Monday, August 07, 2017


I went to see the new Planet of the Apes movie, much in the same way that I felt compelled to go see the new Spider Man movie. I'm a fan, okay? Not that either one carried a particular stigma or an embarrassment to my family and friends. Lots of people went to see both of them. Seriously. Not just nerd-types like me.
Oops. What a giveaway. "Nerd-types like me."
Yes, I saved up my nickels and dimes and dollars until I got to fifty and could go buy my very own official Planet of the Apes gorilla mask. I went with the gorilla because Cornelius just seemed a little too on the nose and the orangutan was never going to be as convincing. Once I got home, I realized that if I wanted to move the mouth effectively, I needed to stuff newspaper in the back to force my face into the front. I also invested a couple dollars in eye-liner which I used to approximate the skin tone around my eyes to match. Sometimes I even brushed "hair" on the back of my hands to give me that real ape-y look.
Nerd-type. By this time, I had already bored my friends to tears recreating scenes from the five original films, centering primarily on Escape, since that had the fewest ape parts and the most concerned humans. There was a little more enthusiasm among the guys in my neighborhood for reenacting Conquest, since that played out more like a war movie. I couldn't get many takers for a staging of Battle. Ape-interest had dropped off to next to nothing by that time.
Except for me. I kept watching the TV show. And drinking my orange juice out of my Planet of the Apes plastic mug. I waited for the Apes renaissance that I was sure would come. It was around this time that my parents asked if a family friend might borrow that gorilla mask. Against most of my better instincts, I allowed this to happen. I even sent along some hints about how to really maximize the mask's potential.
The mask never came back. There was some sad story about it being stolen from the back of the car, but it didn't matter. By this time, the magic shop where I had made my purchase had closed, and finding a replacement without Al Gore's Internet was next to impossible. I reconciled myself to a life without a gorilla mask.
That didn't douse the fire I held in my heart for the franchise. I raced out to see Tim Burton's re-vision and massive disappointment in 2001. Mark Wahlberg was better off staring at giant transforming robots than trying to make sense out of this mess.
Then they started making movies with computer generated imagery. No more masks. And they went back to the beginning. Well, sort of, since the beginning of the first five films is really almost the end and the end comes when the planet blows up but three chimpanzees escape and come back to earth to start the whole loop over again.
I enjoyed the new Planet of the Apes movie. I won't bore you with the story about the Spider Man costume I had my mom make for me. When I was in high school.

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