Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. What to expect from the sequel to the cult franchise

On 9 May, the fantastic film Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will be released in the cinema. It will be the fourth film in the new series of the world-famous Planet of the Apes franchise. So we are going to tell you what to expect from this film.

Фільм «Королівство планети мавп»

The Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

The film Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is due to be released on 9 May 2024. This film will be a continuation of the so-called “rebooted” series of films, which, in turn, is based on Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes, which was based on a series of five films from the 1960s and 1970s.

The series has a rather intricate timeline, which needs to be explained separately in order to make the plot of the new film clear.

Burton’s film tells the story of an American astronaut who dives into a space anomaly and finds himself on a planet dominated by intelligent apes similar to Earth’s chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Humans are just savages on that planet. Than he returns to Earth, only to find out that everything has changed there, and that humans are no longer dominant at home either.

The film Rise of the Planet of the Apes was not directly related to the previous one, but it told the background of all this. In it, scientists were creating a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and accidentally enhanced the cognitive abilities of chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, who began to fight for their own rights.

The next two films tell how, after a global pandemic, humanity is increasingly ceding its role as the creators of civilisation to apes and an armed conflict breaks out between them. And now, finally, the fourth film of the new franchise is coming out, in which the roles have almost completely reversed.

According to the trailer, the events take place 300 years later than in the previous episode. Apes have built their own states, and people now live like savages. However, the new king of the four-armed ones remembers that humans were once a great civilisation and so he is looking for their legacy.

A still from the film’s trailer. Source: 20th Century Studious

Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

In order to understand whether we can expect something interesting from the new film, it is worth turning to the basis, which few people remember. We mean the 1963 novel of the same name. It was written by the French science fiction writer Pierre Boulle. Its events are quite freely presented in the original 1968 film and even more freely in the film by Tim Burton.

In the French writer’s story, astronauts fly to Betelgeuse at relativistic speed, which implies a time warp. There they find the planet Sorora with signs of civilisation and land on it. However, it turns out that the people there are not just savages. They have completely turned into animals.

The local “homos”, despite being physically and genetically identical to earthlings, definitely do not deserve to be called “sapiens”. Because they have lost not only cities, tools, fire and clothing, but also the language itself. They live like animals, and over time, due to certain events, earthlings join them. Perhaps humans do not need a civilization, after all.

Сучасне видання «Планети мавп»

Modern edition of the Planet of the Apes

Suddenly it turns out that there is intelligent life on the planet, and it is monkeys. They hunt humans because it is their traditional trade and conduct experiments on them that will help solve the mysteries of evolution and intelligence.

At the same time, the chimps, orangutans and gorillas in the book have a much more advanced civilisation than in any of the film adaptations. They are at the level of the 40s and 60s of the 20th century and live in cities that are extremely similar to human ones.

Normally, the image of monkeys reading newspapers and driving cars would seem funny, but in the book, there are scenes of naked people in cages, who are mating on the floor like animals and unable to solve puzzles to get a delicious banana. And this is what scares me most about Planet of the Apes.

Так планету мавп зображували у 1968 році

This is how the Planet of the Apes was depicted in 1968. Source:

Because even when the protagonist learns the language of the apes and begins to tell them that he is also an intelligent being, his words are questioned. Because how can a person prove that he really thinks, and not that someone taught him to pronounce words? Moreover, in the language itself, the word “ape” means the crown of evolution, and humans are the animals from which, according to some scientists, everyone is descended.

At some point, the protagonist ceases to understand whether it is the ape civilisation that is similar to the Earth’s, or whether human politicians and bankers in his memories are very similar to apes. After all, how do you tell where the training of animals to use a hammer and microscope ends and the very mind that created them begins?

All of this was included in the 1968 film in a very limited way, with all the sharp moments cut out, after which the plot took on a life of its own and the sequels of the 1970s became an independent adventure story that had nothing to do with Boulle.

Кадр з нового фільму

A still from the new film. Source:

In 2001, Burton seemed to be trying to follow the novel at least in some scenes, but it turned out to be even more glossy and Hollywood-like than in 1968. The subsequent films in the series told a completely different story, based on what was released in the 1970s.

Should we expect something interesting and new from the new film?

The question of whether we should expect some completely new experiences from Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes that is supposed to provoke some deep insights in the audience is quite ambiguous. All the shocking sci-fi assumptions that could have prompted the audience to discuss something when they left the cinema were removed from the franchise half a century ago, and this has become its canon.

Because the filmmakers have repeatedly shown a clash of cultures, heavily involved in politics, when the audience is invited to decide who is really a savage and who is a civilised person… so perhaps everyone should live in peace and mutual respect.

Кадр з нового фільму

A still from the new film. Source:

All of this is sweet chewing gum from the very beginning, compared to the plot of the novel, where the reader was first confronted with the fact that people are only animals, and then questioned the very signs of intelligence. However, perhaps something can really change for the better in the new film. At least, the film’s trailer suggests this.

It would be interesting to see, for example, how the actors playing humans are slowly beginning to behave like animals, for example, they are beginning to forget their language. At least the trailers hint at this. So, it is quite possible that the new film will indeed be closer to the original in its ideas than anything that came before it.

Contemporary Hollywood cinema really lacks a deep and serious conflict. And is there a better way to do it than telling a story of how apes and humans decide who is really smart and who is an animal?