Saturday, February 26, 2022

Disney’s “Planet of the Apes”

Part of the Walt Disney Company's buyout of Fox movie assets includes "Planet of the Apes", that is being developed for director Wes Ball ("Maze Runner") as the first of a new 'POTA' film franchise, adapting the original novel "Monkey Planet" (1963) by French author Pierre Boulle:

In the Boulle story: "...a rich couple sailing alone in space, 'Jinn' and 'Phyllis', rescue and translate a manuscript from a floating bottle. The manuscript was written by journalist 'Ulysse Mérou', who in the year 2500 was invited by wealthy 'Professor Antelle' to accompany him and his disciple, physician 'Arthur Levain', to 'Betelgeuse'.

"Because they travel close to the speed of light, time dilation causes centuries to pass on Earth during their two years in transit. They land their shuttle on a temperate, lushly forested planet which they name 'Soror' (Latin for 'sister'). They can breathe the air, drink the water and eat the fruit. Attracted by a lovely golden naked woman whom they call 'Nova', they swim below a scenic waterfall. She is frightened by their pet chimpanzee 'Hector' and strangles him. Then her tribe, who exhibit the behavior of dumb animals, wreck the newcomers' clothing and shuttle.

"Suddenly gorillas, fully dressed as hunters, attack the tribe with firearms. Arthur Levaine is killed. Ulysse is captured with the other survivors and brought to an entire city populated by apes. Ape clothing matches that of 20th century Earth humans, except that the apes wear gloves instead of shoes on their prehensile feet.

"The apes smoke tobacco, photograph their hunting trophies, drink through straws and appear utterly civilized. Their society is divided into three strata: aggressive gorilla police and military, conservative orangutan politicians/religious authorities, and liberal chimpanzee scientists.

"In an urban biological research facility, Ulysse recognizes the 'Pavlovian' conditioning being used on captured humans. Then he is mated with Nova. Curious chimpanzee researcher 'Zira' takes an interest in his geometric drawings and his ability to speak a few simian words. With help from Zira's fiancé, 'Cornélius', an archaeologist, Ulysse makes a speech in front of several thousand apes. He is granted freedom and is given tailored clothing. Antelle reverts to primitive humanity in the zoo and is moved to the laboratory for safety, where he is mated to a young female.

"Cornélius excavates an ancient human city. An unconscious human lab subject recites from racial memory the events that led to the fall of human civilization.