War for the Planet of the Apes a great finale to the prequel series

A quick mini-review noting that as an apeophile (that is, a fan of the Planet of the Apes series) I am incredibly pleased with the newest and final film in the prequel trilogy. If you had told me in 2010 that this series would be among the best, most intelligent summer blockbusters of the decade I would have laughed at you, even being a fan. And yet, here we are: an incredibly powerful trilogy that is both entertaining and a great prequel to the original films.

Yes, these are well and truly prequels, especially because of the plot point in the new film (SPOILERS) that the simian flu has mutated to start taking away mankind’s voice and intellect.

Yet, when it comes to being prequels, there are some “holes”/continuity issues that require filling. Which is what I am about to do.

(WARNING: The following section is getting into some DEEP GEEKNESS around these films – so if you are not into that kind of thing, please walk away slowly…)

The only problem is that in Escape from the Planet of the Apes Cornelius and Zira talk about legacy mankind as intelligent… and in the original Planet of the Apes they had no such expectation/understanding… “Beware the beast man…”

Here’s Cornelius recounting the history of the planet in Escape…

Cornelius: Well, it began, uh, in our prehistory… with the plague that fell upon dogs. And cats.
Hundreds and thousands of them died… and hundreds and thousands of them had to be destroyed… in order to prevent the spread of infection.

Hasslein – There were dog bonfires.

Cornelius: Yes. And by the time the plague was contained… man was without pets. Oh. Of course, for man, this was intolerable. I mean, he might kill his brother… but he could not kill his dog.

So humans took primitive apes as pets. Primitive and dumb… but still 20 times more intelligent than dogs or cats.

Hasslein – Hmm. Correct.

Cornelius: See, they were quartered in cages… but they lived and moved freely in human homes. They became responsive to human speech… and, in the course of less than two centuries… they progressed from performing mere tricks… to performing services.

Hasslein – Nothing more or less than a well-trained sheepdog could do.

Cornelius: Look, could a sheepdog cook or clean the house… or do the marketing for the groceries with a list from its mistress… or wait on tables?

Or, after three more centuries, turn the tables on their owners?

Hasslein – How?

Cornelius: They – They became alert to the concept of slavery.

Hasslein – And as their numbers grew, to slavery’s antidote… which, of course, is unity.

Cornelius: Well, at first, they began assembling in small groups. They learned the art of corporate and militant action. They learned to refuse.

Oh, at first, they just, uh, grunted their refusal. But then, on an historic day which is commemorated by my species… and fully documented in the sacred scrolls there came Aldo.

He did not grunt.
He articulated.
He spoke a word which had been spoken to him… oh, time without number by humans.

He said… “No. “

So that’s how it all started.

This leads me to think that Cornelius, Zika and Dr. Milo are NOT from the first two movies, but from an alternate future Planet of the Apes future that they themselves created by going back in time. And what they remember (and what he recounts) is a based on what HAPPENS in the next two movies, that wouldn’t happen if they did not go back in time. The details are different because their history wasn’t written first hand, it was written third-or fourth hand (they got the “beats” right, just not the specific facts).

Basically, it’s a closed loop.

Which makes me believe that the new movies are direct prequels to the first two movies, and that’s it.

This also explains how they could have repaired Taylor’s ship to go back in time in the first place… because in the “alternate timeline” version of the first two movies they come from the apes are more technologically advanced than what we saw in the “originals” – and we can assume that Taylor’s ship did not sink, as well, so it was easier to repair… It also lets us ignore their reaction to the “paper airplane” scene in the first film.

(I told you it would be geeky.)

Anyway, see War for the Planet of the Apes. And remember: APES. TOGETHER. STRONG.

Joseph Dickerson is a user experience professional and UX Lead for Microsoft based out of Atlanta, GA. He has implemented processes in user testing, design and ethnographic research and provided design and consulting services for many different projects and organizations.

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