Thursday 20 August 2020

Room 207 Press Seminars #10: Your Move, Darwin – humanity, hope and meaning on the Planet of the Apes

Some science fiction franchises are more evolved than others. 

When Disney announced the acquisition of Fox, one of the big surprises was the announcement that plans were afoot to revive the Planet of the Apes franchise. First very loosely adapted from Philip “Bridge on the River Kwai” Boulle's novel La Planete des Singes, the story of an idealistic misanthrope stranded on a planet where evolution had taken a sideways lurch became notorious for having one of the greatest twist endings in history, a genre-defying mindbender that turns boilerplate space opera into something strange, disturbing and thought-provoking. A run of poetically scripted sequels and two TV series followed, both retreading the original tale, but more pertinently exploring how we get from a planet of humans to here. Revived by Tim Burton in 2001 and then with a run of three perverse, thrilling and hairy prequels from 2014 through 2017, the enduring low-key popularity of the series seems to defy all received wisdom: with a movie series that invites us to root for the end of human rule is anything but monkey see, monkey do. 

It seems bananas that Planet of the Apes might have endured for so long. What is it about these adventures that strikes such a chord with viewers? Why do these films tell us so much about ourselves? 

On Monday, I'l be asking just that in the next Room 207 Press Seminar. As ever, backers of my Patreon get a free ticket to this, and access to the videos of all previous seminars. 

It runs twice, as usual, at 8pm BST and then at 8pm Eastern Daylight Time (US/Canada). The ticket gets you into either or both sessions.