Friday, December 30, 2011

Rise of the Communist Apes?


When re-watching "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" on DVD earlier this month, many of the scenes in the movie made me think of Vladimir Lenin, and especially one of his most famous--and important--polemics, What Is To Be Done?

This Summer 2011 movie is a prequel to the 1968 classic, "Planet of the Apes," that explains how it is that earth's apes evolved their human-like intelligence to later become the dominant species on the planet: Turns out it was just an accident by scientists who were doing experiments on apes as they tried to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease.

One of the unforeseeable consequences from the drug is that it's passed down genetically, and that's how we get the main (ape) character in the film, Caesar, whose mother was experimented on. Caesar is born--almost secretly--in the lab and is sneaked out by the drug's creator, Will Rodman (James Franco) who, in turn, raises him like a child.

However, an unfortunate string of events occur that result in Caesar getting taken away from his human family and locked-up in an ape sanctuary where he starts to yearn for freedom and equality for him and the other apes. Caesar quickly realizes though that he cannot organize his fellow apes while in their current form, so he escapes one night to get canisters of the drug that he inherited to give to the other apes. This, to me, was an allegory of what Lenin said regarding class-consciousness coming to the proletariat from "without," from "educated representatives of the propertied classes." From What Is To Be Done?:

Class political consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without, that is, only from outside the economic struggle, from outside the sphere of relations between workers and employers. The sphere from which alone it is possible to obtain this knowledge is the sphere of relationships of all classes and strata to the state and the government, the sphere of the interrelations between all classes.

Also, in the movie there is a scene that shows the importance of leadership--of protecting leadership. It was actually a very touching scene where one of the strongest apes of Caesar's army sacrifices himself to save his life. This was very interesting to me. Of course, without someone actually pointing these things out to you, it would be very difficult to learn these lessons. The movie, however, is still very much worth watching

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