2001-07-12

Don't even think about it.The premier of the new Planet of the Apes movie is just a couple of weeks away now, and the excitement is running high here at the Fortress of Surlitude.

As I mentioned before, this is not a remake of the original movie; it’s a “re-imagining” from director Tim Burton. It won’t fit into the continuity of the original five film–though I know some of you will try to force it to.

How do I know this? Because that’s what people do. As proof, here’s A Chronological History of the Planet of the Apes. Originally published in 1975 in Marvel Comic‘s Planet of the Apes comic magazine, the chronology attempted to unite the original films, the Planet of the Apes TV show and the Marvel Comic series into one continuity. Not only has this chronology been reproduced on more than one Web site, but people have actually embellishing the damn thing, so that it now incorporates the Planet of the Apes Saturday morning cartoon.

The problem is that each element of the franchise operates according to its own rules. In the original film, humans can’t talk; in the TV series, they can. In the live-action TV show, the apes have only primitive technology; in the cartoon, they have airplanes and jeeps. If you want to believe that all these stories take place in the same continuity, you’ve got to do a lot of rationalization. But of course, someone’s always up for the task.

Just as loopy are attempts to explain the franchise’s contradictions by positing alternate universes.

That’s how I know someone’s bound to try to fit together this year’s model with the classic film. Note: If you come up with some theory about how Helena Bonham Carter’s chimp character is really the great-grandparent of Roddy McDowall, or vice versa, please do NOT send it to me.

One thing that didn’t make it into the Marvel Comic’s chronology: Pierre Boulle’s original 1963 novel “La Planete des Singes” (Monkey Planet). Oh well. The idea that apes could speak English is pretty fantastic; the idea that apes could speak French is just ridiculous.

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