Movies and Scientific Accuracy (Microbiology Today)

Originally published: November 2017maxresdefault.jpg

This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a virus.

In Planet of the Apes (1968) Charlton Heston faced a future of intelligent apes in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust but in the 2011 re-launch of the franchise – Rise of the Planet of the Apes – the fall of humanity follows a global pandemic that kills 1 in 10 humans whilst heightening ape intelligence. Although Rise of the Planet of the Apes falters in accurately representing the processes of science it does have a striking visualisation of the spread of the ‘Simian Flu’ – an unintended side effect of an attempt to cure Alzheimer’s disease. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is an example of recent film and TV that shows that lab-engineered outbreaks have replaced the nuclear holocaust on screens as the imagined and expected end of humanity. Science and scientists are central to causing and perhaps saving humanity from extinction. Continue reading “Movies and Scientific Accuracy (Microbiology Today)”

‘Talking Apes with Big-Ass Spears’: Violence, Science, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Originally posted: July 2014
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By 2011 I had already spent five years of postgraduate study researching the history and cultural interpretations of Planet of the Apes. I was very nervous about seeing Rise of the Planet of the Apes; it was released just a few weeks before I submitted my PhD and I knew I would have to make at least some reference to the film in my thesis. So, I anxiously went to the screening accompanied by my low expectations and a notebook. I was, thankfully, very pleased with the new origin story that was clearly intended as a new beginning for the multiple-decade spanning franchise. It did not try to awkwardly update or rehash the original series’ subtext (oh, Tim Burton) but instead used the science fiction genre and the possibilities of the fall of humanity to explore more pertinent socio-cultural issues.  Continue reading “‘Talking Apes with Big-Ass Spears’: Violence, Science, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”