When I was a kid, my grandfather used to watch Planet of the Apes. Since I was in his care, it meant I had to watch Planet of the friggin’ Apes, too. How I hated those damn dirty apes.
Based on that ringing endorsement, I was reticent to see Rise of Planet of the Apes, but a combination of bootlegging and a rained out day of lifeguarding on the beach made for a perfect storm to see this, and I was actually impressed.
John Franco plays Will, the geneticist ultimately responsible for giving the apes super intelligence, thanks to a side effect from an experimental drug he designs to cure Alzheimer’s. Most of the film plays out the father-son dynamic between him and Caesar, the baby ape he raises as the alternative to putting it down (when given a choice between saving an animal or putting it to sleep, we now know what to do), and even features a handful of sad and/or heartwarming scenes when they are inevitably separated. The Old Yeller/Lassie sappiness is short-lived though, and that’s when it hit me. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is like Froot Loops.
Caesar’s sinister gaze is very unnerving, a testament to some great CGI work and a fantastic script that is both a little out there but very grounded in reality. You sit there and mouth, “This could happen… maybe.”
Froot Loops’ main character, the effeminate (fruity?) Toucan Sam, is also a bit creepy. Here’s a grown parrot luring his young, impressionable trio of nephews to his nest with bowls of sweet, sugary cereal.
For the duration of Apes, you’re going to play the waiting game of, “Okay, when do the apes go… uh… ape… (ugh, sorry) and tear up the Earth?” There are a handful of moments that will sate those hopes, but overall, you’re going to have to keep waiting.
Likewise with Froot Loops, you expect fruit and milk, an incredibly unnatural combination, especially when you throw BLUE PIECES into the equation, to be a horrible combination. Yet for the most part, it works.
Both Froot Loops and the Apes franchise are children of the 60s and adapted/expanded their reach later on. The Kellogg’s cereal debuted in 1966 with red, orange and yellow pieces, adding purple, green and blue in the 90s. The first incarnation of Apes, a novel by Pierre Boulle, was published in 1963, and hit the big screen in ’68. The TV series my grandfather enjoyed debuted in 1974. These have been successful brands for quite a long time.
THE LITTLE THINGS
Froot Loops isn’t a bad cereal, but my favorite part, by far, is the way the milk tastes after its soaked up sugary fruity flavors, usually an afterthought to most cereal eaters. With ROTPOTA (terribly great acronym), it’s another under-the-radar moment that catches my eye. Pay close attention and you’ll be rewarded with an indirect call-out to Mark Wahlberg’s story from the 2001 movie in the form of a news story glossing over a space mission to Mars. Like sweetened cereal milk, most folks won’t even notice this, but its an important story element, as it establishes this Earth’s scientific advancement and ability for long-distance space travel.
SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF
I have to say, I found the CGI of ROTPOTA to be really well done, and I wondered what parts, if any, used live animals instead. The answer is never. Likewise, there is no way Froot Loops uses actual fruit. But its still tasty.
Take a look at the following images. Time has been good to both of these franchises.
FINAL RATING: 4/5 SPOONS