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Critics can’t decide whether “Planet of the Apes” is a gun-control PSA or a sexist screed

July 18, 2014

My latest blog post for the Los Angeles Times:

Andy SerkisIs “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” a leftist’s dream movie — or a right-wing farrago of sexism, racism and even speciesism worthy of, oh, Mel Gibson?


On the left, we have:

1. Gun control.

Here’s Katey Rich swooning at Vanity Fair:


“The very first conflict in the film is eerily, depressingly similar to the way humans shoot each other every day — a man walking through the forest is startled by the arrival of two apes, and out of fear, he shoots one of them.”


But on the right, we have:

1. A “woman problem.”

Kyle Buchanan writes in Slate:

“This ‘Dawn is virtually devoid of female characters.


So, is “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” a left-wing apologia or a right-wing cinematic screed? It looks like a tossup, doesn’t it?

Posted by Charlotte Allen




  1. Jack Williams permalink

    Let me begin by saying that I am sorry.
    I am an 18 year from Texas that just watched this movie because I am a genuine fan of the series and the original messages from the first Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston. This article you have written is so superficial and skin deep that it hurt me enough to write you. Not only are you spouting inconsequential comments about party ideology (the same ones that make some believe we are in a Second Gilded Age), but you fail to write on the message of peaceful coexistence when segregated, the struggle between idealism and the inevitability of conflict, the references to indigenous peoples and the corrupting power of superior technology (by the way, that was the real purpose of the guns), the ideas of racism and ethnics, etc. You posed no real opinion of the movie and said nothing substantial about it. You contribute to the problem of uninformed people saying frivolous things about politics rather than face the reality of the real complexity of politics. There are more than two sides. Two sides is simple and unrealistic. Grow up.
    Sincere Beyond Belief,
    Jack Williams

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