Daema kicks some serious ape butt
August 26, 2001 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Daema kicks some serious ape butt The sequels to Pierre Boulle's original Planet of the Apes novel are, apparently, leaving something to be desired. Lets invent some and raise the tone, shall we? Planet of the Jeeps: An astronaut lands on a planet and gets rammed in his Nissan Micra at an intersection by a Simian driving a Sport Utility Vehicle. Director Tim Burton gets slated by the critics - "Good Science Fiction should show us things we've never seen before".
posted by RichLyon (19 comments total)
The point of the Slate article in the link is not that there are sequels being written to Planet of the Apes that are undesireable. The article points out that the version of Planet of the Apes that sits on bookshelves today is a novelization of the new screenplay (credits here) and not the original Pierre Boulle novel Monkey Business that Rod Serling based his first treatment of the screenplay for the original movies on.

<sarcasm>Of course, this is logical considering that the new film is just an update of the older film and not the source material. When I write logical, I mean that it would be the only way to sell the book to the American public. Why bother confusing them with the original Boulle novel? Marky Mark didn't do any of that in the movie.</sarcasm>
posted by eyeballkid at 2:29 PM on August 26, 2001

The article points out that the version of Planet of the Apes that sits on bookshelves today is a novelization of the new screenplay

posted by feelinglistless at 3:09 PM on August 26, 2001

The Salon article calls this book the first of a new genre...hardly. Novelizations of screenplays based on novels are nothing new, neither is the practice of Hollywood taking good novels and making mediocre or terrible movies out of them. Why should any of this be news to anyone at this point?

I read the Boulle novel after seeing the original PotA 34 years ago. Quite frankly, I thought the book was mediocre SF, more whimsical fantasy than the brutal cold-war nihilism of the film. Also, I much preferred Charlton Heston's antihero portrayal of the astronaut protagonist to the novel's, and the ending of the movie was a real shocker back in 1968. I even liked the first sequel 'cuz it blew the world up real good at the end.

The Burton version, like most remakes of classic films I've seen, was completely superfluous and has absolutely nothing new to say other than coming off like a 2-hour-long PETA commercial. The script was nonsense, even my 12-year son found plot holes you could drive a semi through, and the acting was not up to the incredibly high level of scenery chewing standards set in the original film. Like every Burton film I've ever seen with the possible exception of Ed Wood, it was a gorgeous piece of eye candy...nothing more.
posted by MrBaliHai at 3:23 PM on August 26, 2001

feelinglistless-- You. Have. Got. To. Be. F***ing. Kidding. Me.

I can almost see the logic of the POA thing, almost. Lord of the Rings, however, is one of the best selling series of all time. The whole notion of making a novelization of a script that is said to be fairly close to the Tolkien books makes me want to cry. Or laugh. I'm really not sure which.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:25 PM on August 26, 2001

You. Have. Got. To. Be. F***ing. Kidding. Me.

I know. But let's not forget that this is the world in which the novel 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker was turned into a film 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' which was subsequently novelised as a tie-in novel.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:38 PM on August 26, 2001

When they make a young adult book about this then it'll be news. For now remakes of books is nothing new, unless of course you were living in a cave when Jurassic Park came out.
posted by geoff. at 3:39 PM on August 26, 2001

geoff - I give up, what does Equus have to do with this... other than bestiality?
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 3:46 PM on August 26, 2001

I just try to bring in Equus whenever I can. Since we were talking about books I decided just to stick it in there. It scarred me for life.
posted by geoff. at 4:00 PM on August 26, 2001

The original is much better than either the Wahlberg or Heston movies. Boulle's story delves into the circle of life (karma/what comes around goes around), evolution, what it means to be human, and that perhaps in the 'survival of the fittest' we aren't the fittest. And hey, in the original book, the Planet of the Apes is NOT Earth. It really is a separate planet.

Maybe that Salon writer should check out his free neighborhood library. They will have a copy.
posted by fleener at 4:01 PM on August 26, 2001

fleener: my local library branch didn't have it- but I used the L.A. Public Library's online hold system to have a copy sent to me. I love this crazy internet thing!
posted by dogwelder at 7:33 PM on August 26, 2001

I know of no planet that is ruled by apes.
posted by jaynesbit at 8:13 PM on August 26, 2001

Leastways, the non-naked variety.

This isn't that new, and it's one more sign of Salon's decline that they would publish such a poorly researched piece. The first examples that come to mind are several novelizations of later James Bond screenplays. Now, starting with Diamonds Are Forever, they began to diverge significantly from Fleming's source material, and A View to a Kill and Octopussy had to be "based" on short stories since they'd run out of novels. But several of these were novelized by Christopher Wood among others. Ah, here we go, Moonraker, the novelization.

Aha! Here we go. The 1924 Douglas Fairbanks version of The Thief of Bagdad was novelized, which text was reprinted in 1987 as an illustrated sf novel. This, of course, is based (somewhat loosely) on The Thousand and One {Arabian} Nights, famously translated by Richard Burton. And from my own childhood I'm pretty sure I recall a novelization of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, although I was steered to the original.

Films into Books appears to be a comprehensive overview of the genre.
posted by dhartung at 9:47 PM on August 26, 2001

Ah, closely related at least: a novelization, not written by Roald Dahl, of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the screenplay by Roald Dahl, based on the original novel by Ian Fleming. 1969.
posted by dhartung at 9:53 PM on August 26, 2001

How is this any different than any other post-movie merchandising? I don't see why POTA is so sacred it can't be commercialized to hell after being make into something like 5 sequels.

The complaints sound like some SF geek scoffing at some new POTA T-shirt because he has an original one in mothballs somewhere in his attic.

I can't say I have much sympathy for those who sign away their rights to their stories and suddenly we're all aghast at how far studios take it. Tolkien sold his film rights away because he wanted the money for his grandchildren, or at least that's the story John Boorman sticks to when he tried get a LOTR movie made. Instead Boorman made Excalibur and LOTR turned into an animated crap-fest.

Don't blame the studios, their main job is to exploit and maximize profit not create art (sad isn't it). If you want art I suggest staying away from Marky Mark, or Heston for that matter. Blame the creators or their estate/copyright holders for giving it all away.
posted by skallas at 1:54 AM on August 27, 2001

The scary thing is that this is rated four stars at Amazon.
posted by jtripp at 5:43 AM on August 27, 2001

Getting back to the important part of this post, some new directions for the franchise:

Planet of the California Raisins – astronaut lands on a planet infested by terrifying, anthropomorphic snacks.

Planet of the Gun Nuts – astronaut lands on a planet controlled by men with guns – wait! Nooooo... You maniacs...

Beneath the Planet of the Valley of the Dolls – astronaut lands inside Russ Meyer's brain.
posted by D at 9:37 AM on August 27, 2001

The scary thing is that this is rated four stars at Amazon.

Not so scary when you read the quotes by those who gave it four stars:

"I haven't read the book yet, but i absolutely LOVED the movie. "

"A breath taking book ! A modern day Dicken [sic]!
Read the modern day version of Charles Dicken's [sic!] classic Great Expectations. "

posted by jpoulos at 10:47 AM on August 27, 2001

That would be Charles Dykkens, the noted Dutch author with a "y" and two "k"s.

posted by briank at 11:16 AM on August 27, 2001

What about "Carnaby Fudge" by Darles Tikkens, or "Stickwick Stapers" by Miles Pikkens with four m's and a silent q?
posted by Marquis at 11:24 AM on August 27, 2001

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