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Planet of the Apes: An Enduring Cinematic Legacy! 🎥🍿🎬

Updated: May 11

☝🏻It always starts unexpectedly … remembering my mom yelling with excitement from my parents’ small bedroom in la casita 🏡 de Tlálpan: “Ricky tu Planeta de los Simios”. Little smiling Tica, with twinkling eyes, suddenly jumps off the cool living room floor - leaving his ‘EXCIN’ (LEGO-like) blocks on the carpet - and runs to his parents’ bed, jumping on it and laying down with his little hands holding his head-up. He stares at that little TV set with eyes-wide opened with the biggest smile, watching his beloved ‘Planeta de los Simios’ movie alongside his parents with intense focus & fascination! 🦍

… Fast-forward years later, as I watch the latest incarnation of the ‘Planet of the Apes’ movie in a Jax beachside cinema and enjoying every single minute of it, I start thinking about adding that optional trek to go see the mountain gorillas in Uganda & Rwanda, after my already-booked tour to go up Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania! Watching the latest Ape movie 🦍 definitely impacted my decision to go see the mountain Gorillas in Central Africa! 🌋

And it was the 🌴 Best decision ever! 🦍

Seeing the mountain gorillas 🦍 in person was an experience l I’ll never forget: the smells, the heat, the bugs … and the excitement of my first glance of these big jet-black fuzzy stinky giants - contrasting with the bright lemon-green of the ‘ impenetrable Forest of Africa - was absolutely magical muchachos! 🪄

It’s a little bit funny 🎧 (á la Elton John)

… how a movie that I watched many times growing-up as a child could plant a little seed of curiosity that later blossomed into the thrill of traveling to see my beloved ‘Simios’ in person: my majestic mountain Gorillas & bold Chimpanzees in Africa, my silly lemurs in Madagascar with their antics, and my elegant Orangutans in Borneo swinging-up amongst the sky and yawning lethargicly on the ground!🦍🐒🦧

So cheers 🥂 to the love of primates … nature, wildlife & traveling 🫶🏻

What a wonderful life!

Ape-Mania! 🙈

📑 From Page to Screen: The Origin Story 🎬

The odyssey of Planet of the Apes began in 1963 with French author Pierre Boulle's novel, La Planète des singes. The book is a satirical look at human society, using a role-reversal between humans and apes to critique human behavior and hubris in the context of evolution. The narrative centers on a journalist named Ulysse who, along with two companions, travels to a distant star system, discovering a planet similar to Earth, yet ruled by apes.

This intriguing premise caught the attention of Hollywood, and by 1968, it was adapted into the first Planet of the Apes film, starring Charlton Heston. The movie was a commercial success, praised for its innovative makeup techniques that allowed actors to portray convincing apes, a breakthrough in cinematic technology at the time. More importantly, the film’s shocking ending, revealing a devastated Statue of Liberty, has become one of the most iconic images in film history.

Sequels and Expansion: Building the Ape Empire:

The success of the original film quickly spawned a series of sequels, each expanding and exploring the apocalyptic world where apes ruled and humans were mere primitives. Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) each contributed to a growing mythos, exploring themes of rebellion, freedom, and the cycle of history.

The sequels varied in quality and tone but maintained a core audience fascinated by the apocalyptic and dystopian themes. They explored the social and political structures of the ape society, which mirrored many aspects of human civilization, thereby underscoring the series' satirical roots.

A New Era: Reboots and Reimaginings!

After a period of dormancy, the apes resurfaced in Tim Burton’s 2001 reimagining, Planet of the Apes. This version offered a new visual aesthetic and a fresh take on the ape society, though it met with mixed reviews from fans and critics alike for its deviation from the original’s thematic elements and its controversial ending.

☝🏻The real revival of the franchise, however, began with Rise of the Planet of the Apes in 2011. This film rebooted the series with a contemporary perspective, focusing on the origin of the ape uprising led by Caesar, an intelligent ape who had been altered by a new drug meant to cure Alzheimer’s. The success of Rise led to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) and War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), both of which deepened the narrative, exploring the conflict between apes and humans with a depth and emotional resonance that garnered critical acclaim and solidified the series' place in modern cinema.

Technological Triumphs 💻 and the Art of Storytelling ✍🏻

One of the most notable aspects of the newer films is the sophisticated use of motion capture technology to create realistic, emotionally complex ape characters. Andy Serkis, portraying Caesar, received widespread praise for his performance that, through the magic of technology, brought a non-human character to vivid life. This blend of technology and performance has redefined what is possible in storytelling, allowing audiences to empathize with and understand the apes as dynamic characters with their own desires, fears, and struggles.

☝🏻 Fan Culture and Legacy! 🦍

The Planet of the Apes series has not only entertained but also created a vibrant, dedicated fanbase that thrives on discussion, debate, and speculation. Conventions, fan art, and fan fiction proliferate, demonstrating the series’ impact on its audience and its ability to engage with broad existential themes through the lens of science fiction.

Muchachos 🐒, the Planet of the Apes series continues to be relevant as it resonates with contemporary issues such as animal rights, bioethics, and the consequences of technological advancements. Each film serves as a mirror reflecting humanity’s virtues and vices, making the Planet of the Apes saga a perennial favorite in the discussion of ethical and philosophical dilemmas! 🎬

🎬 ’Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ 🌴latest Planet of the Apes movie, coming out in theaters tomorrow May 10th muchachos:


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