War for The Planet of The Apes –POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD–
Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with a human Special Forces unit led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer from two bloody assaults, Caesar wrestles with his inner-demons and begins his own mission to find revenge. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.
Planet of the Apes
Ever since I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I was hooked. Rise took a radically different route than it’s horrendous 2001 predecessor. Rise took a more methodical route that lets you know that it’s our planet this take place on, and how. Instead of having apes already existing as apex sapient beings on this planet, this trilogy explores the idea of sapient apes being accidentally created by man and their struggles to survive us, versus a set of astronauts stumbling onto an ape planet. With that being said, I don’t think it’s fair to compare this trilogy with its 1968 ancestor.
In 1968, the apes were already in charge of a whole planet, with politics that would rival the Roman Empire. In this series, the apes are struggling to survive. To put it in Star Wars terms, the apes were the empire in 1968; they are the Resistance in 2017. With that being said on perspective, I don’t think it’s fair to compare this with the first movie.
Butter Biscuit, Tanooki Apes?
The movie begins with the fact that there’s actually apes who work directly with the humans. I was astonished to see this, because honestly as an anti-racism photographer/writer/speaker who loves movies more than you love candy yams, this seemed like something I would inject in this movie myself. The movie was written by Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves, two white men. How awoke (that’s “woke”) are these guys? When I saw the gorilla named Red in the movie, hand the humans ammunition and taking direction to kill his own kind, the first thing I thought of is David Clarke (and yes, he’s a thing at this point).
From a metaphorical standpoint, this is precisely what a LOT of black people do in America. I mean, really — a lot. A lot. Of Black. People. Do This. In this movie universe I can only imagine to psychological trauma that Caesar’s apes suffer, seeing their fellow apes take up arms against them, doing everything possible to thwart their own survival. Hold up — I’m a Black man in America — shit, this is my reality.
Okay, I personally know Caesar’s pain. If you are a black person who seeks to end, demolish — abolish — racist institutions and practices in America, you’re going to know Caesar’s pain too. Such apes in this movie are called “donkeys”, and have the word donkey spray painted on their backs. From there, I’ll have to thank Mark and Matt for giving me another name to call toxic blacks who stay gaslighting the rest of us. In movie, the name is given to these apes because of the video game character, Donkey Kong. Yeah, Soldiers in real life would do that.
This movie is so “Woke” it had a “White Fragility Gorilla”
In the movie, you’ll learn early that there’s a white gorilla in this movie. “Winter”, is an albino gorilla who starts off being a trusted member of Caesar’s Army. Winter, totally sapient as the rest of the apes, has a confidence problem. Winter severely doubts Caesar’s plans for freedom and justice, and from there, Winter betrays Caesar’s Army.
Long story short, Winter chooses “comfort” over freedom and justice, and betrays Caesar and the rest of the apes. Winter, with his categorically white ass, gets a couple of core players killed for his treachery.
The fact that Winter exist in this movie is priceless — Winter is the embodiment of white fragility. “Winter”, technically is another name for, in my eye, “Snowflake”. And we know how fragile those are. The concept of a winter, is a collection of snowflakes, so imagine how fragile this character is.
Winter, is your standard issue snowflake that initially entered the fight, but due to the white fragility that goes unchecked because he denies it’s existence (despite being an “ally”), Winter will betray you. Winter chooses comfort over the struggle. Winter, is the white toxic liberal or rank-and-file white conservative, take your pick; he’s the white guy in the struggle. Make no mistake, Winter is your “white ally”, your Snowtep. Your white chick who decides that they are the “first (white) sister of black women”. Or black men. Winter is the one who shows up to the Black Lives Matter protest (or worse, only posts on Facebook), and wants cookies for simply showing up.
I don’t know about how “woke” the writers were of this movie, but I tend to see things far beyond what’s intended — it’s a trait that makes me a great photographer. The writers might have decided to name this character Winter because he’s literally the “white one”. Me? I simply see more… I see a white gorilla (guerilla) who, like the smoking majority of whites in America, chooses comfort over justice. His name, “Winter”, is fitting not because of his ivory white fur, but because of the “cold shoulder” he turns towards the struggle for justice, freedom, and the right to exist.
Red in a way, reminds Winter that there’s a place among the oppressors that include preferential treatment. You’re not as free and respected as the core humans, but hey, at least those powerful humans don’t see you as a threat.
Red, the ape who was, movie universe, pre-existing working with the humans against the apes, has a special meaning in my critical eye as well. “Red”, perhaps as an unintended cinematic device, represents the Irish in America.
“Red”, technically on metaphorical terms, exists as the Irish immigrants who, quickly decided to engage America as the slave patrols, and then the law enforcement who oppress, suppress, and persecute Blacks in America. The fact that many immigrant to this day join the American public in it’s Afrophobia is worthy of it’s own column.
Red is the ape that gives Winter a way out. Red in a way, reminds Winter that there’s a place among the oppressors that include preferential treatment. You’re not as free and respected as the core humans, but hey, at least those powerful humans don’t see you as a threat. In universe, I imagine that Caesar was right; after everything’s said and done, the humans will kill their helper-hand, “domesticated-for-combat” apes.
Winter, along with Red, represents a another concept of people in America — the black cop. In movie-universe, painting “donkey” on their backs might actually be a highly effective measure, better than real life even, being that since the words are so bold on their backs, they are not going to be shot and killed by their human handlers.
Maybe police should paint “donkey” on the backs of real life black cops. Afterall, numerous black cops, and other members of the system get murdered by their racial profiling too. The “donkey” designation can also be the ridiculously Stockholmed black confederate types, as well as black republican or black conservative, due to the fact that it’s easier to be a pet to white supremacy than it is to be their prey. Many black people engage politics like this for self-preservation purposes, like like Winter and Red in this movie.
In the movie, Caesar kills Winter, the direct traitor, while seeking to turn the pre-existing donkey, Red. A lot of this movie had Caesar and Red looking each other directly in the eye, with Caesar trying to turn Red into one of the heroes. Caesar’s interactions with Red is a perfect description of my own interactions with black conservatives and black republicans.
The Little White Girl, Nova
In the movie, Maurice the orangutan, always the most compassionate ape out of Caesar’s crew, convinces Caesar to look after the white girl who cannot speak.
The moral of the story? White people need to shut the fuck up, in order to hang out with us.
As a matter of fact, the fact that the humans were getting silenced, was a crucial part of the movie plot. The villain, played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson, has a categorically immense fear of being muted, technically. When his character, Colonel McCullough, knows a human in his own Army is silenced, he kills them. This silencing of the humans seems to be contagious due to a Simian Flu mutation so technically, Colonel McCullough views every ape as a biological weapon against humanity. While there’s human forces who figures this issue can be solved through medical science, McCullough goes rogue and decides he’s going to use his Special Forces Soldiers to kill all apes, and all muted humans.
“All of human history has led to this moment. The irony is that we created you and nature has been punishing us ever since. This is our last stand and if we lose, it will be a planet of apes.” ~ Colonel McCullough
There’s definitely a hidden message on the fact that we have a white man being afraid of being silenced. From my analytical lens, Colonel McCullough represents the American conservative, the alt-reich, the neo-nazi, the neo-confederate, the Richard Spencer, the Steve Bannon. The Colonel is practically Alex Jones, Hannity or Limbaugh with an army, ranting and raving about a fictional “white genocide”. The Colonel views muted humans as lesser, primitive beings, so when he loses his own ability to speak, he is left with a very difficult decision, which reflects the same logic slave handlers had when they realized that there slaves were going to be free.
The way Col. McCullough kills silenced humans reminds me of the ignorant hatred American white conservatives have for white liberals, or simple anyone who isn’t conservative. Conservatives do in fact act like anyone who they deem as a “liberal” is a lesser form of a human being. I’ve watched conservatives demonize liberals for years — and it worked. Liberals don’t even want to be liberal anymore. While there’s numerous toxic white liberals, liberals still are the ones who are more likely to get it, and then shut up, so yes, killing muted humans was analog to killing liberals who were in a better position to question and perhaps challenge white supremacy.
Overall, Col. McCullough’s fear of apes is analog to white America’s fear of Afro-Americans. In white supremacist circles, the idea that black people are technically biological weapons against whites is a thing that they pass around. White people who are central to modern day American conservatism, which is, by the way — extreme — genuinely believe that their existence is threatened by the existence of people of color.
Beyond the Abolitionist’s Lens
One of the things that makes this movie is the special effects. There was a time when special effect were the more fantastical things in a movie, such as the liquid metal guy or a giant laser from an alien craft. These days, special effects can cover main characters, and this movie doesn’t let down. I imagine the folks in charge of casting had the actors watch hours of real apes’ movement, breathing, communicating, etc. Gone are the days of rubber-faced apes. Today, these apes really do look, sound, gesture, breathe, and move like apes. I really enjoy how this series take the real presence of apes and essentially give them humanity. Watching Caesar, Rocket, Bad Ape and Maurice throughout the movie was an incredible experience.
The movie score done pretty well too. There were dry moments in the movie when characters were en route to another location, but overall this movie is a must-see.
Go see this movie.