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My Rise Of Planet Of The Apes
My Rise Of Planet Of The Apes
I saw the original movie 'Planet of the Apes' in 1968. This was the year I first started working in zoos. It was good for the time and I quite enjoyed it but it was so far removed from reality that I don't recall it making me think about the animals I was working with in the zoo world. These included three, newly imported baby chimpanzees. I named these after characters from the Avengers and spent as much of my time with them as I could. 'Newly imported' is of course part of a cruel exploitative trade in wild animals. Their parents most likely shot and eaten and these three animals probably the only ones to survive out of ten which headed to market. Sadly even one of these tiny beautiful little animals died in my arms in spite of all I tried to do. The zoo I worked in back in those early days was dysfunctional but then back in 1968 most zoos were. We learn, we progress, we move on and go stronger and, in my case more critical and condemning of zoos that do not move forward.
Over the years I have changed, zoos have changed and so too have the movies. In early August of 2011 I went to see 'Rise of Planet of the Apes'. There must have been something about the first movie which really stuck in my imagination or perhaps it was my life in the interim but this was a movie I really wanted to see.
An Emotional Journey
What I had not expected with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was that as well as being an exciting, enjoyable and well made movie that it would take me on an emotional journey.
One of my sons 'Tanner' was a chimpanzee. Abandoned by his mother at two days old I took him home. He lived not as a guest but as a much loved member of the family. He was no novelty, he was completely accepted. Over the years we had Lions, Leopards, Jaguars, Monkeys, Gorillas, Squirrels, Hedgehogs, Oryx, Llamas....and I could go on and on, living with us.
Tanner was part of the family. He slept alongside the bed as my own human children had done. He was bottle fed on demand, burped and nappy changed. His first steps, his first solid food were as important events as they were with the other kids. He was in fact better behaved in some ways to the others. He didn't swing on the curtains. We did not have to move things out of reach and though he did not speak English he understood it very well. Admittedly he did tease the cats a bit, though they tolerated him. He was also a whizz at removing a disposable nappy unless it was put on back to front.
If you do go and see Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes you will, I think, understand part of the emotional turmoil that this excellent movie started in me. I very rarely have wanted to see a movie twice, this one I would because I enjoyed it so much.
Everyone is going to take away something different from watching this film. Some, I imagine will be a little frightened, but most are going to not only enjoy it but be on the side of the Apes. This is exactly as it should be. The Apes, our closest relatives, we are not any more or less special than they, are in trouble. They are under threat because of human greed and ignorance.
Go and see Rise of Planet of the Apes. Enjoy and watch in wonder. As someone who has worked very closely with Gorillas, Orangutans and Chimpanzees over the years I can vouch for how very realistic the movements, actions and behaviours were.
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