BOSTON (CBS) – I escaped from the rain yesterday by going to the movies, and being a longtime fan of the “Planet of the Apes” movies, I checked out the new one, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” without much in the way of expectations beyond apes and air-conditioning.
But my expectations were exceeded – and so, apparently, were Hollywood’s.
It was the number one movie this weekend, and one industry analyst quoted in the Globe said “It just shows you it’s nearly impossible to track what audiences like today. It’s just really hard to figure out what they want.”
Listen to Jon’s commentary
I think the boffo box office for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” drops some clear hints about what people want.
First of all, action, with or without apes but, preferably, with.
But along with that, how about a story line and message with some intelligence to it?
The first “Planet of the Apes” movie 43 years ago, like a lot of science-fiction movies of that era, explored the potential consequences of nuclear war on earth. “
Rise of the Planet of the Apes” raises timely questions about our faith in science.
This movie makes you think about brutality, and revenge.
Abused by humans, the apes rise up and give us a taste of our own medicine in bloody fashion.
But the lead ape has scruples; he steps aside to let others commit the worst of the violence.
So while the apes do show more mercy than the movie’s human villains, this isn’t a simple good mammal/bad mammal drama, but instead raises the question – how much different are we?
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” also deals with issues of greed, placing profits over compassion, and over-zealous pursuit of miracle cures to all our problems.
“There are some things you just can’t fix,” a character in the film points out.
If this movie’s success gives Hollywood a clue about what we want more of, that would be one less thing that needs fixing.
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