Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Funny, now that I know they won't kill me, I don't enjoy them

Today I watched Conquest of the Planet of the Apes on DVD. In the fourth installment in the Apes series, set in the exciting and futuristic year 1991, the apes are finally starting to take over, and I couldn't be happier about it. It's about time us smelly, hairy creatures get some respect around here! Even this far into the future Ricardo Montalbán still runs an old-fashioned circus, where he's been keeping his little talking chimp a secret for 18 years. He takes young Caesar (aka Milo) to hand out pamphlets or something in this big bright city where chimps and gorillas function as furry, flea-ridden slaves, and manages to get arrested for not calling the cops "lousy human bastards". In order to blend in with the rest of his simian friends Caesar breaks into a cage of orangutans, a species we don't really see much more of in this movie. Once he lands a government job in an auction and learns about the full extent of the anti-monkey atrocities, he starts a rather violent ape revolution that takes up most of the film's last half hour and ends with a heartfelt promise to take control of the planet away from the stinkin' paws of those damn dirty humans. I guess all that rioting is supposed to teach us something about racism in America during the '60s and '70s, but history was never one of my strong suits, so I can't really be sure of it. I think it had something to do with getting better seats on buses or something. I couldn't even be bothered with the obvious in-your-face political message in Avatar, so I'm pretty sure that any subtleties here beyond how slavery is not cool went right over my head. The real interesting part for me was where the authorities set Caesar up with this cute little female chimp he's had his eye on before. They bring him up to her cage, where she's lying there on the bed in this obviously sexy position, and basically order him to go forth and multiply. I found it absolutely hilarious how he got this look on his little monkey face, like, "I don't usually bone hot chimp chicks on command in front of strangers, but hey, when in Rome!" How does that sort of thing even work? I mean, he's an intelligent talking chimp whose parents came from the future, while she's not much more than a dumb animal. Wouldn't it be like a modern man having sex with an alluring yet mentally retarded broad? Oh, I'm sorry, that's exactly what Chuck Heston did with Nova in the first movie, so I guess it's OK. Experts say that the even-numbered Apes movies are the crappier of the five, but I liked Conquest just fine, even more so than I did back when I watched it on VHS. And if my memory serves me right, Battle is the real stinker of the bunch. I guess I'll get to that one too at some point, possibly sometime in my fourth decade. Yay?

Olivia Thirlby was born 14 years after Conquest came out

This morning I also finished watching Bored to Death, and I don't have much to say about it other than that it was really cool and interesting and funny and well-made and that everybody in it was really great and that Ted Danson seems to only get handsomer with age and that I would really like to see much, much more of Olivia Thirlby in the future, though she doesn't really look like the type of person who gets drunk enough to forget to wear underwear and then let strangers take photos of her getting in and out of cars, so I guess I'll never be able to see as much of her as I'd like to.

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