At the end of the day, if someone were to observe us humans with unbiased eyes, I believe they would see that we are a society of apes already. Humans who do what they want, when they want, to whomever they want. What truly separates us at this point is a fine shave, that’s about it. I believe for that reason alone, people really love the Planet of the Apes collection of films (and the fact that they are actually damn good films with great character development, killer CG with an absorbing story, and the great cast really helps, too).
Check out “10 Planet of the Apes Collectibles“
I think the thought of something primal taking over Earth from us is also a thought that is very palpably scary to most of us, as impossible as it may seem. We know we have mistreated this planet and its inhabitants, and the newest Planet of the Apes movies drive that message home to us in a very clear and concise way. We screw up world, world gets angry and fires back.
It is all those elements coming together so perfectly that have made the newest Planet of the Apes trilogy a standout in a world where most trilogies fall flat by the second movie. With War for the Planet of the Apes about to release, I thought it the perfect time to revisit some of the best and most memorable scenes from the first two films from this rebooted series (which will also act as a nice refresher when the new movie drops).
Here are the ten “best” scenes from the newest Planet of the Apes movies (in this writer’s opinion).
Introduction To Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes
He was so cute before he rose up and took over after realizing we humans genuinely suck.
Though we grow and mature with Caesar across the series, the very first introduction to this future leader and revolutionary is seeing an adorable little chimp that, if anything, we have no idea what it is capable of and just wanna snuggle him.
At first, we just kinda oooooh and ahhhh at how cute he is and the cute chemistry between him and James Franco. By the way, James Franco as a scientist. Whoever did that casting job, great job undoing it in the other two movies. Dude just did NOT fit into this world.
But anyway, baby Caesar was the shit, but little did we know where it was going….
Caesar’s First Words in Rise
First words shoulda been “Cut the shit, 8-Mile Draco, or I will tear your arms off.”
We knew Caesar was a force to be reckoned with, but it seems some of the chaps working with and around him didn’t quite realize his potential, so in a shockingly effective scene we hear him turn to his human captors and scream NO in English, with a look of anger and contempt on his face.
The reaction of the staff who witness it also kind of sums up how the audience felt. This ape was no longer monkeying around.
I should kill myself for typing that last sentence.
The Goodbye in Rise
Rumor is these two had a fling when the cameras were off, too.
Although James Franco did not fit well in the first movie in my opinion, the goodbye between him and Caesar felt genuine and moving. Franco’s character knew where Caesar belonged, he knew that his mission was now greater than either of them, and he took a final moment to touch his forehead to Caesar’s (an affectionate move among simians and most animals) to sort of say I love you and Goodbye without having to cheese up the film and force feed us some overly cheesy scene.
It was short, bittersweet, and effective.
Golden Gate Bridge Scene in Rise
“Fuck them up, sons and daughters of the Simian army!”
This was the moment that audiences realized this new Planet of the Apes trilogy was NOT fucking around. With Caesar leading the charge, the Apes take over San Fran, with it culminating in a BADASS action scene atop the Golden Gate bridge where all sorts of simian are battling with humans to claim it as their own. The scene itself is incredibly tense as you cannot help but feel really bad for the humans, as we do not fare so well.
But if you thought a scene that featured a helicopter being taken out by a leaping orangutang would not make this list, something might be broken in your head. This has gone on to become a fairly iconic action scene in the recent landscape of unforgettable action scenes in ho-hum movies.
It also set the tone for their further takeover in the forthcoming films.
Seeing the “Ape City” in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Almost sad to say seems the apes are more adaptive at life than us right now, real talk.
We knew at the end of the first film the apes were congregating and making San Francisco home, but to what degree we had no idea. The second film shows us by revealing a sort of city these apes built for themselves in the woods, just out of the perimeters of the city. It shows us that these apes are not simple creatures, but rather, are evolving at a very rapid rate and seem to understand the basics of infrastructure and community, as well as the individual roles they serve in that community.
Hell, even in the “giving birth” scene, the apes wear makeshift hospital masks out of leaves, as if they are even aware of germs. Just those simple nonverbal hints at their evolution was amazing to see.
Speaking of the birthing scene…
“Blue Eyes” Being Born in Dawn
Caesar having a baby (and eventual successor to his throne) was a monumental moment for these movies for a multitude of reasons.
One, the ‘blue eyes’ showed us that there IS humanity in them. Blue eyes, for those of you who do not know, are not commonly found in simians. It subliminally marks their further evolution, which we see more and more throughout the movie reflected in Blue Eye’s actions.
Of course, the birth of Blue Eyes also sets another very important path in motion for these movies…..
We Meet Koba and Realize We Have A Bad Guy on the Inside in Dawn
Koba: the bad ape you love to hate to love to hate to love to hate.
Koba was a revelation for this series and such a profound and needed character to properly develop the true evolution of these apes from animals to the rulers of this planet. See, Caesar wanted a peace between the humans and apes. A sort of symbiotic harmony where both sides let the other be. Koba did not like this, and he made it clear to Caesar he should be in charge and the Caesar was too soft on humans. This not only split the two, but it forced many of the apes in their group to sort of pick a side.
This put a huge crack between these two that would come back later in the movie in amazing ways. Also, Koba fought a fucking bear, so that deserves a mention here, too:
Leo won on Oscar for this, why didn’t Koba?
Koba Tricks Humans in Dawn and Turns Tables
Dumbass humans, that’s what you get.
This is another essential scene from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that truly shows us that the humans have become the idiots (I blame Trump) and the apes have finally and fully surpassed us. Koba walks into a human camp, approaching inebriated guards who are holding guns, but Koba acts like a “dumb ape” to disarm the men, both literally and mentally. In layman’s terms, he acts all stupid until they start making fun of him.
Suffice it to say, he fools them enough that he picks up a machine gun and eventually mows them both down while they are still pretty much laughing.
Who’s laughing now?
Koba and the Boys Ride in With Guns Blazing on Horseback in Dawn
SO. MUCH. BADASS.
Perhaps, if I was lying on my death bed and someone was insistent on me telling them the most badass things I have ever seen in my long, twisted life, I genuinely think a cavalcade of Apes riding into a hman camp while double fisting machine guns with a fire raging in the background just might fall into that category. That image could be the cover of any metal album ever. That image could be airbrushed onto the side of every 70’s van ever. It just was one of those shots that became iconic the instant you saw it. Motherfucking apes on horseback duel-wielding. Why is this trilogy not a badass video game where you get to play as the apes yet? Someone (other than EA) get on that shit!
Granted, Koba was a bad guy and a piece of shit you loved to hate, and he WAS killing humans, but something about apes shooting machine guns while on horseback that just blew my tender mind. It was also the genesis of what would be an utterly fantastic film climax.
(Honorable Mention Before Number One)
Maurice Reads “Black Hole” in Dawn
Maurice was one of the deeper, more introspective characters in this world.
Black Hole is an absolute must read of a comic written and illustrated by Charles Burns. It’s the fact that Maurice borrowed it from a human and was reading it that was far more important to the story than anyone knew. You see, Black Hole is about a disease that comes into society and mutates kids. If you think about Dawn and Rise, that is exactly what is kind of happening to these creatures. They are evolving at a rate faster than they can understand, and reading Black Hole showed that Maurice had a greater understanding what was happening to him and that it may have overwhelmed him a bit.
It also worked as one of the last connections between the humans and the apes, as Maurice borrowed the book from one of the humans.
Caesar and Koba’s Final Fight in Dawn
Side note: Above is from first fight scene in Dawn between Koba and Caesar, don’t want to spoil movie.
Although all of us watching this movie knew it would end here (and there was a fight scene earlier in the film between the two), the final fight scene in the climax of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was (and is) one of the best final fights I have ever seen in a movie, even if it was between two CG apes. It is also funny how the two apes represented two lifestyles, both appealing to the apes, but which one more so? Old school and savage or new and more refined?
You had Caesar’s way of peace and coexisting, knowing war would only lead to more death and loss for all. He wanted to find a more natural balance between the two so both could coexist without needing to exterminate the others in this new world they created.
Koba, on the other hand, was old-school. He knew they had the brains and physical power to overtake man and take the planet as their own, with either the humans as slaves or as maggot-fodder. Though there were apes who seemed to side with Koba, the most rational of them already knew Koba was unstable and dangerous and if in charge, only more blood would be shed by both sides.
So in the end, the two just have a good old fashioned brawl. The kind of fight where two men (um, apes) go into the ring but only one comes out. It was also extra poignant how Caesar reminded Koba who was boss with one of those cool “one liners” right before he fell to his death. That was very “80’s action movie” and it put a genuine smile on my face.
It was also a great way of setting up…
The Future of the Series….
So now we have War for the Planet of the Apes upon us, and we will find out how this epic trilogy ends (for now, anyway. Do not expect this series to go away if this one makes $200 million plus, just being honest). Seems in this last chapter, it is the humans going after the apes more aggressively to try to take out that “threat” once and for all. But judging how well Caesars has run things up to this point, I don’t think this “war” is going to go quite how the humans think it will.
Side note, Woody Harrelson looks pretty badass in this new Apes flick, can’t wait to see what kind of Hell he tries to unleash. If nothing else, based on prior two films in the Planet of the Apes collection, this shit is gonna be epic.