After seeing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I left the theater amazed at how beautifully the film was shot, how the story made sens, and how it questioned our reaction to a new apex creature threatening our existence. Unlike many animals before us, humans are a young species. Dinosaurs ruled the earth for millions of years, and before that aquatic creatures were in charge, but Homo Sapiens, have only been around for a few thousand years, and with all our advancements in technology, we are understanding how easy it is to be wiped out. We look to the stars and see meteors the size of Texas, solar storms that could send us back into the dark ages, or black holes that could shred our puny planet like a dirt clod. Even our own intelligence could kill us. We could set off nuclear bombs leaving Earth a barren carcass like Mars, or we can create a disease that could actually have us living in a zombie apocalypse.
The premise of the rebooted Apes series leans heavily on the “created an epidemic” plot line, replacing walking corpses with intelligent apes. With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which takes place 10 years after Rise, humans are nearly wiped out and living in colonies with very little power. Searching for a way to keep the lights on in their colony, a group of humans lead by Malcolm, played by Jason Clarke (Lawless), stumble upon an ape settlement, ran by Caesar, the first smart ape. Right away, Malcolm sees something different in Caesar and the other apes and tries to reason with them as if they were human, much to the chagrin of another human tagging along with Malcolm named Carver, played by Kirk Acevedo (The Walking Dead).
From Carver’s point of view, I can see how difficult it would be to fathom hearing another creature speak that I’ve grown up hearing growl and thrash around. However, I would be very fascinated and excited that I could communicate with animals, a dream of mine since Wild Thornberrys. From what I gathered, however, it wasn’t that the apes simply showed signs of human like intelligence, it was the fact that human’s were scarce, and to that MAN, these speaking apes threatened their existence. Instead of trying to find common ground, he acted with hostility as many creatures, human and animal alike, do when they feel threatened.
The apes, lead by Caesar, on the other hand, only want to live in peace, except for Koba, whose backstory and reasons for his hatred of humans are justifiable as well. Koba was tested on and “tortured” by scientists his entire life, and when humans were dying from the “simian flu,” it was a dream come true for Koba, and a pack of them stroll into their city and begin making demands. After 10 years of believing humans had died out, Koba, was outraged to see them threatening their new way of life. Mixed in was a deep seeded hatred for humans for all the years of experimenting on him. He knew what humans were capable of and felt they needed to be dealt with before they ruled again.
Both sides had their downfall, which were similar. Man felt they were being replaced by the apes and decided to take a last stand proving they truly are, and shall remain, the dominant species of the planet. Apes were threatened by man because they were worried man would keep them from building they’re new society. Through Caesar, apes were learning compassion and mercy. Chimpanzees, regularly, are quite violent. With the acquired intelligence, they became more humble and understanding. Koba, however, remembered all the torture humans put him through, and instead of forgiveness and working together to create a new lasting world with man & ape, Koba’s lust for vengeance lead him to betray his own kind in order to enslave and massacre as many human’s as possible.
Not that apes will ever usurp humans and conquer the planet, but an end is coming as it had for many of the dominant species of our planet, including dinosaurs. However, nowadays, it seems, the end is all we can think about, whether it be by walking corpses, World War III, alien invaders, or apes. The only question I ask, is what will the end bring out in us?