Academic journal article Science Fiction Film and Television

Planet of the Apes and Philosophy: Great Apes Think Alike

Academic journal article Science Fiction Film and Television

Planet of the Apes and Philosophy: Great Apes Think Alike

Article excerpt

John Huss (ed.), Planet of the Apes and Philosophy: Great Apes Think Alike. Chicago: Open Court, 2013. 288pp. US$14.00 (pbk).

Planet of the Apes and Philosophy: Great Apes Think Alike unfortunately bears all of the hallmarks of a pop philosophy collection. It only briefly explores the most basic philosophical premises of the Planet of the Apes films, assumes that the reader is uneducated and easily distracted, and forces every other essay title into a pun. While the essays collected in this book draw on several versions of Planet of the Apes, the original 1968 film (Schaffner US) and the 2011 prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Wyatt US) are the most commonly chosen primary texts. The other sequel films, television show and 1963 Pierre Boulle novel on which the first film was based are mentioned, but none of the essays featured in this collection explores these texts in depth. The 22 essays in this collection are subdivided by topic, although the divisions between these topics are not always clear, as the essays categorised as 'Ape Minds', 'Ape Identity' or 'Ape Equality' and so forth are not significantly different in terms of the questions these authors are pose.

The standout essay in this collection is William L. McGinney's 'Inside the Underscore for Planet of the Apes', which analyses the soundtrack of the 1968 film in the context of modernist music trends. The connections McGinney finds between the sound design of Planet of the Apes and other film scores in the 1960s and 1970s also make this essay one of the most useful ones in the collection for film scholars generally. However, the usefulness of this particular essay highlights the fact that most of the contributors to this collection avoid analysing filmmaking techniques altogether. Only one other essay, John Huss's 'Serkis Act', considers how the technology of film can influence the presentation of animal issues therein. …

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