowman doesn’t even begin to describe its idiocy. This is entering the snowman and coming out the other side covered in inexplicable soot with an extra toe. No matter how you look at it: Ape Lincoln is…a joke. It’s like something you’d see in a cartoon, a hilarious 80’s cartoon like Duckula or Sherlock Hound…A CARTOON!!!
lOl Thanks blog, I needed that.
Well, I tried my best. Sorry g, perhaps one day you’ll get a proper explanation to soothe that ape-sized rash in your mind.
If you guys have any other theories or explanations though…please help.