Rise of the Planet of the Apes: A Response

by Lisa Hanawalt

I don’t get it. Why do people love monkeys so much? Chimpanzees aren’t cute, they look like old men with hormonal imbalances, and they’re uncanny and creepy. Plus, their hair looks wiry and unpleasant to touch, doesn’t it? And yeah, I know that monkeys and apes aren’t the same thing, but I lump them together as the poop-hurlers of the animal kingdom.

My monkey-loving boyfriend dragged me to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes on an opening Friday night with a rowdy audience, and here are my notes and drawings (MAY CONTAIN VAGUE SPOILERS)!

• This audience is so pro-ape from the start, they clearly all came on opening night because they love chimps. Will I stick out as an ape hater?
• I just wrote “monkeys are horrible” in my notebook, but I’m hunching over it so that nobody sees.
• The movie is off to a fast-and-stupid-paced start and I like it!
• James Franco is charmingly cast as the least professional research scientist to ever exist.

• The boss character, Jacobs, just shouted “I run a BUSINESS, not a petting zoo!” Hey Screenwriter, petting zoos are totally a business.
• Also petting zoos are fun to own and they’re virtually recession-proof! Here are some tips for running a successful petting zoo:

• Sorry, I zoned out during the boring John Lithgow parts and went off on that petting zoo tangent.
• Jacobs has all the best lines.”You know everything about the human brain, except how it works.” That is such a burn to a scientist. How brains work is 99% of what there is to know about brains!

• James Franco and Freida Pinto have the most beautiful smiles. Franco & Freida should be the name of a fancy home furnishing store.
• Caesar has just learned sign language, and it’s making the audience go “aww,” but most of his gestures just look obscene.

• The plot just jumped ahead nearly 10 years. Caesar looks like he’s been in two wars and seen eight ghosts, while Franco & Freida haven’t aged a day or even changed their haircuts.
• OK, also, Fn’F’s characters have been dating for five years and only now is she noticing that an entire room of his house is devoted to charting the effects of drugs on his chimpanzee. She had NO idea. And it’s not just a home office — the walls are completely plastered with charts and research and sciencey stuff. Boy does she look surprised!
• We are getting every possible visual cue that this particular chimp is the EVIL chimp.

• I hate it when, in order to indicate deadly illness, screenwriters have the characters cough blood into hankies, or sneeze blood all over each others’ faces, or moonwalk across the floor in their own liquified internal organs. It’s so cliché!
• OK, I guess I do like some primates, because “Circus Orangutan” is my new favorite animal/plant/thing. He looks too cool to throw his own poop.

• The prop master deserves props (sorry) for making the chimp sanctuary food look so disgusting.

• Caesar just reached into a fridge to grab a can of deadly virus, the dude behind us shouted “FOUR LOKO!” and I laughed my head off.
• This audience is getting totally jazzed about the apes becoming powerful and rebellious, but I don’t sympathize at all. THIS IS MY WORST NIGHTMARE.
• Meanwhile, my boyfriend is in heaven. He just leaned over to say, a little wistfully, “I wish I WAS a monkey.” Is there a chimpanzee version of swimming with dolphins? Because that would be the best birthday present I could ever get him.

• One of the characters just got electrocuted, and a lady sitting near me whispered, “Water conducts electricity!”
• If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this movie, it’s that apes are CONSTANTLY jumping through glass windows. The shattering glass must feel good on their fur?

• You know what I’d like to see? Rise of the Planet of the Dogs! Except that movie has already been made, it’s called Hotel for Dogs (and it’s pretty good).
• This movie has unexpectedly deepened my admiration for the architecture of the Golden Gate Bridge.
• On the subway ride home, it’s easy to point out other people who have also just seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

IN CONCLUSION: You will love this movie if you love apes. If you don’t like apes, this movie will make you feel more strongly about not liking them. I give it 5/5 apes!

Previously: Rumors I’ve Heard About Anna Wintour.

Lisa Hanawalt lives in Brooklyn and does illustrations + funnies for publications like the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Vice, and Chronicle Books. She’s best known for her comic book series I Want You.