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Our most celebrated thought leaders, such as Chancellor Merkel, have repeatedly pointed out for us that European values morally require the demographic inundation of the European peoples in The Other. Similarly, the New York Times film critic is highly enthusiastic about how humane values require human extinction in War for the Planet of the Apes. A.O. Scott raves about the latest monkey movie for finally coming down wholeheartedly on the appropriate side of the Who? Whom? divide:
Speciesism is like racism only more so.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
NYT Critic’s Pick Directed by Matt Reeves PG-13 2h 20m
Reviewed by A. O. SCOTT JULY 12, 2017
… The apes pause to witness the aftermath of the carnage they have narrowly escaped, and their wordless, shocked response, registered above all on the face of Caesar, their leader, is an eloquent rebuke to a species that has abandoned any but a biological claim to the name human.
… We are now, three movies into this reborn franchise, entirely on the side of the apes. The prospect of our own extinction, far from horrifying, comes as a relief. At last the poor planet will catch a break.
… The distinction of this run of “Planet of the Apes” movies has been its commitment to the venerable belief that science fiction belongs to the literature of ideas, and its willingness to risk seeming to take itself too seriously. Each episode has pursued a stark ethical or political problem, and each has shifted the moral ground from human to ape.
“Rise” was about how people treat and mistreat animals, about the tension between recognizing them as sentient beings and the long habit of exploiting and confining them. “Dawn” was a wishful parable of decolonization and counterinsurgency, concerned with the competing but equally legitimate claims of two tribes occupying adjacent territory. “War” — which, in spite of its title, is less a war film than a western wrapped around a prison movie — vindicates Koba’s view of humanity as irredeemably cruel and deceitful.
… A new strain of virus is robbing people of their ability to speak, accelerating a reversal of species hierarchy set in motion two movies ago when Caesar first howled the word “no.”
He is a grayer, sadder hero now, and in “War” he succumbs for a while to a vengeful impulse at odds with his essential high-mindedness. You could say that he is putting his humanity at risk, or that he’s only human, after all, but of course both descriptions would be absurd.
Mr. Scott is aware that his praising the apes for being more “humane” than the humans is speciesist, and thus we need a new vocabulary purged of the old insensitive human supremacist terms that reflected the intolerable old hierarchy of species. But we’ll have to make do with these archaic words for now:
We’ll have to come up with a new vocabulary, but while we still have this one — and while flesh-and-blood people are still directing digital gorillas and chimps — I’ll just say that it’s good to see a movie so thoroughly humane.
Mr. Scott, however, has one complaint: the heroes aren’t portrayed quite as feministically woke as one might wish:
This world is also intensely and somewhat unimaginatively masculine. The default setting for primate social organization in these movies, human and otherwise, is patriarchal, and while a few female apes and a young human girl appear on screen, the filmmakers’ inability to flesh out the familial and affective dimensions of an otherwise richly rendered reality is frustrating.