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Rise of The Planet of the Apes; Movie Review From a Progressive Angle

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This was an excellent movie-- entertaining, riveting, stimulating, smart-- smarter  than some of the past episodes in the series. It has stayed the top selling movie the second weekend it ran. 

I have an unusual relationship with the movie. I read the original 1963 novel, by Pierre Boulle and it was the first time I ever said to myself, "this book should be made into a movie." So, when it came out in 1968, I cut class for the first time in my life to see it on the opening day. 

This is the first time that the apes in the film are digitally created and that makes a big difference.  Actor Andy Serkis does a brilliant job portraying Caesar, the first ape to be infected with the genetically engineered retrovirus that makes apes smarter. 

Watching the movie reminded me of Daniel Quinn's book, Ishmael, which has as its main character, a genius ape who gets the reader thinking about man's place on the planet, among all the other creatures. 

The movie unfolds Caesar's gradual awakening as an intelligent being. He decides he should ride in the back seat of the station wagon, not the back of it. He starts to put things together to understand his roots, the ways he's not treated right. 

He looks around him at the primate facility he's put into and sees chimps, orangutangs, apes, gorillas-- all acting brutishly, screaming and yelling-- kind of like tea partiers. He sees the apes entertained by violence-- by ape on ape or by the human guard, portrayed by Tom Felton, who played evil Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. 

Finally, Caesar takes action and wakes up his fellow apes, organizes and leads them to freedom. It takes some script magic to make that happen. 

Watching the movie, I was totally sympathetic with the apes. They were mistreated, abused, oppressed, downtrodden-- kind of like most of the humans on this planet. 

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The thing is, with humans, you don't have to raise their IQs. You just have to raise their consciousness-- make them aware of the power they possess, the injustices they are suffering and the possibilities that they can free themselves and, if necessary, fight back. For humans who are oppressed, the problem is not other humans. It is corporations. 

Once Caesar figured things out, he helped his oppressed fellows to reach for and find freedom.  

It was an interesting surprise to see Slumdog Millionaire actress Frieda Pinto play a major role in this latest Apes flick, since I'd seen her star in a smaller movie, Miral , about a Palestinian Israeli girl's waking up to awareness of the injustices heaped upon the Palestinians-- one of the few movies with top actors (Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave) that explore the maltreatment of the Palestinians. Pinto is a rising star who could easily give Angelina Jolie competition as the next generation Femme Fatale yet could also play the kinds of nuanced roles Annette Benning has played.  Rise of The Planet of the Apes

This was an excellent movie-- entertaining, riveting, stimulating, smart-- smarter  than some of the past episodes in the series. 

I have an unusual relationship with the movie. I read the original 1963 novel, by Pierre Boulle and it was the first time I ever said to myself, "this book should be made into a movie." So, when it came out in 1968, I cut class for the first time in my life to see it on the opening day. 

- Advertisement -

This is the first time that the apes in the film are digitally created and that makes a big difference.  Actor Andy Serkis does a brilliant job portraying Caesar, the first ape to be infected with the genetically engineered retrovirus that makes apes smarter. 

Watching the movie reminded me of Daniel Quinn's book, Ishmael, which has as its main character, a genius ape who gets the reader thinking about man's place on the planet, among all the other creatures. 

The movie unfolds Caesar's gradual awakening as an intelligent being. He decides he should ride in the back seat of the station wagon, not the back of it. He starts to put things together to understand his roots, the ways he's not treated right. 

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

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Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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