Planet of the Apes (2001)

by Narziss

"Planet of the Apes," which I perceived recently, is the most blatantly racialist film I've found, maybe ever. This is a strange film, at a strange time, with strange undertones. First, we have the top layer of meaning, common to all the Apes films, in which the apes' enslavement of humans is an inverted metaphor for White enslavement of Blacks. The implication is that humans (Blacks) only need to be given a fair chance to evince higher civilisation.

Second layer: Near the end of the new film, apes and humans foolishly decide to live in peace. I got the impression that this peace was not a nationalist peace, but an imperial peace - since we're not given much sense of the government structures on the planet it's hard to tell. Nevertheless, at the finale, we learn that the peace did not last, that an anti-Lincoln (ironically, now an ape (Black)) has created an Fascist Ape state. The moral message there is so obvious it must have been intended as satire: Don't trust apes!

Aside: What a great ending! Gave me thrills! A fine homage to the original film where Heston finds the monument in the sand. Welcome to the Future. The former's also shows well-crafted story logic, where the apes were at about or near the Renaissance initially, and then six hundred-odd years later, they're suddenly 20th+ Century. This fits in with the first layer of subtext, above. Anyway, continuing on...

The film's marketing has the inescapable language of race war. Look at the tag-line: TAKE BACK THE PLANET' - also explainable as a satire, especially given the ending, which demonstrates the futility of trying to take back the planet', while demonstrating by the seemingly inevitable progress of science and civilisation, the irrelevancy of taking back the planet'. This is code for the Marxist egalitarian view of history, in which determinist economic processes, not genetic intelligence, are the driving force behind all progress. Thus, Marxist-ly, the apes will end up building civilisation, simply because they control the means of production, leading even to the same architecture, the same monuments, etc. It's a bit of a parody, and imbibes of the 'parallel universe' trope common to Sci-Fi, but is a telling point in context with the rest of the ideas.

The third layer of meanings is composed of a medley of cues and codes hinting at the reality of the race situation, along with subtle jabs at morality and religion. This may be part of the media's to date minor attempts at subculture jamming' the pro-White movement. An example of this 'subvertisement' and subculture jamming is in the Internet site network dedicated to the Spielberg film "A.I." One site in particular was a parody and in large part plagiary of both the ARM and National Alliance websites, and was entitled the Anti-Robot Militia. The point is to create noise, to confuse, to paint the movement as an object of ridicule and those who sympathise as vicious bumpkins.

Consider, then, these clues:

* The symbol that the human slaves have branded onto them, shaped like an upward-pointed trident. What does this symbol remind you of? Anything? I'll leave that one with you, but when I recognised it I stood up in amazement. There's no way that's a coincidence.

* Charleton Heston, in a gracious cameo, describes to his ape son how the humans have a secret ability, the marvellous ability to create technology. In other words, the apes are genetically incapable of this themselves.

* The apes, as we learn from the beginning, are not in fact apes at all, but human/ape hybrids. Ordinary, full-blooded apes are said to be impulsive, uncreative savages incapable of civilisation. The hybrid apes are shown as cultured, intelligent, and imperiously riding horses (a mark of conquering races everywhere), albeit brutal. Only full-blooded humans are the creators of high-technology (technology that is notably very clean and white-coloured, contrasted with the black and scarlet ape preferences).

* Note the film attacks Christianity by placing a chimp, not even an ape, or an advanced hybrid ape, but a trained, slightly genetically-modified chimp, in the Christ-like 'Second-Coming' role. Note further that only the superstitious, brutish apes worship this second-coming, whereas the humans appear nonplussed by the affair.

* Further, note the additional pro-macro-evolution spin given to the premise. Not only are the apes the descendants of the hybrid human/apes who crash-landed on the planet, they are apparently far-advanced evolutionary, progressing along a different (but equally feasible) evolutionary path. Thus both they and the humans share a common ancestor'. How did the apes go from the animal chimps seen at the film's beginning to the erect-postured large-brained hominids seen later? Why, the mysterious magic of evolution of course!

* Here's where the film's makers have executed a forked check: One can argue the point above by saying that the erect apes we see are in fact the descendants not of the original experimental animals alone, but were the product of those gene-spliced animals raping their human captives, thus creating an intelligent hybrid race capable of maintaining civilisation, if not advancing it much. This is perfectly in tune with the first-layer analysis, since it shows that humans and apes are fertile together. It also leads into the next clue:

* Note the inter-species romance going on. A few movie-news sites reported that the film-makers backed off from a more intimate affair, out of worries they couldn't get away with it. Now, you may be tempted to interpret this romance as interracial, similar to the way Star Trek and similar shows use queerly-featured humans as negro analogies to show how we can all get along. But lately there's been a trend beyond that toward hinting at bestiality as such. Take the Star Trek parody "Galaxy Quest," which features implied interspecies sex. In "Planet of the Apes," given that ape races are present (chimpanzee, orangutan, gorilla) it seems a mistake to presume that the black, white, and yellow human races present in the film are meant to symbolise subraces. So the romantic motif here then is inter-species, animalistic, besides interracial.

Concluding, this is a meaning-packed film, and it surprises me that it ever got made. It's a grand homage to the original Apes movies, but the thinness of the material shows through when given such a lavish treatment. It sets itself up for sequels, but really, how far can this ape business go? There's a tiredness to the proceedings that comes through in the obligatory 'the gang's all here!' feeling. You can almost see the actors ribbing each other and drinking soda water in between takes.

Another amazingly racialist film is "Alien Resurrection," which I may deal with at a later time if anyone is interested. "Planet of the Apes" (2001) is a confused portrayal of our confused times, adding so many new layers of meaning that it can only really function clearly on the level of a straight-up action film. Looking deeply into it, and other films like it, I find a useful way to take the pulse of Hollywood, and of its intended audience.


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