SPECIES TURNOVER OR MIRAGE?
“All of human history has lead to this moment. The irony is we created you. And nature has been punishing us ever since. This is our last stand. And if we lose… it will be a Planet of Apes.”
-Planet of Apes
The famous Charles Darwin wrote that the only species able to survive is one the most responsive to change. The whole biodiversity is based on the constant rotation and does not surprise that many species simply fail to accept the challenge of enduring the existence on this Planet. Usually, the organic development is followed by the intellectual progress but sometimes it happens that one species is facing with the trend of regression and the switch is fatal.
Whoever has watched the popular futuristic movie The Planet of Apes is aware of the hidden message of the story. It is not only about leadership and strength of union; it is also about the moment in time when those who are down are ready to stand up. The trilogy follows actually the rise of forgotten, apes through the newborn and humanized intelligence of the chimpanzee Caesar. The scientist Will Rodman rescued him as a baby from a termination in spite of fact that Will himself has made tests on the Caesar’s mother with the purpose to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
The book of cruel animal testing for the goals of science and the benefits of humankind is just a beginning of our horror treatment of animals as our fellows. Each year the millions of innocent animals are dying because of the wrong theory and unsolved scientific code. They live their poor lives as prisoners of secret laboratories that have rush to jump into the pharmaceutical competition and get the award with the successful drug. Those animals are born to live as numbers of broken formulas and the pain of their souls will never be described in potential medicament’s story of glory.
Even Will, the compassionate researcher that accepted small baby chimpanzee Caesar as almost his own son, couldn’t have resist to evoke Caesar’s potential and use it in the area of scientific achievement’s. The scientists in Will has analyzed the brilliant mind of Caesar and his perfect ability to learn while he also has felt the sympathy and parent´s concern for a growing child. That ambivalence has colored the events in the movie and the way Caesar is thinking and reacting when the time of rebellion comes. Will betrayed Caesar once when he didn’t manage to get him out of the terrible ape shelter and that line of disappointment in animal´s heart will make a portray of awakening awareness and the sense for revolution against the established order. The Caesar is observer of the people and of the fellow apes. He knows what does it mean weak ape and strong human and vice versa. During his rise as a leader of humiliated apes, he meets the different characters among the apes. Some are not ready to fight wisely while some are lucrative. This reflects the human society and the modus operandi of the leader, his followers or opponents. In this transformation from the animal logic into the human-interest orientation, the apes are losing the animal innocence and grabbing the role of the dominant species or at least the one that has governing appetite.
The whole meaning of this saga is not about apes that confront humans and overtake the global rules. It is about the animals that accept the power and its toxic effects. Once they are on the top, they are acting the same as condemned people, infected and depopulated with Simian Flu. While Caesar has pure heart and analytical mind, his fellow Koba, the bonobo scarred and blinded by medical research knows only for a revenge and the feeling of despise for human kind. When there is a little chance for negotiations between apes and people, Koba will be the hard stream, calling on violence and war. That is exactly how it is happening in reality of human beings. Those who have scars on their soul will never cross over the river of forgiving and get into the port of peace. In spite of him, Caesar has been somewhere between loved and hurt by people but he has kept the common sense and the will for consolidation. This tells a lot about him as a leader in the world shaped suddenly by rough instinct. He recognizes the value of interspecies tolerance even when not all of his fellows share the same ideology.
Behind the ape leadership skills in the age of darkness of civilization, there is a bit of touch of science in this trilogy tale. Frans de Waal, an expert on primate behavior at Emory University, has commented for Times about the actuality of The Planet of Apes:”Chimps may never be fully as intelligent as humans, gene therapy notwithstanding (´our brains are physically three times bigger—this is not a small difference´). Chimps do have many mental capacities—thinking about the future, planning ahead, which are necessary for the sort of strategic thinking they do in the movie. So that’s not unrealistic. It’s also not at all unrealistic that the primates in Dawn would band together to fight their human antagonists. Chimps do wage war. They’re quite territorial. I was afraid they’d portray the apes as aggressive and the humans as angelic—but it’s the opposite. The apes want peace in the beginning. They fight but they reconcile afterward, which is something chimps really do. I’ve studied this for many years. In real life, he explains, chimps patch up their differences by kissing on the mouth, whereas in the film they make up with a more conventionally manly hand-clasp. But still, bonus points for truthiness.”
According to scientists, the movies about ape’s progress are based on the semi-truth and machoism of human kind. However, they are not pure fictional and they have the seed of futuristic plots. If the science manages to develop the smart genes and implement them into the certain animals, it could be possible that we witness the rise of George Orwell´s Animal farm. The highly intelligent animals (case study of apes) would be then able to make rebellion against the greedy humans and to make so called species turnover. The people would not have chance if the united colony of apes, leaded by someone like Caesar, roars NO to the terror they have dealt for years with. If we add to this drama a poisonous character like Koba, the war couldn’t be escaped. This switch between species would not be without blood since people would never accept to be ruled by those made to be ruled by.
Unfortunately, the never-ending tragedy of animal abuse and cruelty against animals show us the lack of any compassion on the global level. People feel sorry for animals but they still do nothing to stand up for voiceless. I am wondering whom we would expect to stand up for us when someone like ape Caesar overtakes the world of humans, burning with Koba´s betrayed heart. The question is not if we will win but how we will lose. The years of our brainless abuse of earth´s resources and the freedom of other creatures on this Planet have turned us into the materialistic predators with the ability to kill the life even in its seed. We are exploiting everything and everyone and it is just a matter of time when someone like Caesar or Koba will deliver the final bill to the ignorant Homo sapiens.
I like this film because each time when I see Caesar’s eyes I see the universe of the one who suffers. In his eyes, one can see the whole universe of those who are without voice and freedom, locked in their darkness, damned to be humiliated by humans. We are not here as masters but rather as earthlings and if we don’t stop to rape the things they don’t belong to us, the nature will wipe us off as the species that has never understood the power of mutual respect and cohabitation.