Archive for the ‘Planet of the Apes’ Category

My weird movie theatre memories

June 29, 2019

My weird movie theatre memories

I’ve spent a lot of time in movie theatres.

If we count drive-ins (and they were called Drive-In Theatres), I think that probably goes back to seeing Dr. No with my parents. I have to assume that was in 1963 or so. I only have a flash memory of that…I was quite young, as you can imagine.

I’ve also seen many movies at cons (fan conventions), and of course, thousands on TV. My current favorite way to watch movies is in VR (Virtual Reality). I use a Samsung Gear. There are times the picture could be sharper, but I’m seeing a theatre size screen, have good sound through my earpods, and as I do my floor exercises, the screen follows me when I turn my head (at least on Netflix, it does). I usually have a few things going on at once (I have a Charles Band movie with Christopher Lee on TV in the room as I write this), but the VR experience really has me focus more. It’s definitely best when there are subtitles.

I took a film analysis class in high school, and I actually ran and programmed a movie series for a community center.

For this post, I’m just going to count situations where the public could gather to watch.

Let’s start out with some marathons.

There were five films in the original Planet of the Apes series. I was a big fan (although I don’t like the second movie much).

In 1974, 20th Century Fox had “Go Ape” marathons…you could watch all five movies in a row in a regular theatre.

Well, even though I’d seen them all individually in theatres, I wasn’t going to miss that!

I didn’t just go. I watched in an ape suit.

I had a Don Post PotA chimp mask. Don Post masks were great (my first real job was working in a place which sold them, The House of Humor). It did actually allow for some facial flexibility, and while it was hot for all those hours, it wasn’t intolerable (there was an opening in the back of the “throat”, as I recall, enabling you to breath through the mouth). I had a sort of vinyl olive rainsuit. I paired that with gloves and boots. I really wished I had boots with thumbs in them, as they did in the movie series, but no such luck.

Another time I spent more than eight hours in a row in a theatre was a “Golden Turkeys” film festival…I think it was in Berkeley. It was going to run over night, and my friends and I went in pjs and brought a blanket, or sleeping bag, I don’t remember which.

One of the features was The Creeping Terror, which I recently rewatched on Amazon Prime Video (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). It’s a super low budget monster movie made in the Tahoe area. They either lost or couldn’t use the dialog track, so much of the movie is narrated (“Bobby told the sheriff…”). The monster looks like a decaying carpet, and you can absolutely tell that a person is walking inside it. The way I had heard the story was that the director or producer was a con artist on probation or who had previously served time. People were paying to be in the movie, and he hadn’t intended to actually complete and release it…somewhat like the plot of The Producers. The judge/probation officer heard about it, called him in, and said, “If you don’t make this movie, you are going back to jail.” I don’t know that that’s actually true…it’s just my recollection of the rumors, and if it isn’t true, my apologies to the people involved that lots of us thought that was the case.

The movie that actually drove people out of the place was The Terror of Tiny Town. It’s a musical Western, with a large cast of little people. This came out shortly before The Wizard of Oz, and many of the actors were in both. The tone varies wildly between being a comedy and being serious…and for some reason, there’s a penguin in a barbershop, as I recall. People went out while it was on to get food.

That festival had a pretty full house, but I had quite a different experience one time when a friend and I went to go see a double feature. It was The Mafu Cage, a psychological horror movie starring Carol Kane and Lee Grant. Kane keeps a man in a cage and treats him as though he is a non-human ape. Hm, Robot Monster, which stars a man in a gorilla suit with a space helmet on his head (they couldn’t afford to make the robot costume they had intended, from what I heard, so they modified George Barrows’ ape suit) was part of the Golden Turkeys festival…is there an ape theme here?

The second feature was, I think, called The Arctic Fox. It was a Japanese nature documentary, narrated by “Grandfather Tree”, or something like that. I love animals, but I remember this being very slow.

By the time it finished, my friend and I were the only ones left in the multiplex theatre…and my friend was asleep.

When it ended, the film just flapped in the projector; it was clearly unattended. When I woke my friend up and we went to leave, it was clear why. The projectionist was standing by the exit, arms crossed across his chest. He looked at me pointedly and said, “That’s the first time I’ve had to run that film all the way through!”

Those are a few of my most memorable movie-going experiences. There have been many:

  • I remember watching Saul Bass’ Phase IV ant movie…in the first row (I don’t recommend that…oh, the movie is fine, but my neck was sore after staring up like that for the whole film)
  • I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show where they took a 70mm print and enlarged it to fill a 150 degree screen. That was a thing at one point…it was supposed to cover all of your peripheral vision range, so you couldn’t see anything except the screen. I remember the corners being fuzzy, but that was quite a show!
  • I think the longest line I was ever in was, for reasons which I’ve never known, for the The World’s Greatest Athlete with Jan-Michael Vincent…I had to stand in line through several showings to see this Disney sort of Tarzan comedy
  • I also waited in line for a few showing to see Jaws when it was first released. I could hear audience reaction from inside the theatre sometimes…so I actually had a sense of when one of the jump scares was coming, and anticipated it a bit

How about you? Have you had a strange time in a movie theatre? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog

The Geeky Seventies

June 9, 2015

The Geeky Seventies

CNN is following up their successful series on the 1960s with one on the 1970s:

Tom Hanks is an Executive Producer.

The existence of this series is kind of funny to me. I did a comedy bit years ago on our community access TV show (Freedom from Fear) called “In Search of the Seventies”. I treated it as a mystery as to whether or not the Seventies even (culturally) existed. I asked if they were really just “…the end of the Sixties and the start of the Eighties”.

I think that’s because I was too close to it. I was really engaging in pop culture in the Seventies…well, often culture that wasn’t so popular, but you know what I mean. 😉 I didn’t have the distance from it and maturity to recognize what was special about it.

Certainly, I thought the 1960s had a unique culture…with the Beatles in part driving the bus.

As to the 1980s, well, New Wave music seemed to stand out to me.

The 1970s? At that time, I wasn’t seeing what made it special.

Now I do. 🙂

This post is going to give you an overview of geek-friendly culture in the 1970s.

It was definitely a transformative decade…even if the Transformers didn’t arrive until the 1980s. 😉

Geek culture moved mainstream in very big ways. Predominantly, there was Star Wars, which made space opera a blockbuster, but we could also look at The Exorcist for horror, and Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice) for vampires.

We saw the arrival of Stephen King as a novelist, and the publication of Dungeons and Dragons.

Home video technology meant that people could easily watch movies after they were out of theatres…decades after, in some cases. Prior to that, some of us had three-minute long Super 8 movies, and the real hobbyists might have 16mm reels, but the Betamax and others meant our cinematic history (including the geeky part) was much more accessible.

Star Trek: the Original Series was canceled in 1969…but the fandom continued. That led to the first Star Trek convention in the 1970s. Science fiction conventions went back to 1939, but this was different.

Batman in the 1960s might have made superheroes a hit on TV, but Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk were part of the 1970s scene.

The Weird World interested a lot more people…the In Search Of TV series was only one part of that, but was many viewers’ first exposure to some of these topics.

Let’s look at some of the highlights in different areas:


How times have changed!

When you look at the top ten US grossing movies released in the 1960s, arguably only two are geek-friendly (GF) and not specifically intended for the family/children’s market:

  1. The Sound of Music
  2. 101 Dalmations
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Doctor Zhivago
  5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  6. Mary Poppins
  7. My Fair Lady
  8. Thunderball (GF)
  9. Cleopatra
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (GF)

By the end of the 1970s, that picture had entirely changed, and would look more like our box office today:

  1. Star Wars (GF)
  2. Jaws (GF)
  3. The Sting
  4. Animal House
  5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (eventually) GF
  6. The Godfather
  7. Superman (GF)
  8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (GF)
  9. Smokey and the Bandit
  10. Blazing Saddles

The Exorcist (1973) brought straight up horror to blockbuster status and mainstream acceptance (along with a lot of protests).

In 1975, Steven Spielberg changed the summer. Up to that point, it had largely been a season of cheapo exploitation movies. People actually went outside (including drive-ins), not to the movies. Jaws reshaped all that, giving us the summer blockbuster season. There have been heated debates about whether or not Jaws is a fantasy (are we supposed to believe the shark is just a shark, or something more?), but it was clearly a monster movie.

Then in 1977, Star Wars changed it all.

While those movies were all big hits, there were a lot of other significant geek movies. Undeniably, we have to count the Rocky Horror Picture Show as establishing midnight movies and a special kind of cult film. It flopped when it came out, but then got a new life in a new way. He’s the hero…that’s right, the hero. 😉

Here are some other stand-outs:

  • Alien (1979)
  • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • Mad Max (1979)
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Carrie (1976)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Young Frankenstein (1974)
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
  • The Omen (1976)
  • King Kong (1976)
  • Eraserhead (1977)
  • Solaris (1972)
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
  • Logan’s Run (1979)
  • The Wicker Man (1973)
  • Live and Let Die (1973) (the first Roger Moore James Bond)
  • Soylent Green (1973)
  • Enter the Dragon (193)
  • The Amityville Horror (1979)
  • Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  • Zardoz (1974)
  • The Wiz (1978)
  • Westworld (1973)
  • Four of the original Planet of the Apes movies
  • A Boy and His Dog (1975)
  • Phantom of the Paradise (1974)
  • Tommy (1975)
  • The Lord of the Rings (1978) (Ralph Bakshi)
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)
  • The Andromeda Strain (1971)
  • Phantasm (1979)
  • The Sentinel (1977)
  • Suspiria (1977)
  • Death Race 2000 (1975)
  • Rollerball (1975)
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
  • The Omega Man (1971)
  • Tales from the Crypt (1972)
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
  • Freaky Friday (1976)
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)
  • The Car (1977)
  • The Muppet Movie (1979)
  • The  Stepford Wives (1975)
  • Dark Star (1974)
  • Eraserhead (1977)


Sure, the 1960s had been huge for high concept TV (with 1964 particularly important), but the 1970s built on that with many geek-friendly hits. Batman on TV had burned out by 1970, but opened the field for other superheroes (DC, Marvel, and bionic). Star Wars and James Bond were both big in movie theatres, and we saw their effect on the small screen as well. Home video arrived, which began to give us more options (although cable wouldn’t be a factor until the 1980s). Saturday morning got trippy with the Kroffts (although H.R. Pufnstuf debuted in 1969), and saw the return of Star Trek with the original cast…in animated form.

Some geek-friendly series:

  • Wonder Woman
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Saturday Night Live (Coneheads! Land Shark!)
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Fantasy Island
  • Mork & Mindy
  • Land of the Lost
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
  • Kung Fu
  • Space: 1999
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • The Bionic Woman
  • The Muppet Show
  • The Tomorrow People
  • Isis
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker
  • Blakes 7
  • The Amazing Spier-Man
  • Nanny and the Professor
  • Shazam!
  • Tales of the Unexpected
  • SCTV
  • Paddington Bear
  • The New Avengers
  • Schoolhouse Rock!
  • Super Friends
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
  • Man from Atlantis
  • Return to the Planet of the Apes
  • Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
  • Sapphire & Steel
  • Star Blazers
  • The Prisoner
  • Quark
  • Josie and the Pussycats
  • The Invisible Man (David McCallum)
  • Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
  • Doctor Who in the United States
  • Monty Python in the United States


I’ve gone into depth on the general topic of literature of the 1970s in another blog of mine:

I Love My Kindle: Books in the 1970s

In terms of geek-friendly, it was a huge decade! Just as movies saw the mainstreaming of geek-friendly genres, bookstores saw bestsellers from a new author named Stephen King, and a vampire hit (Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice).

While geek-specific bookstores (and comic book stores) were crucial, you could walk into a the newly national Barnes & Noble chain and get a variety of science fiction/fantasy/supernatural horror. You wanted military SF? You had Joe Haldeman. Light fantasy? Enter Xanth by Piers Anthony. Social science fiction? The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner. Ringworld…Riverworld…we weren’t only reaching out to new planets, we were visiting new worlds and universes.

Here are some of the stand-out titles and authors:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
  • Gateway by Frederick Pohl
  • Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer
  • Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven
  • The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
  • Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
  • Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
  • The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner
  • Altered States by Paddy Chayefsky
  • Autumn Angels by Arthur Byron Cover
  • The Cave of Time (Choose Your Own Adventure) by Edward Packard


1974 saw the release of Dungeons & Dragons…and we had Advanced D&D by the end of the decade. This was really the decade that saw the RPG (Role-Playing Game) world established, and would include Runequest and Traveller.


Star Trek:  The Original Series ended in 1969, but the people who had come together to fight for a third season kept at it. That included the first Star Trek convention (well, the first widely available to the public one in 1972), the return of the original cast for the animated series, and eventually, 1979, to the big screen.


Again, there was a transition happening, with some significant experimentation.

  • Jack Kirby jumped from Marvel to DC, and introduced Darkseid
  • The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide first appeared
  • Green Lantern and Green Arrow take a philosophical walk-about across America
  • Mister Miracle debuts
  • An arc in Spider-Man features drug use, and defies the Comics Code Authority
  • Ra’s Al Ghul first appears
  • The Kree-Skrull War storyline
  • The Sandman
  • War Machine makes his first appearance
  • Wonder Woman gives up her powers

The Weird World

  • The TV series In Search of… (hosted by Leonard Nimoy) was instrumental in reinteresting people in the Roswell Incident
  • 1973 was dubbed “The Year of the Humanoids” by UFO researcher David Webb…one of the most famous was the Pascagoula incident
  • Uri Geller was famous, even appearing on the Tonight Show in 1973 to “bend spoons”
  • Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain by Lynn Schroeder and Sheila Ostrander was published in 1970
  • The Mysterious Monsters was a Sunn Classics documentary, featuring Peter Graves
  • The Legend of Boggy Creek was released in 1972
  • The Unidentified, published in 1975, by Loren Coleman & Jerome Clark, is Coleman’s first “name on the cover” book
  • John A. Keel’s inimitable The Mothman Prophecies was published in 1975
  • Momo, the Missouri Monster, was just one of many hairy bipeds
  • Newsstands had magazines galore, including Ancient Astronauts
  • The “flipper photo” of the Loch Ness Monster was taken in 1972 by Dr. Robert Rines’ team
  • In 1975, Travis Walton is missing for several days, and a report emerges of an abduction by aliens


Listening to LPs was definitely a 1970s thing, and there were some definitely geeky concept albums.

  • 1972: David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  • 1973: Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells
  • 1978: Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds
  • 1978: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!


  • Home computers became a thing in 1977, with the Apple II, the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor), and the TRS-80 (Tandy Radio Shack)
  • Skylab launched in 1973…and docked with the Russian Soyuz in 1975
  • The Atari 2600 was released in 1977
  • The first Pong arcade game was put to use in 1972. Arcade games would really take off with Space Invaders in 1978

There’s a bit of the geeky 1970s for you! We certainly didn’t cover everything, but you can see the big shift from geek culture being kids and niche to becoming the mainstream pop culture force that it is today. Want to add something? Feel free to comment on this post.

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2015 Oscar noms

January 15, 2015

2015 Oscar noms

This is very preliminary, almost live-blogging. 🙂 I’ll call out the geeky nominees as I catch them, sometimes shortening the names. After the announcements, I’ll formalize it more and add some comments.

Announcements are over…some early thoughts:

  • I’m surprised by the number of nominations for Interstellar…more than I expected
  • Birdman gets three acting noms
  • Best songs can still come from animated movies…and very popular (and profitable) ones at that
  • Maleficent is Oscar nominated
  • Guardians of the Galaxy was nominated for Hair and Makeup…and Into the Woods wasn’t
  • The Imitation Game got a lot of love
  • Eddie Redmayne was nominated…and seems to me to be the one to beat. It’s almost a perfect Oscar storm…and wouldn’t it be great to see Stephen Hawking at the ceremony?
  • Blockbuster geek movies which may be critical disfaves often get rewarded in technical categories…I didn’t see so much of that this time. For example, no noms for Transformers (we could have seen sound or Special Effects, perhaps)
  • You could notice how the lack of eligibility affects some categories: The Hanging Tree from The Hunger Games wasn’t eligible, Birdman for Score…
  • The Lego Movie was not nominated for Best Animated Feature
  • This is a notably non-diverse group of major nominees: I think we’ll hear people commenting on that

Best Original Song

  • Everything is Awesome from the Lego Movie

SFX (Special Effects)

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Interstellar
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

Doc Short

Doc Feature

  • Citizen Four


  • The Imitation Game

Sound Editing

  • Birdman
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar

Sound Mixing

  • Birdman
  • Interstellar

Production Design

  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods

Live Action Short

Animated Short

Best Animated Feature

  • Big Hero Six
  • Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Song of the Sea
  • Tale of the Princess Kaguya

 Supporting Actor

  • Edward Norton in Birdman

Supporting Actress

  • Keira Knightly in The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone in Birdman
  • Meryl Srteep in Into the Woods

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Guardians of the Galaxy


  • Into the Woods
  • Maleficent


  • Birdman

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything

Original Screenplay

  • Birdman

Original Score

  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • The Theory of Everything

Foreign Language


  • Birdman
  • The Imitation Game

Lead Actress

  • Felicity Jones The Theory of Everything

Lead Actor

  • Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
  • Michael Keaton in Birdman
  • Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Best Picture

  • Birdman
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything

2015 Oscar nominations video:

Complete list of nominees from the Academy website:

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Shootin’ simians: are guns new to the Planet of the Apes?

July 31, 2014

Shootin’ simians: are guns new to the Planet of the Apes?

Note: this post is going to reveal things about the original five Planet of the Apes movies, and that will include plot details. If you have not yet seen them and prefer to have that pure feeling of discovery that comes from approaching a work of entertainment with no foreknowledge (which I understand), I’d skip this one until you have seen them.

As a long-time Planet of the Apes fan, it’s been amusing to me to see media coverage of the newest movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I’ve seen a number of articles suggesting that the author thinks it is an evolution (so to speak) from the original five movies. Not only in special effects, but, gosh, it has social relevance! Why, they are implying things about gun control and our modern world! How times have changed!

Times may have changed, but the movies have always been socially relevant…and in them, apes have always used guns.

In fact, I’d say the earlier movies are much more daring and blatantly obvious in their social criticism.

There are really three time periods in the first five movies.

The first two, Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, take place (and again, in case you missed the italics, SPOILER ALERT) about two thousand years in the future (and follow one right after the other). Status quo: apes rule and have an organized civilization. They speak, have a city, scientists, warriors…and  bureaucracy. Most of the humans appear to be hunter/gatherers, and do not speak. There is a remnant population of mutated humans underground who generally do not speak…but it is because they are telepathic. They are able to verbalize, but essentially find it distasteful.

The next two movies, Escape and Conquest, take place in relatively modern times for the audience (somewhat in the future, but not wildly so). Time does pass between the two movies, but they can be placed in the same context. Status quo: humans rule, and live in cities which resemble our modern cities. Apes do not speak, as a rule…unless they are time travelers from the future, or of that genetic line. They are servants to humans.

The fifth movie, Battle, takes place in-between those two timeframes, although the series makes the repeated point that there might be parallel time streams (they won’t necessarily end up where the first movie started). Status quo: both humans and apes speak, and they live together…but not in perfect harmony. Humans are in an inferior social position, and are actively distrusted by some apes. There is also a remnant human population in the ruins, at first unaware of the ape/human group.

 We encounter shootin’ simians in the very first movie, and it continues on through the fifth.


Internet Movie Firearms Database

which I ran across while researching this question, identifies the rifle wielded by the gorillas as a modified M1 Carbine. In this society, gorillas are typically warriors, chimpanzees are scientists and intellectuals, and orangutans are bureaucrats and represent religion (although they can also be scientists).

While the gorillas are the most skilled with firearms, Lucius, Zira’s rebellious teenaged (chimpanzee) nephew, is also capable.

When Taylor asks Cornelius if they have any weapons, the relatively pacifistic ape replies that they have the best (guns).

It would be hard to argue that this movie favors gun control, but featuring gun use by apes? Absolutely.

In Beneath, the apes not only have the rifles from the first movie, but at least one submachine gun and pistols.

An interesting point in terms of relevance for the series: youth anti-war protesters, carrying signs, are confronted by soldiers in the street. The Kent State shootings occurred on May 4th of 1970…Beneath the Planet of the Apes was released on May 26th of that year. Obviously, the producers were unaware that the Ohio National Guard would shoot youthful anti-war protesters when they were filming the scene, but it does show an awareness of and commentary on current happenings.

Escape is the one of the movies where the apes are the least violent: only Zira and Cornelius, who have time traveled back, are around, and neither one of them is in favor of the use of force (although not completely opposed). Cornelius does use a handgun.

In Conquest, Zira and Cornelius’ son has been raised by a human, and seems to have much more human sensibilities, having been deprived of chimpanzee culture. That includes the use of firearms, which he does quite dramatically. When they are plotting revolution, Caesar manipulates an order which a non-speaking ape is to carry out for its owner to include ammunition for a gun…you don’t need more bullets if you don’t intend to fire.

Finally, in Battle, there is a clear reference to gun control. The apes have an armory, but even the leader, Caesar, has to ask permission (and provide justification) for using them. Mandemus, an orangutan, is “the conscience of Caesar”, and judges requests.

At one point in the movie, there is one of the largest exchanges of gunfire I’ve ever seen in a movie. The apes (led by Caesar, who certainly is using a firearm) shoot it out with humans from the city. This scene seems to go on for some time, with more bullets flying than I’ve seen in any World War II movie.

So guns, and gun control are not new to the Planet of the Apes series, which tackled such topics as animal rights’ groups, abortion, women’s rights, youthful rebellion, and what we would now consider to be the religious right.

Since that’s the case, why do so many writers seem to think that it was all silly fun and games?

Perhaps they were influenced by watching the live action TV series or the animated series…they may not even remember that, but they were both less provocative than the first five movies.

While the Lawgiver may have said that apes shall never kill apes, he never said that apes shall never shoot guns…

For more information on the Planet of the Apes series, see

At the time of writing, all five movies can also be seen as part of Amazon’s Prime movies, meaning that eligible Prime members can watch them at no additional cost.

Search for Planet of the Apes movies at Amazon (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Note: that search will have results which are not includes in Prime, incluing the Tim Burton/Mark Wahlberg version.

Join more than a thousand readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

My take on…Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

July 13, 2014

My take on…Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Hail, Caesar!

I’m a big time Planet of the Apes fan, as I explained in

My take on Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I even have a Planet of the Apes category on this blog.

In general, this latest movie was not a disappointment. Andy Serkis deserved (and got) top billing for the actor’s mocap (motion capture) performance as Caesar, the leader of the apes.

The effects are good (they clearly paid attention to hair moving…that’s a little thing, but it matters), even if the faces sometimes seem too brightly lit compared to the rest of the scene.

The script moved nicely, and had some clever twists to it.

It’s a big-time spectacle with an emotional center, which is just what you want in a summer blockbuster.


It was perhaps the most sexist movie I’ve seen in years.

I’m careful not to spoil things, so I’m going to give you a mild


I’m not going to reveal any key plot points, but I am going to mention a few things.

This movie not only failed

The Bechdel Test

it’s one named (human) female character was relegated to the kind of nurturing support you might expect in a 1950s mainstream movie (1950s science fiction was more advanced than this in how women are treated).

First, a quick note on the Bechdel Test.

There are a lot of ways to say it (for more information, see the link above), but to pass the test, a movie (or TV episode, or book, or other work of fiction) has to have three elements:

  1. There must be two or more named female characters in it
  2. Two female characters must have a meaningful conversation and
  3. The conversation has to be about something other than a man

You might be surprised with how many works fail this test.

Even when people define it more loosely than I did on the second point (some people say any conversation counts, including: “Where’s the printer?” “Over there.”), it’s still a disappointingly small percentage.

In the case of DotPotA, Ellie (played by Keri Russell), seems particularly stereotyped.

What does the character do?

  • When an important male character is working hard on an issue, she observers that he needs to eat, and offers him soup…much as June Cleaver might have done with Ward
  • When there is a dangerous situation happening, she stays back…and sends a character off like a soldier going to battle
  • Yes, she is important to the plot because of her medical skills…I don’t recall it ever being said that she is a doctor. Being a nurse can be equally important, but it is a stereotypically female role (that has changed a great deal in the real world, but I would say that many people with a diminishing opinion of women would still see it as a female role)
  • Her “maternal nature” (that term isn’t used in the movie, I’m just defining the observed behavior) is important in relationships between the humans and the apes
  • Does she come up with any ideas that affect the course of things? Does she lead? I don’t really recall either of those happening

There are stronger female characters among the apes, although they still don’t lead.

The only other human females I recall seeing are in crowd scenes.

I was honestly surprised to see that one of the three credited screenwriters was apparently a woman (Amanda Silver), but that may be my own expectations getting in the way…I wouldn’t expect a woman to write a script like this, but of course, there’s no reason that couldn’t happen.

Hopefully, the already announced third movie in this series will do better in this area.


The bottom line is that Andy Serkis’ performance is great (again) and Nick Thurston as Blue Eyes was another stand-out, the effects are good, the plot moves along…but the treatment (and lack of treatment) of female characters mars what would otherwise have been a very good movie. I can still recommend it, but with that reservation.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


Ends in 4: geeky anniversaries in 2014

January 10, 2014

Ends in 4: geeky anniversaries in 2014

Hey, little Ten Toes! Humans (at least those using the decimal system) like to observe anniversaries by the decade. This is a brief list of some of the geeky anniversaries happening this year. It is in no way comprehensive, and we certainly may add to it (and invite you to make suggestions by commenting on the post).

1964 was a particularly stand-out year for American geek-friendly television, as 1984 was for geek-friendly movies. We’ll also be observing the 40th anniversary of D&D in 2014.

One Hundred and Fiftieth anniversary (1864)


  • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

One Hundred and Twentieth anniversary (1894)


  • The People of the Mist by H. Rider Haggard

One Hundred and Tenth anniversary (1904)


  • An Impossible Voyage (and several others) (Georges Méliès)


  • The Food of the Gods by H.G. Wells
  • The Marvelous Land of Oz (the first sequel to The Wizard) by L. Frank Baum

One Hundredth anniversary (1914)


  • Gertie the Dinosaur (a very early animated movie)
  • The New Wizard of Oz (directed by L. Frank Baum)
  • The Patchwork Girl of Oz
  • Cinderella (with Mary Pickford)
  • Neptune’s Daughter
  • The Ghost Breaker
  • In the Year 2014
  • His Prehistoric Past (Charlie Chaplin)
  • The Primitive Man
  • A Christmas Carol (Charles Rock)
  • A Study in Scarlet (short)
  • A Trip to the Moon (not Méliès)


  • At the Earth’s Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Birth centennials

  • George Reeves (actor: Superman)
  • Alec Guinness (actor: Star Wars)
  • Jonathan Harris (actor: Lost in Space)
  • Kevin McCarthy (actor: Invasion of the Body Snatchers)
  • David Wayne (actor: Bat-villain)
  • William S. Burroughs (author)
  • Jeff Corey (actor: Star Trek)
  • Thurl Ravenscroft (voice artist: Disney)
  • Tod Andres (actor: Planet of the Apes)
  • James Van Allen (physicist)
  • Robert Wise (director, producer: Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
  • Ward Kimball (animator: Disney)
  • Desmond Llewelyn (actor: James Bond)
  • Clayton Moore (actor: The Lone Ranger)
  • Robert McCloskey (author, illustrator)
  • Jack Cardiff (cinematographer, director: The Mutations)
  • Kenneth More (actor: Journey to the Center of the Earth)
  • Jack Parsons (rocket scientist)
  • Jerry Siegel (comics: Superman)
  • Martin Gardner (author)
  • Jackie Coogan (actor: The Addams Family)
  • Richard Widmark (actor: The Swarm)
  • Tenzing Norgay (mountaineer)

Ninetieth anniversary (1924)


  • The Thief of Bagdad (Douglas Fairbanks)
  • Peter Pan
  • Siegried (directed by Fritz Lang)
  • Aelita: Queen of Mars
  • The Hands of Orlac
  • The Enchanted Cottage
  • The Last Man on Earth (Earle Foxe)
  • Dante’s Inferno
  • Alice’s Spooky Adventure (Walt Disney short)
  • Trip to Mars (Koko the Clown)


  • The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Eightieth anniversary (1934)


  • The Black Cat
  • Babes in Toyland (Laurel & Hardy)
  • Tarzan and His Mate
  • Men in Black…the only Three Stooges short to be nominated for an Oscar

Bufo’s Weird World

  • The “Surgeon’s Photograph” of the Loch Ness monster surfaces


  • Erewhon by Samuel Butler
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Seventieth anniversary (1944)


  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • The Uninvited
  • Captain America serial
  • House of Frankenstein
  • The Scarlet Claw (Sherlock Holmes)
  • The Lodger
  • Between Two Worlds
  • The Canterville Ghost (Charles Laughton)
  • The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse
  • It Happened Tomorrow
  • The Monster Maker
  • Black Magic (Charlie Chan)
  • Cobra Woman
  • The Return of the Vampire
  • The Invisible Man’s Revenge
  • Cry of the Werewolf
  • Jungle Woman (Acquanetta)
  • The Lady and the Monster
  • Gildersleeve’s Ghost

Sixtieth anniversary (1954)


  • Godzilla (USA release)
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon
  • Them!
  • Tobor the Great
  • Monster from the Ocean Floor (the first geeky movie Roger Corman produced)
  • Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • Brigadoon
  • The Naked Jungle (it’s a monster movie…it’s just that the monster is made up of many little organisms) 😉

Debuting TV series

  • Captain Midnight
  • Flash Gordon
  • Rocky Jones, Space Ranger


  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Comic book first appearances

  • Wendy the Good Little Witch

Bufo’s Weird World

  • The first big wave of humanoid sightings in conjunction with UFOs in the modern era occurs in France
  • Truman Betherum’s Aboard a Flying Saucer is released
  • The UFO Evidence by Richard H. Hall and NICAP

Fiftieth anniversary (1964)

1964 was a great year for television! Shows debuting that year include:

  • Bewitched
  • The Addams Family
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
  • Jeopardy
  • Flipper
  • Gilligan’s Island
  • The Munsters
  • Jonny Quest
  • Underdog
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
  • Stingray (supermarionation)
  • My Living Doll (Julie Newmar as a robot)
  • The Magilla Gorilla Show
  • The Peter Potamus Show
  • Hoppity Hooper
  • Linus the Lion Hearted
  • The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo (Magoo does the classics)
  • R3 (a now obscure science fiction show with Oliver Reed)

The Rankin-Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer debuted, and the Beatles set records appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show.


  • Mary Poppins
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • Santa Claus Conquers the Martians


  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Doctor Who and the Daleks by David Whitaker (the first Doctor Who novel)
  • Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Bantam begins reprinting the Doc Savage adventures
  • The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (the first book of the Chronicles of Prydain)

Fortieth anniversary (1974)


  • Blazing Saddles
  • Young Frankenstein
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  • The Man with the Golden Gun
  • Zardoz
  • Dark Star
  • Flesh Gordon
  • Phantom of the Paradise
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
  • Blood for Dracula (AKA Andy Warhol’s Dracula…the Udo Kier version)
  • It’s Alive (Larry Cohen’s killer baby movie)
  • Phase IV
  • The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat
  • The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
  • The Cars that Ate Paris (Peter Weir)
  • Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter
  • The Terminal Man
  • The Groove Tube

Debuting TV series

  • Land of the Lost
  • Planet of the Apes
  • The Six Million Dollar Man
  • Kolchak the Night Stalker
  • Shazam! (Captain Marvel)
  • Hong Kong Phooey
  • Happy Days (does it count? Well, arguably, Fonzie is supernatural ((or at least, a superhero)), but Mork & Mindy was also a spin-off) 😉

Toys & Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons (original version)


  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
  • Icerigger by Alan Dean Foster
  • The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Comic book first appearances

  • Wolverine
  • The Punisher
  • Iron Fist

Thirtieth anniversary (1984)


  • Ghostbusters
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • The Neverending Story
  • The Terminator
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
  • The Karate Kid
  • Gremlins
  • Revenge of the Nerds
  • Red Dawn
  • Dune
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Splash
  • This Is Spinal Tap
  • Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
  • Conan, the Destroyer
  • 1984 (the John Hurt version)
  • Children of the Corn
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  • Star Man
  • 2010
  • Top Secret!
  • The Last Starfighter
  • Repo Man
  • The Philadelphia Experiment
  • Supergirl
  • Firestarter
  • Night of the Comet
  • Sheena: Queen of the Jungle
  • The Toxic Avenger
  • The Muppets Take Manhattan
  • Runaway (Gene Simmons and robots versus Tom Selleck)
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night
  • The Ice Pirates (which my Significant Other has named the worst movie ever made)
  • C.H.U.D.
  • Dreamscape
  • Iceman
  • The Company of Wolves
  • All of Me
  • The Brother from Another Planet

Debuting TV series

  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)
  • V
  • Airwolf
  • Thomas (the tank engine) & Friends
  • Highway to Heaven
  • The Transformers
  • Voltron: Defender of the Universe
  • Muppet Babies
  • The Master
  • The Duck Factory
  • Rainbow Brite

Toys & Games

  • Chill
  • Toon


  • Neuromancer by William Gibson
  • Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart

Twentieth anniversary (1994)


  • The Lion King
  • Interview with the Vampire
  • The Mask
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  • The Crow
  • Stargate
  • Ed Wood
  • The Flintstones
  • Junior (Arnold Schwarzenegger…pregnant)
  • Frankenstein (the Robert De Niro version)
  • Street Fighter
  • Star Trek: Generations (Kirk and Picard)
  • The Pagemaster
  • Timecop
  • Wolf (Jack Nicholson)
  • The Shadow
  • Blankman

Debuting TV series

  • Babylon 5
  • Touched by an Angel
  • The Secret World of Alex Mack
  • Gargoyles
  • The Magic School Bus
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
  • Weird Science
  • Earth 2
  • Duckman
  • The Tick


  • Sony releases the Playstation in Japan
  • Earthworm Jim

Tenth anniversary (2004)


  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • The Incredibles
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • The Polar Express
  • The Butterfly Effect
  • The Village
  • 13 Going on 30
  • The Day After Tomorrow
  • Saw
  • Hellboy
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • The Grudge
  • Shark Tale
  • Team America: World Police
  • AVP: Alien Vs. Predator
  • Mysterious Skin
  • Catwoman
  • The Manchurian Candidate (Denzel Washington)
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
  • D.E.B.S.
  • Night Watch

Debuting TV series

  • Lost
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • The 4400
  • Phil of the Future
  • Bleach
  • Wonderfalls
  • Hex
  • The Batman
  • Ghost Hunters

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Geekspun: Planet of the Apes biopic wins Best Picture

February 25, 2013

Geekspun: Planet of the Apes biopic wins Best Picture

This one is for fun. 🙂 I’m reporting the Oscars last night through the prism of geek-colored glasses, hyperbolically focusing on the geek-friendly elements (referring to actors by their fantasy/science fiction characters, for example). A lot of “mundanes” 😉 think that geeks never see anything outside their own areas of interest. That one doesn’t go just for “fen”, though:

“Bobby Fisher is a man obsessed with the game of chess.  When someone talks to him about another subject, he will listen impatiently and then demand, ‘But what has that got do to with chess?’”
–John A. Keel
writing in The Eighth Tower
collected in The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations

Daredevil accepted the award for Best Picture for Argo, the biopic of legendary Hollywood makeup artist (and alleged Bigfoot faker), John Chambers. Similarly to Lincoln, the movie had focused on a small part of the historic figure’s life, to make it more comprehensible. Bringing Chambers’ story to the big screen in an accessible manner for mainstream audiences won screenwriter Chris Terrio an Oscar as well. William Goldenberg (The Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Puppet Masters) was also honored for editing the movie.

It was a good night for felines, with best acting honors going to Kat(niss) Everdeen, Catwoman, and the tiger Richard Parker (who beat out The Hulk and Gollum in the Visual Effects category, now part of the five acting awards).

Wolverine ironically lost to John Proctor, a victim of a literal witch hunt in The Crucible (as opposed to the metaphorical one against the mutants…who actually have what amounts to magical powers, so a witch hunt for them kinda makes sense).

Dinosaurs were no match for crouching dragons, as Ang Lee took best directing honors over Steven Spielberg.

While there were some rough moments (Susan Tyrell wasn’t broadcast in the In Memoriam segment, although did appear offscreen in the supplement), all was forgiven when William Shatner was given a special lifetime achievement Oscar for Unmatchable Shatness. At least, we think that’s what happened…we were watching The Dark Knight Rises on a handheld during that part.


This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Michael Clarke Duncan reported dead

September 4, 2012

Michael Clarke Duncan reported dead

Michael Clarke Duncan could easily have been typecast.

Just like his Oscar-nominated (and Saturn-winning) portrayal of John Coffey in the Stephen King adaptation, The Green Mile, Duncan did not let others define him.

Since his first appearance on screen in 1995, Duncan found success both in geek works and the mainstream, and on screen and as a voice artist.

Geek credits include:

  • Weird Science (TV series): Cardinal Carnage
  • Armageddon (as Bear)
  • Breakfast of Champions (Bruce Willis starred in this Vonnegut adaptation)
  • Star Trek: Klingon Academy (video game…Duncan voiced a Klingon)
  • Cats & Dogs
  • Planet of the Apes (Duncan played Attar in this Tim Burton update with Mark Wahlberg)
  • The Scorpion King (Balthazar)
  • Daredevil (Duncan was the Kingpin…he would also voice the character on Spider-Man)
  • George of the Jungle 2 (mean lion)
  • Brother Bear (Tug in this Disney animated movie…he’d repeat the role in the sequel)
  • Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time (he played Wade’s future self)
  • D.E.B.S. (schoolgirl spies)
  • George and the Dragon (James Purefoy, Piper Perabo)
  • Static Shock
  • Pursued (reunited with Estella Warren)
  • Crash Nebula
  • Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone (video game)
  • Racing Stripes
  • Teen Titans
  • Sin City (as Manute)
  • The Golden Blaze
  • Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone
  • The Island
  • Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (as the stork)
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (two appearances as Commander Baker)
  • The Land Before Time XI
  • The Suffering: Ties That Bind (video game)
  • Minoriteam (his “Balactus” destroyed the home world of a main character in this Adult Swim parody)
  • Air Buddies (yes, in the Air Bud series)
  • The Last Mimzy
  • Loonatics Unleashed (Massive)
  • Slipstream
  • Family Guy (including voicing Fozzie Bear)
  • God of War II (video game)
  • Kung Fu Panda (Commander Vachir)
  • Chuck (Colt)
  • The Slammin’ Salmon
  • Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (Balrog)
  • Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (returning as Sam)
  • The Sibling
  • Bones and the spin-off, The Finder
  • Green Lantern (voiced Kilowog)
  • Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit
  • Annoying Orange (the Marshmallow King)

Good-bye, Michael Clarke Duncan…the world is a little less easy-going without you.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

Chronology of the Planet of the Apes

August 9, 2011

Chronology of the Planet of the Apes

This weekend, I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

My involvement with the franchise goes back considerably before that, though. I thought it might be interesting to show some of the chronology*, which began close to fifty years ago.

1963: La Planète des Singes by Pierre Boulle is first published in French in Paris by Juillard. There are significant differences between this and the first movie, but significant elements are preserved (including some character names)

June 1963: An American hardback is published by Vanguard Press, with a translation by Xan Fielding. This version is entitled Planet of the Apes

As early as 1963, Rod Serling begins adapting the book as a screenplay

January 1964: A British hardback (using Fielding’s translation) is published under the title Monkey Planet by Secker & Warburg. Apparently, the word “singes” in French is like “non-human primate” in English…it doesn’t specify apes or monkeys

November 1964: Signet publishes a US paperback copy for fifty cents

1965: Serling submits his script. It will be two years before the funding is raised. Michael Wilson, another screenwriter, also works on the script

1966: Penguin publishes a paperback version (still called Monkey Planet) in England

Up until this point, it doesn’t seem to have made a mainstream impact in the US.  There were a couple of reviews in the 1960s before the movie.

May 1967: Filming begins

February 8, 1968: The movie debuts in New York

April 3, 1968: The movie opens wide in the US. It becomes the third biggest US grossing movie of the year, behind 2001: A Space Odyssey and Romeo and Juliet

1969: John Chambers receives an honorary Oscar for his make-up work on the Planet of the Apes movie

1970: Gold Key releases a one-shot comic book of Beneath the Planet of the Apes

May 26, 1970: The second movie, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, opens wide in the US. It isn’t anywhere near as successful as the first movie in the US, but that doesn’t stop the sequels

July 1970: a novelization of Beneath the Planet of the Apes by Michael Avallone is released

May 21, 1971: Escape from the Planet of the Apes is released, with Roddy McDowell returning to the series

June 30, 1972: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is released

June 15, 1973: Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the last of the original series is released in the US. It’s profitable, since it reportedly cost under $2 million to produce (it made about $9 million in the USA…at the time, that’s a good showing)

1973: The “Go Ape” movie marathons show all five movies in movie theatres

1974: Milton Bradley introduces a Planet of the Apes board game

January 1974: A novelization of Escape from the Planet of the Apes by well-known science fiction author Jerry Pournelle is released in paperback by Award

February 1974: A novelization of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes by John Jakes (North and South) is released in paperback by Award

Summer 1974: Mego introduces its line of Planet of the Apes toys

August 1974: Marvel begins a comic book series with original stories…it runs 29 issues, ending in February 1977

September 13, 1974: The live-action TV series, called just Planet of the Apes, debuts. It will last until December of 1974, with some episodes re-cut into TV movies

September 6, 1975: The animated series debuts…it will last until November 29, 1975

October 1975: Marvel begins a comic book adaptation of the first two  movies.  It runs for 11 issues, ending in December 1976′

September 6, 1998: American Movie Classics celebrates the 30th anniversary of the first movie, and shows a new documentary, Behind the Planet of the Apes

July 27, 2001: The Tim Burton version is released in the USA: it grosses over $180 million in that country, and over $360 million worldwide, on a budget of about $100 million. Rick Baker leads the make-up team…and doesn’t get an Oscar nomination

September 19, 2001: Ubi Soft introduces a Planet of the Apes videogame for PC

November 21, 2001: Ubi Soft introduces a Planet of the Apes videogame for GameBoy

September 2001: Dark Horse comics begins a new comic book series

August 5, 2011: Rise of the Planet of the Apes opens in the US, using motion capture rather than makeup. It is the number one movie of the weekend and gets good reviews

There you go! I couldn’t find a year that Don Post introduced their Planet of the Apes masks (I had one), but it was in the 1970s. I was a bit surprised not to find an official Planet of the Apes role-playing game…that seems like a natural, with different character types and abilities. I found quite a bit of discussion of the idea, though. I haven’t listed many reprints of the novel: you can get more detailed information in the links below. Do you have a nostalgic memory of PotA? Feel free to let me know.


Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB) on PotA

Big Comic Book Database listing for PotA

Hunter’s Planet of the Apes Archives

Planet of the Apes Wiki at Wikia

The 6 Best (and 6 Most Ridiculous) Pieces of Planet of the Apes Merchandise

PotA Wikia on Ubi Soft PC game

Board Game Geek

Mego Museum

Planet of the Apes Wikia on the Ubi Soft GameBoy game


* Note: for a chronology of the events within the Planet of the Apes stories (caution: here be spoilers!), see


This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

My take on Rise of the Planet of the Apes

August 7, 2011

My take on Rise of the Planet of the Apes

My Significant Other (SO)  and I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes today.

We approach this very differently.

I’m a fan of the original movies. How much of a fan? I once saw all five movies in a theatre…in one day…in an ape suit. I’ve watched the live-action TV series, and the animated TV series. I even started to write an episode for the live-action series.

My SO? Never seen one of the movies…not even the first one.

Here’s the good thing about the new movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes: we both liked it. 🙂

If you are a fan like I am, you’ll notice a lot of nods to the old movies…but amazingly, they didn’t stand out to my SO. When someone says a classic line (in a possibly different context), it still belongs in the scene.

I’m very careful about spoilers, but I can mention a thing or two that doesn’t hurt. For example, an orangutan is called Maurice. That’s a reference to Maurice Evans, who played Dr. Zaius (an orangutan) in the original movie. Another ape is named “Cornelia”, but someone first calls her “Cornelius”…a reference to the character played by Roddy McDowell in the first movie (and he returned to the role later).

So, you don’t have to be a fan or a non-fan to enjoy Rise of the Planet o the Apes.

The acting is solid. I didn’t think James Franco (who I often think is amazing) brought anything special to this. Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies) really impressed me. His American accent was impeccable,  and my SO didn’t even recognize him. David Hewlett from Stargate SG-1 has a nice character part, and Brian Cox brings his typical strength.

Andy Serkis (Gollum in the Lord of the Ring movies) has a great performance as Caesar, who is arguably the main character. We do see his performance…there is a lot of misunderstanding about motion capture. I’ve heard Andy Serkis interviewed on NPR, and the interviewer asked Serkis about motion capture performances being nominated for Oscars. His response was good, and reasonable. The director cuts the movie with the actor’s performance: just like the director would do with any performance. The effects that transform the character are added afterwards.

We never see an actor’s performance the way it was done…there is always editing, for example. Why should motion capture be any different?

The movie was moving and exciting. It was the best geeky movie we’ve seen this summer: better than Thor, Pirates, Green Lantern, and Captain America. My SO said Bridesmaids is still up there. 🙂

I think this is going to be a big weekend. RotPotA (great initialism!) should do quite well, The Change-Up will do okay, Harry Potter, Smurfs, and Captain America will keep doing business.

Have you seen Rise? Without spoilers, what did you think?


I did want to mention that this movie, while outside of the storyline of the original movies, has a reasonable way for the apes to have become more intelligent. That was always a weakness to me in the first movie…there wasn’t enough time for that type of evolution. In this movie, it’s due to human experimentation, and that makes more sense. In a significant plot point, one o the experimental chimps is pregnant…and the staff doesn’t know. That seems unlikely to me, although possible. One would also assume the ape would have been necropsied…and the recent delivery would have been apparent then, if not recognized for its significance. Not a big deal, though.

Some references to the original movies:

  • Caesar is the self-chosen name of the chimp leader of the rebellion in the third, fourth, and fifth movies
  • In Rise, we hear news stories about the loss of the Icarus probe. While that isn’t the official name in the first movie, it’s become an accepted reference to the space craft that brings Charlton Heston’s character to the Planet of the Apes
  • Tom Felton’s character says the classic lines, “Take your hands off me, you damned dirty ape” and “It’s a madhouse!”
  • As mentioned above, Maurice is used as the name of an orangutan, in reference to Maurice Evans. The orangutan signs that it is from a circus: a circus is key in the original chronology
  • The first scene in Rise is similar to a scene in the original movie…with the roles of apes and humans reversed
  • The use of firehoses and a “cattle-prod” like device occur in both the original movies and Rise
  • A gorilla wants to be violent towards a human and a chimp disagrees: that matches the original movies, where the gorillas were warriors, the chimps were scientists, and the orangutans were administrators
  • Caesar’s mother in Rise is called “Bright Eyes”…as was Charlton Heston’s character in the original movie
  • The action takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area in Rise…which is also the case in the last of the original Planet of the Apes movies
I’m sure there were other references as well. Oh, I do remember an ape raising a weapon in defiance in this movie, and how it reminded me of something in the first movies.
All in all, I think it is worth seeing, and may spawn a sequel (if not four). I suspect it will do pretty well, certainly breaking 100 million (I’d think 150 is a comfortable guess, and 200 is possible).
For more information on the original Planet of the Apes (including the movies, TV series, books, and more), see my later post, Chronology of the Planet of the Apes

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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