Episode 162: The Apes of Wrath

The Overthinkers tackle “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

Matthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Jordan Stokes to downgrade the credit rating of various etertainment properties and to overthink Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

SPOILER ALERT for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Zombieland, The Wire, and The Grapes of Wrath.

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22 Comments on “Episode 162: The Apes of Wrath”

  1. Brian #

    Sympathetic disaster, going in knowing it ends badly- Clone Wars cartoon and Belinkie relating it the Iliad, giving all the fight you have even though you know it ends bad.

    One of the most interesting scenes to me was the *spoilers* John Lithgow deathbed scene where he wants to die a natural death in his own house and refuses further treatment with the Ape potion. Dealing with the modern trend of extending that “death bed” time from the natural few days to months or years in the hope of some miracle cure is becoming an increasing problem for families and hospitals. There was a great article on it somewhere but I can’t find it.

    Social allegory, I wish I knew enough socially to connect it, but developing economies and stuff feels right because “the black guy” was British and sold out safety for money and “the other brown person and only women” was from India and starred in Slumdog Millionaire, the notion of the global economy behaving like a virus I think heard mentioned by Slavoj Zizek or something of the sort. When watching the trailer I felt the green gas was somehow an allegory for the internet, with the role it played in Cario and Wikileaks, as lame as that sounds.

    The theater I saw it in had a trailer for Contagion which is a virus outbreak movie. So I think virus is a good substitute for nuclear war, as for how real the threat of a global virus is compared to cold war nuclear threat idk, also the virus in Contagion is hinted to be natural and not a terrorist attack. So chalk another one up for nature smiting man’s for his technological transgressions.


  2. Anthony Abatte #

    I’m just surprised that no one mentioned Lithgow’s “Flowers for Algernon” type character. The drug cured him and increased his intelligence temporarily. Later, he got worse and died.

    References to first Planet film with Heston:
    Caesar’s mother was named “Bright Eyes,” the name the apes gave Chuck in the original.

    The meanest guy in the ape prison-type place quoting the famous line about the “damned, dirty apes.”

    Just found those things interesting.

    Also, from the beginning of the film, where monkeys are chased in a jungle and traded off (possibly for profit), reminded me of slave trade. The turning of the hose on Caesar at one point disturbed me greatly; reminding me of footage from Civil Rights movement. The apes could be correlated to any group that seeks to “rise” from their situation, but maybe because I’m half-black, these things stood out to me.

    Anyone else?


    • Anthony Abatte #

      Also, did anyone notice that the actor playing the head of the ape house (I can’t recall the actual name,) was the same guy that played Stryker in

      I thought it was strange that he was in another film where he detains “mutants” if you will. Played the same role just didn’t get as much screen time as he did in the X-men film. Is he being typecast?


    • Brian #

      I watched the original recently, surprised me how genuinely vicious a lot of the it feels, intentionally so, but it’s amazing how much comes through despite the goofy 60’s aesthetic. Like the hose scene in both is painful, but in the original because the ape screams “Shut up you freak!” and the line reading the actor gives feels really nasty and the overtones of race are there so it was more ideologically brutal, but the new one it felt more because the sound design was better so it was more sensually brutal. Like I felt for Ceaser’s character but on a personal level, he didn’t feel like a stand in for a larger idea at that point. That’s how I felt about the movie as a whole too, it felt first and foremost like an allegory for adolescence, not as much an allegory on race as the original was.

      Also in the original, surprised again that Heston’s Taylor is a cynical jerk- he’s not racist but he didn’t care about his shipmate’s death even laughed at the idea of planting a flag in her honor- yet he’s the hero. He maintains that macho cynicism until the very end, which I guess is what makes the ending so great.

      Casting Brian Cox in his Styker type role was a good nod to people who would recognize him as such, they gave him the same beard and he talks in the same accent even. I enjoyed that. I didn’t recognize Malfoy though but thought he gave a good performance.


      • Brian #

        On Brian Cox being typecast, my friend mentioned that too with Cox’s role as the father in the American remake of The Ring. He does tend to play corrupt authority figures, but he mixes it up a bit with nice authority figures like the Captain O’Hagan in Super Troopers.


        • Anthony Abatte #

          I wasn’t sure if that was “Draco” or not. I wonder now if he’s always going to play a villain. You’re right about Heston in the original. Kind of crude for a “hero” character.

          I did like the way the “Rise” film seems to gain sympathy for Caesar by sharing the experience with the audience. Early on, when Caesar sees the dog on the chain and notices his own leash, he asks if he’s a pet, and then takes a seat in the car.

          Something about the way this was filmed made me empathetic before he signed any of his thoughts to James Franco. This never felt like an action film, but like a drama with science fiction elements.


  3. cat #

    Where is the unicorn?

    I agree with Matt and Jordan about Burn Notice, especially since I’ve started watching Leverage.

    This subject in particular needed some Shechner.


  4. Hazbaz #

    Loved the podcast. I’ve heard a lot of good buzz about Andy Serkis’s performance, Do you guys think there might be an Oscar for an actor doing a Mo-Cap part in the future?

    Also, I couldn’t agree with Pete’s micro-rant more.


  5. Jason Storck #

    Just thought I would mention that I bought a friend the game-theory Godfather t-shirt for christmas last year. It was a hit.

    Love the podcast. Keep it up!


    • Jason Storck #

      Also the bacon shirt, now that I think about it. I must be a rather large percentage of your sales, the way you guys talk.


  6. Bee #

    Australia has ‘Timezone’ and other similar places where you get tickets when you play the games. Now I wonder what the exchange rate is, UST to AUT.


  7. James T #

    Wanted to give some credit where credit is due for the “bundle of sticks” business, as I didn’t notice you mention it was from Aesop – it seems some have tried to connect Aesops’s story etymologically to the word “fascism” itself, with varying degrees of success.

    I recognized the quote, but hadn’t seen the new PotA movie, so I knew I’d heard it somewhere. Yay Google!

    I do recall that the fable is used very effectively early in Kurosawa’s Ran.


    • Brodie #

      The sticks are also used in Red Cliff


  8. Megan from Lombard #

    While I agree with the comments on Burn Notice as well, I need to *well actually* one of them. Yes Michael is working with the CIA again, but only as a civilan consultant (like Neil Caffrey on White Collar). He was close to being reinstated but then Max (his handler) got killed by the yet to be determined assassian and framed Michael for it. So on a technicality he’s still “burned.”


  9. Timothy J Swann #

    As monkey/ape research used to be my bread and butter, my first thought on seeing the trailer, (which is all I’ve seen) was – “It wouldn’t be apes. It would be macaques.”

    In neuroscience, if you want to cut out a bit of someone’s brain and see what will happen, you use a macaque. They are cheaper than apes and easier to keep, but their brains are very similar to humans in functional mapping. They are also a bit further down the evolutionary scale than apes, so people feel more comfortable about using them in experiments.

    This callous attitude might explain why animal rights activists tried to kill my first tutor.

    (Having said this, there are extraordinarily rigid rules on the treatment of the animals, which is how my first tutor lost his job. Maybe. If it wasn’t the admissions scandal or the sex scandal or the pregnancy scandal. Or the fact that Richard Dawkins wanted him out of Oxford).


  10. Monzenn #

    On the Question of the Week (it IS called Question of the Week right?):

    It would be a great idea to put a credit rating on a director on an artist. Let there be different rating agencies who will use different methodologies in putting credit ratings on directors or artists, which will be a guide to the relative “safety” of any future film that the director/artist will make. I hope that one day I will be able to see a movie poster that goes like, “Movie xxx, Starring Actor aaa (Rated AAA by xxx Rating Agency), Directed by bbb (Rated AA+ by yyy Rating Agency),” and then I will be able to blame myself if I believe the rating agencies and the movie turned out to be a flop.

    Who should get the ratings in the movie world? Should it be the director? The screenwriter? The actors and actresses? It’s more clear-cut when it comes to financial ratings: one bond issuance is associated with one issuer, be it a country, bank, or financial institution. But who is the “issuer” of a movie? Who should take direct responsibility if the movie “defaults” (flops? gets a low rating at Rotten Tomatoes?)? Should actors and directors get separate ratings?

    Side note: Is it Question of the Week, or Question FOR the Week? What’s the difference?


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