'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes' is a Regurgitated Flop (According to My Dad)

'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes' is a Regurgitated Flop (According to My Dad)

My dad has always been a science-fiction guy. Star Trek remains his absolute favorite series, but, in the past week, he watched four Planet of the Apes movies in order to prepare for Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Me, a less avid sci-fi fan, watched the first of the new trilogy (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and called it a day.

Without further ado, here are our thoughts on Rise of the Planet of the Apes. (Please do not read on if you don't want spoilers!)


Tina: Okay. Talk to me about your thoughts.

Dad: It's the same fucking movie all over again! Caesar already went through this! You didn't do your homework for this movie.

Let's just relax for a second. Don't think that this speaks to the cyclical nature of humanity and power?

But I just watched that exact movie three days ago.

I mean, yeah, I think you did maybe shoot yourself in the foot by watching the whole new trilogy and then the 2001 Planet of the Apes in less than a week.

What made you so mad?

Well, this movie was exactly what Caesar went through. He already had, what was his name? The bad ape’s name? Boca. Coca. Cabana. Copacabana? Oh, I don't know.

But he had a bad ape who tried to take over Caesar and run the world. Caesar killed him, and then Caesar died. And there was going to be a beautiful future. 

You know how it ends, though. With the original, I mean.

What happened? The apes are living comfortably together.

You said they treated the humans like slaves.

Yes, the humans, but the apes were living in harmony all together.

So you're not interested in how they get to that harmony amongst themselves? Because clearly we're not there.

But again, it was the same story! What did you like about it?

Well, first of all, I got the same shivers when that girl shouted the ape’s name as when Caesar shouted no! I was like, oh, this is what summer blockbusters are for. 

I knew that was coming. I knew she was going to talk the same way I knew Caesar was going to talk. They tried to pull every little heartstring. Not to mention, the obvious flaw in it all.

What's the obvious flaw?

Okay, first off, this took place somewhere in LA, correct? And you're telling me that the US military created a secret base right on the coast that the water hits?

I took that as if the San Andreas fault happened.

Okay, fine. I'll give you that for a moment. The San Andreas fault snaps, and we're actually looking at Bakersfield. Well, that's not true because we saw L.A. But let's pretend for a minute. 

Hang on. My toast is ready.


He leaves to get his toast from the toaster oven, unbothered by the fact that it’s 10pm.


So, back to the armory base that somehow is on the coast. First off, they had big doors that would open up to the ocean and there’s tanks inside. Then they build a retaining wall, which is basically nothing more than just a, what do you call those things by the beach? Whatever. I’ll give you the fact that the apes built the retaining wall to keep the door dry so they can try to blow it up and get into it.

The level of the ocean was not 20ft higher than that door. When they break the retaining wall and the ocean comes in and goes into the armory, it starts rising like ten stories in there. They kept rising and rising and rising. It would have barely even made it into the thing, let alone fill up half of the armory.

So that's your problem?

No, that's one problem. The other problem was this is an armory with a weapon cache and all this stuff. Right? Tanks, guns, satellite code. So the big ape is trying to blow up this door, right? And how do the good guys break in? You go to the top where the air comes in and walk right in. I mean, it wasn't even like the air intake was protected. It was a couple louver fans that they just walked through.

You don't think that there were people patrolling up there when they were still humans out and about? How do you want them to breathe?

You would have a secure air duct, not just with guys with guns, but an impossible thing to penetrate. 

I mean, okay, I will say that like the end confrontation, the fact that they made up a plan within a day was a bit ridiculous.

I have another issue. We had to watch them fight Caesar's enemy yet again. We already did that.

But, like, was it not interesting to see how he turned Caesar's words for his personal journey for power?

No, because here's the real problem. They build it up so that Noa is going to be the new Caesar. He had like a half a dozen words with Roku. What's the guy's name?

Certainly not Roku.

I’m talking about that orangutan who told Noa like three nuggets of Caesar’s wisdom. He didn't give him the entire spiel, but now he’s supposed to lead a new fight for apes under the guidance of Caesar?

Okay, but that's the SparkNotes version. Noa got it. He said I'm not going to kill another ape, and I'm going to get apes to work together.

How? He’s going to start a religion off of hearsay, three generations removed?!

I think that could prove to be interesting because then this group of humans that still exists is many years indoctrinated to believe that what they Earth is inherently theirs, which is humanity's biggest hubris.

I will say, the best part was that line from Roku when he said we call all of the humans Nova. 

Why is that?

Because of Charlton Heston, he names his girlfriend Nova in the first one.

At this point, my mom, who did not see the movie but is present for this discussion, grumbles and rolls her eyes. I ask her where her disdain is coming from.

Mom: He's 50 and she's 20, and you just knew that they're going to have sex.

Dad: Well, they gotta keep the humans going.

We don't need more humans, which is what these movies are proving. Or apes. It's almost like intelligent life was a mistake, right? Proxima Caesar was a good villain. He was scary.

I don't understand what the hell's wrong with all the apes. Proxima is there at the end, when they all could have charged him right before Noa starts singing his dad's birdsong.

Apes have daddy issues, too, Dad, I don't know what to tell you.

That seems a little pointed from you.

Any final thoughts?

Oh. That's it? 

I mean, I’ve been recording for 15 minutes.

I haven’t heard anything from you.

I said I enjoyed it. I think it's interesting that they show that violence is cyclical and that any sort of intelligent being with power uses it to tear each other down with no regard for the life of people around them unless they're taught compassion. Even if they're taught compassion, it doesn't always stick. I think it's a good summer blockbuster.

We get it. You went to liberal arts college.

You went to a liberal arts college! One of the most liberal arts colleges in the country! 

I do want to know how the talking baby doll got all the way to New York.

Oh, is that from the first one? 

Yeah, they say, why would anyone make a human doll that could talk.

Wait. He sees that baby doll and still doesn’t realize he’s on Earth until the very end of the movie? That feels like a dead giveaway.

I think we were, in 1968, unable to envision any way the apes could have overtaken us. So it had to be another planet.

But then the doll, though. I feel like that exposes the film’s hand.

He’s less interested in talking about the baby doll and more concerned with the technology involved in the story. Though, the next morning, he did text me to tell me that he watched the scene from the original Planet of the Apes that features said baby doll.

I do want to know if the satellite signal is calling Icarus back home. I don't know why they needed to use the satellite. Just an AM radio would be more than enough. It takes a lot more technology to get the satellite working than to do what Marconi did, which is Morse code. You can do that with just a battery and a wire.

The dish wouldn't work either. Most of the tiles are gone, so I think it just would not bounce any signal. It would go right through it. 

At this point, we are trying to make sense of the overall Planet of the Apes timeline and how far away from the events of the Charleton Heston film we are. My mom is helping by reading Wikipedia articles.

So Taylor and Brent travel…

Who?! Someone is named Brent in this?

Taylor and Brent travel from the 1970s to a period in the future, 3978 or 3955, depending on the movie you’re talking about.

So we're still 1600 years away, right? That's insane.

The apes didn't progress anywhere beyond horses. It makes sense other than the fact that the apes don't evolve or learn anything.

Proxima Caesar was making his little cattle prods. You're telling me that we can't get past cattle prods in 1600 years? Whatever. Final thoughts. This has been 25 minutes.

I'll give it two stars. But you know the best thing? The amazing growth of the motion capture and the texture on the skin and the hair. I'd like to know, did they do motion capture in actual outside environments? Everything seemed like it was working really well. So that was ten stars for the technology. I'll say this, better than any Avatar.

Are you talking about technology wise or story wise?


He then made little ape noises (as he had also done when we walked out of the theater) and put his toast plate in the sink, effectively finishing his thoughts on Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

Final Rating:

Dad: 2/5

Tina: 3/5