Planet of the Taxpayers
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
The remake of The Planet of the Apes – the apes look real this time – purports to give the backstory of how it is that the world came to be governed by primates while the handful of humans are caged and abused.
The story line is so conventional that you could make it up just sitting there. A private-sector biochemical corporation rushes to test a drug that is supposed to reverse Alzheimer’s. It is tested on apes and the drug makes them strangely intelligent. But the same drug unleashes a killer virus among humans. The rest is science-fiction history.
The anticapitalism is so familiar that it is not even as disturbing as it should be. The CEO struts around in super-fancy suits, always in a rush from place to place, and his main job is to look cool and bark at everyone. Several times he snaps that drug development is all about profits. He tells a research scientist (paraphrasing): “Don’t talk to me about risk. Develop the drug. Then you get famous and I make money. That’s the way it works.”
Ah yes, corporate management, as told by the movies.
Then there is the privately owned ape prison where the animals are enslaved in cages before being taken to the laboratory to be pumped full of experimental drugs. They are shocked with electric prods, hit with clubs, fed gruel, and humiliated constantly by the jerk in charge.
How the viewer feels such deep sympathy for these poor creatures. And how satisfying once they plot their big break. Led by the most intelligent and strong among them – an ape learns to pick a lock – they reenact Bastille Day; they leap out the top of the ape prison and run wild on the city. But they don’t just kill people. No, they are compassionate and even humane. They only want to get back to their native habitat, where they can climb and leap from tree to tree.
Cheer the wonderful apes! How much they seem to embody our own plight!