Monday, August 15, 2011


Rise of the Planet of the Apes: A Response

I don’t get it. Why do people love monkeys so much? Chimpanzees aren’t cute, they look like old men with hormonal imbalances, and they’re uncanny and creepy. Plus, their hair looks wiry and unpleasant to touch, doesn’t it? And yeah, I know that monkeys and apes aren’t the same thing, but I lump them together as the poop-hurlers of the animal kingdom.

My monkey-loving boyfriend dragged me to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes on an opening Friday night with a rowdy audience, and here are my notes and drawings (MAY CONTAIN VAGUE SPOILERS)!

• This audience is so pro-ape from the start, they clearly all came on opening night because they love chimps. Will I stick out as an ape hater?
• I just wrote “monkeys are horrible” in my notebook, but I’m hunching over it so that nobody sees.
• The movie is off to a fast-and-stupid-paced start and I like it!
• James Franco is charmingly cast as the least professional research scientist to ever exist.

• The boss character, Jacobs, just shouted “I run a BUSINESS, not a petting zoo!” Hey Screenwriter, petting zoos are totally a business.
• Also petting zoos are fun to own and they’re virtually recession-proof! Here are some tips for running a successful petting zoo:

• Sorry, I zoned out during the boring John Lithgow parts and went off on that petting zoo tangent.
• Jacobs has all the best lines.”You know everything about the human brain, except how it works.” That is such a burn to a scientist. How brains work is 99% of what there is to know about brains!

• James Franco and Freida Pinto have the most beautiful smiles. Franco & Freida should be the name of a fancy home furnishing store.
• Caesar has just learned sign language, and it’s making the audience go “aww,” but most of his gestures just look obscene.

• The plot just jumped ahead nearly 10 years. Caesar looks like he’s been in two wars and seen eight ghosts, while Franco & Freida haven’t aged a day or even changed their haircuts.
• OK, also, Fn’F’s characters have been dating for five years and only now is she noticing that an entire room of his house is devoted to charting the effects of drugs on his chimpanzee. She had NO idea. And it’s not just a home office — the walls are completely plastered with charts and research and sciencey stuff. Boy does she look surprised!
• We are getting every possible visual cue that this particular chimp is the EVIL chimp.

• I hate it when, in order to indicate deadly illness, screenwriters have the characters cough blood into hankies, or sneeze blood all over each others’ faces, or moonwalk across the floor in their own liquified internal organs. It’s so cliché!
• OK, I guess I do like some primates, because “Circus Orangutan” is my new favorite animal/plant/thing. He looks too cool to throw his own poop.

• The prop master deserves props (sorry) for making the chimp sanctuary food look so disgusting.

• Caesar just reached into a fridge to grab a can of deadly virus, the dude behind us shouted “FOUR LOKO!” and I laughed my head off.
• This audience is getting totally jazzed about the apes becoming powerful and rebellious, but I don’t sympathize at all. THIS IS MY WORST NIGHTMARE.
• Meanwhile, my boyfriend is in heaven. He just leaned over to say, a little wistfully, “I wish I WAS a monkey.” Is there a chimpanzee version of swimming with dolphins? Because that would be the best birthday present I could ever get him.

• One of the characters just got electrocuted, and a lady sitting near me whispered, “Water conducts electricity!”
• If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this movie, it’s that apes are CONSTANTLY jumping through glass windows. The shattering glass must feel good on their fur?

• You know what I’d like to see? Rise of the Planet of the Dogs! Except that movie has already been made, it’s called Hotel for Dogs (and it’s pretty good).
• This movie has unexpectedly deepened my admiration for the architecture of the Golden Gate Bridge.
• On the subway ride home, it’s easy to point out other people who have also just seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

IN CONCLUSION: You will love this movie if you love apes. If you don’t like apes, this movie will make you feel more strongly about not liking them. I give it 5/5 apes!

Previously: Rumors I've Heard About Anna Wintour.

Lisa Hanawalt lives in Brooklyn and does illustrations + funnies for publications like the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Vice, and Chronicle Books. She’s best known for her comic book series I Want You.

82 Comments / Post A Comment




OH THANK GOD. Someone else dislikes monkeys as much as I do! And for all the same reasons! Let's start a club. Ugh, the idea of touching a monkey is freaking me out now. So gross.


@TyrannosaurusWreck I'll be Vice-President of Get Your Hands Off Me, You Damn Dirty Apes.


(Also, I really, really love the last picture and would buy a print of it. It reminds me of the scenes in Mean Girls where people act like jungle animals in Cady's imagination.)


@TyrannosaurusWreck Apes make me really nervous. When you read about some of the things they get up to -it just adds more weight to the "OMG these things are scary" column.

tiny dancer

@TyrannosaurusWreck Monkeys are the worst! They have weird faces and they are always jerking off and throwing their poo at you. And they jump around and screech, too. They kind of sound like young boys? Apes don't seem as bad, except for that they could easily kill you.

dr. girlfriend

@TyrannosaurusWreck they are like humans, but even more disgusting. and vicious. and they go for your balls.

dr. girlfriend

@applestoapples my most-hated scene.

dr. girlfriend

@applestoapples my most-hated scene.


@TyrannosaurusWreck I haven't liked monkeys/apes since I saw Jumanji, WHY are there knife throwing monkeys in a children's film?! The Mummy 2 had them as well, but this time they were SKELETONS, and no one try to tell me they were meant to be pygmies, they were definitely Jumanji-style Apes Of Terror.

...clearly Hollywood has been conditioning us all from a young age to fear the rise of the ape, do they know something?


I HATE MONKEYS. I can relate to this article so well. They're so weird and dirty and poop throw-y. Thankfully my boyfriend and I kind of feel the same way (I think he's ambivalent toward monkeys?), so I don't think I'd see this movie unless I get it on Netflix and I'm stoned because that's the only way to properly appreciate what I like to call "Francosmirks".


Okay, um, Lisa? A friend just might be interested in paying you a commission for a re-creation of that first picture of the poop throwing to hang in her home...a friend. Cough.

Emma K@twitter

@DickensianCat Yeah, seriously. Lisa's got to have an etsy store, right?


Yes! I would love to have a print of the goat one.

Emma K@twitter

There was just a story in the news about a face transplant for a lady whose face and hands were torn off by a friend's pet chimpanzee. It made me retroactively horrified by this movie (though I enjoyed it at the time - the monkeys just wanted to hang out in the redwoods!)

GREAT drawings, btw. I also noticed the obscene 'sign language' and wondered if someone was just having some fun.

fondue with cheddar

@Emma K@twitter Did you see the picture? She looks AMAZING. Her face is still a bit puffy and weird, but totally looks like her own face. Science is so fucking awesome.


@Emma K@twitter yes! every time i see anything about this movie all i can think about is how the faceless chimp lady must feel listening to the commercials for the film while sitting in her hospital room, just going "OH COME ON" and "THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING."


I used to love the idea of dressing a monkey up in suits and naming him Professor Cornelius von Schmackelheimer VI(PhD, not MD of course!) but then that lady had her face and had ripped off and I immediately got rid of all my monkey-sized top hats and monocles.


Lisa, you're a really good artist! This was hilarious, and I demand more.


yes! MORE! (please)


@kiamaria Lisa might be my new favorite contributor.


Ha! in general but especially the swimming with chimps picture. Also, I never realized JUST HOW MUCH IT ANNOYS ME when people call apes monkeys. Go figure.


I'm impressed you were able to execute such good drawings in a dark and crowded movie theater.


@boyofdestiny Or even all in one weekend is what I thought. Gah, her whole weekend must have ended up being consumed by this movie!
(but they are so so so awesome and I'm so glad she spent her weekend this way!)


My greatest achievement this weekend was somehow convincing my two incredibly pro-ape sisters-in-law that what they REALLY wanted to do was go to see 30 Minutes or Less.


@claire@twitter I've been told that movie isn't very good but I don't care because I really want to see Aziz Ansari running around hysterically for 90 minutes.


Swimming with Chimps looks like easily the Worst Vacation Idea Ever.

And that poor woman who just had a face transplant would no doubt agree.


@City_Dater There was a scene on Zaboomafoo where the two dudes (who I always assumed were a gay couple but probably aren't even they sing about going into the closet) brough a snow monkey into a hot tub and are trying to get the monkey to loosen up and party and he looks soooooo uncomfortable (action begins around the 11 minute mark http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NxZDLzeHO4)


@parallel-lines ooh, the Kratt Brothers! i have had some ridiculous dreams about them after watching Zaboomafoo. also, that hot-tub scene is.. yikes. poor snow monkey.


@City_Dater Zaboomafoo, I watched the heck out of that show! And I recently looked up the Kratt brothers. It was freaky! I was all, "Wow, these guys...still look exactly the same! And doing the same thing! And Chris still is hotter/more awesome while Martin is the annoying one!" Which surprised me because I didn't realize 10-year-old me had such strong impressions of these guys.


@parallel-lines Zaboomafoo! With the Kratt brothers! Whiiiiiiile walking in the woods one day... Okay, I'll stop now. But seriously, I still remember every word of the Zaboomafoo theme. Oh, childhood.

Nicole Cliffe


fondue with cheddar

@Nicole Cliffe I love so much about this I'm having a hard time knowing what to comment on because EVERYTHING.


@Nicole Cliffe Me too! The water colors especially. Holy shit. I want the circus orangutan mounted and framed in my apartment immediately!


@Nicole Cliffe Changed my mind. I want super evil chimp.


Circus Orangutan kinda looks like me when I'm bloated. I might like him, too.

Valley Girl

There IS eco-tourism where you get to hang with great apes. Unfortunately since humans are so genetically similar, we can't really get too close since we're full of germs that can make them sick. TYLER LABINE'S CHUBBY CHIMP WRANGLER'S FATE IS NOT SO FAR-FETCHED, DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNN.

Beautiful illustrations and cutting commentary. A+, more movie reviews from Lisa!!


@saraphonic Seriously. More movie reviews full of amazing artwork!!

Annie Malamet@facebook

Monkeys freak me the fuck out. They are too human. I can see their human souls screaming behind their eyes.


Sometimes when I'm at a zoo, I'll just hang around the gorilla cage on the off chance that they're about to cross a critical evolutionary threshold and achieve [more?] self-awareness. It seems so imminent! "Me...me can...feel."


@melis I feel this way about gibbons. As a child, I would even invent expressions so that I could talk about them more. "Gibbons to Gertrude!" I would yell at my mother as an expression of delight/astonishment.

Mom eventually left me at the bus station in Detroit and I never saw her again. But I think she must have had some pretty gibbonly reasons for doing so.


@saythatscool "Gibbons to Gertrude" is officially the new "dollars to donuts."


@saythatscool Gibbons to Gertrude sounds like an awesome children's book about a little girl named Gertrude and her pet gibbon, Gary.


@saythatscool This made me laugh so hard.


@saythatscool: "Gibbons to Gertrude" is a punk/ska 3 piece band from Yonkers.


thank you for this because I really don't want to see this movie but it's great to have a helpful synopsis of all the important parts.
Also, why did people train an ape to shoot an AK??? that is MY question. Isn't that just going to bring on the Planet of the Apes?


Greatly enjoyed this, particularly the goat drawing, which made me laugh and laugh.

Hot mayonnaise

Give me a banana.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@Hot mayonnaise I want ice cream. No, wait, I think I want a grape even more!

Actually, if it's not too much, can you put the grape on the ice cream?


Bonobos are pretty rad.

fondue with cheddar

@tripledouble Yes. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I definitely want to come back as a bonobo.


For a while I worked in a deli whose owner was so obsessed with monkeys, they were in the name. And apparently in Laotian, the words for "monkey" and "ape" are the same? because she kept collecting stuffed apes and monkeys and putting them all over the goddamn place, and they got in the way and stared at the customers.


Monkeys are cute and appreciative of the branches you sneak them in the zoo. Apes are frightening because they look like dirty, depressed humans.

Other way to tell the difference: Monkeys have tails, and apes don't.

fondue with cheddar

@Xora Also, monkeys walk on four legs all the time.

You're so right about apes in the zoo look like dirty, depressed humans. It doesn't frighten me, it just makes me sad.


Remember that monkey in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" that was in with the nazis? Well I think that tells you everything you need to know about the moral compass of monkeys.


You've captured James Franco's gums perfectly!


Please contribute on a regular basis. I'm still not over Rumors I've Heard About Anna Wintour.


Yesterday me and a friend were wasting time in town before our bus left by watching a movie, and we had a choice between watching Planet of the Apes and the Smurfs movie. She was all pro-ape but I convinced her that the monkeys would take too long and we'd miss our bus. This has to be the only time I've felt victorious while watching the Smurfs.


As a science fiction fan, I have always thought the premise of smart apes was incredibly simple and boring, and clearly run ragged by the 47 film series made decades ago.

Also, the undercurrent is very annoying as it adds another media adventure of CRAZY SCIENTISTS WILL KILL US ALL, and that we should never trust science because all scientists are absolutely amoral, just go with your gut instinct, who do those scientists think they are someone smart, heck they ain't so smart I'm not vaccinating my kids with no monkey dna give em autisma etc etc

fondue with cheddar

@Too Much Internet They're not scientific scientists.

You're right, though. People (Americans, anyway) are afraid enough of science as it is. We don't really need to feed that fear.


Oh god, I just snorted loudly in a quiet library computer room over those ape hand signs. Thank you.


You are a better girlfriend than I, who flat out refused to go at all. My boyfriend was just as excited to go alone, though because, as he said, "After zombies, apes taking over the planet is my second favorite thing I'd want to happen." I kinda don't want either of those things to happen. I guess that's what makes us so good for each other?


your write-up and drawing-up (?) was a hundred times better than that shitty movie

actually a thousand times better

Alwin Roe@facebook

To lady: It's not really H2O that conducts electricity.


I feel like there were some legitimately good business tips hidden in this hilarious post. Just running off now to fence my back yard and pick up some low-season chicks and bunnies!

Rich Tommaso@facebook

My favorite is the goat stealing the wallet with $ in its eye! As far as "Rise Of..." goes, I think I'll wait for it to come onto Netflix instant watch.

Regan Smith@twitter

Probably my favorite Hairpin piece yet. Will be buying this lady's comic book. If you can buy it. Can you buy it? How do I buy it? What's The Internet? What's Google? And Amazon?? Holy shit, I better go lay down.


This is the funniest thing I ever saw in my life and I've seen Mitch Hedberg LIVE. The ape-sign for "give me a banana SLAYYED me.


Hotel for Dogs is so bad it made me want to give my dog up for adoption.


you're a genius.


Hm. There's something off-putting about Circus Orangutan. Is it because he's a ginger?

Nicky Nargesian

So funny! And such a relief to know I'm not the only one who feels that way about monkeys and apes.


Oooooooh man. I would send this to my boyfriend, but he doesn't like monkeys or apes. So I better not.

Skinneh B. Jones@facebook

I could only ever be friends with the monkey pygmy marmoset, the tiny kind that could swim in a teacup.


I didn't go ape-shit over this movie, but for an action/fantasy/drama/a bit of romance/funniesque/don't-take-such-a film-too-seriously piece of cinematic storytelling, it delivered.


This is the best review I’ve found so far and I appreciate the visual aids! After seeing The Rise and reading your article I’ve got to see the older films. Since I work at DISH Network I just found out that I can watch them all on DISHonline.com. I can’t wait to have an ape-athon and then I’m heading back to the theater to watch The Rise again so I can catch all these references.

Shahzaib Soomrow@facebook

Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more.
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