Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes - IT'S AN APE WORLD AFTER ALL

David Hughes explores the world of Planet of the Apes , and finds that the original film continues to influence popular culture around the world

One might be forgiven for thinking that Tim Burton's 2001 "re-imagining" of the classic 1968 science fiction film Planet of the Apes had the last word on the subject of a story which began 41 years ago with the publication of Pierre Boulle's topsy-turvy sci-fi parable, La Planete des Singes . However, the spirit of the original Planet of the Apes lives on through popular culture, with aspects of music and fashion embracing Apes iconography, and countless references to the ideas and images from the original film continuing to pervade the media.

References to Planet of the Apes have cropped up in all manner of television programmes and films, most commonly as parody and homage, demonstrating the widely acknowledged debt which popular culture owes to the 1968 film starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Linda Harrison, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans, in which an astronaut is flung far into the future, crash-landing on a planet ruled entirely by intelligent apes. One of the most famous references cropped up in an early episode of The Simpsons entitled "Deep Space Homer," in which would-be astronaut Homer Simpson suggests that the only danger he is likely to face is if he lands on "that terri ble planet of the apes" - only to realize (belatedly) that it was Earth all along. Another reference turned up in a subsequent episode, this time with Planet of the Apes forming the basis of a stage musical starring Troy McClure. Other references have turned up in such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer , and also Saturday Night Live , in which the producers could not resist a sketch in which Charlton Heston falls asleep in his dressing room, waking up to find that the show was being run by intelligent apes. Film references are also plentiful, ranging from appearances in Mrs. Doubtfire (in which Robin Williams' cross-dressing nanny paraphrases the classic line "Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape") to the Austin Powers sequel The Spy Who Shagged Me , as Austin Powers travels back to the 1960s and claims that in the future the world will be run by "damn dirty apes."

The world of dance music has also been influenced by Planet of the Apes . British DJ James Lavelle, founder of the Mo'Wax Records label and the dance band UNKLE, is a long-time Apes fan who sampled dialogue from the film for a track entitled "Ape Shall Not Kill Ape." This was subsequently remixed by Japanese DJ/musician Cornelius (real name Keigo Oyamada), who takes his name from the character of Dr Cornelius (played by Roddy McDowall), and whose Apes-influenced music includes samples and references to Planet of the Apes . In Japan , his albums have gone double-platinum, and karate-chopping gorillas were among the highlights of his 1997 tour of Japan , which culminated in a phantasmagoric show at Tokyo 's Budokan Stadium. And can British dance band Gorillaz deny that their name and iconography has not been influenced to some degree by Planet of the Apes ?

If dance music owes a debt of gratitude to Planet of the Apes , so too does the fashion world, thanks to a Japanese company called Bathing Ape or Bape (pronounced 'BAPE-ee'), formed in 1963 by fashion and toy designer Nigo, a confirmed Planet of the Apes fan who is said to own one of the largest collections of Apes memorabilia in the world. Nigo incorporates Planet of the Apes designs, slogans and dialogue lines in his clothing range, which include T-shirts and jackets, sold in 25 outlets throughout the world, including a members-only store in Hong Kong and a brand new boutique in the heart of Soho . Nigo has recently expanded his Apes-inspired empire to include a record label, Ape Sounds, a women's wear line (Bapy), and even a range of toys based on a character named Milo , whose appearance closely resembles one of the chimpanzees from Planet of the Apes . Fans of Bape clothing include Matthew from boy band Busted , Ian Brown (formerly of The Stone Roses ) and Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie.

Now, three years after apes 'ruled the planet' once more thanks to Tim Burton's smash hit "re-imagining," 20th Century Fox - the studio which first took a gamble on a film about a world

Film - Planet of the Apes - IT'S AN APE WORLD AFTER ALL
Film - Planet of the Apes - IT'S AN APE WORLD AFTER ALL
Film - Planet of the Apes - IT'S AN APE WORLD AFTER ALL
Film - Planet of the Apes - IT'S AN APE WORLD AFTER ALL
Film - Planet of the Apes - IT'S AN APE WORLD AFTER ALL
Film - Planet of the Apes - IT'S AN APE WORLD AFTER ALL

populated by intelligent apes - is about to release the ultimate edition of the original Planet of the Apes on DVD. The two-disc edition features a wealth of previously unavailable material along the with original film and a feature-length documentary, B ehind the Planet of the Apes , suggesting that the original film may find a new generation of fans, and taking the Planet of the Apes phenomenon well into the 21st century. Perhaps the film's influence will continue to resonate even farther into the future - perhaps all the way to the year 3978 AD, in which the film was set.

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