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“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”: Easter eggs from the film that you may have missed

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”: Easter eggs from the film that you may have missed (photo)

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The new “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” isn’t connected in any concrete way to the original five film series that ran from 1968 to 1973 or Tim Burton’s reboot from 2001.  But even though “Rise” establishes its own, new continuity (of the apes), it still contains a ton of references, shout-outs and easter eggs to its old school brethren (or simian, in this case).  Here are all the ones this long-time “Ape” fan caught. And be aware that this piece may contains extensive SPOILERS for every film in the series.

1. Character Names (of the Apes)
Most of the main cast of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” are named with a wink to the past.  The leader of the ape rebellion, Caesar (Andy Serkis) shares his moniker with the similar character, played by Roddy McDowell, from “Conquest of” and “Battle For the Planet of the Apes.”  Scientists at the GenSys lab nickname Caesar’s mother Bright Eyes — which was one of the ape’s nickname for Charlton Heston‘s Taylor in the original “Planet of the Apes.” After Caesar is sent to live in an ape sanctuary, he’s repeatedly abused by a guard named Dodge Landon, an amalgam of the names of two of Taylor’s fellow astronauts, Dodge (Jeff Burton) and Landon (Robert Gunner), from “Planet of the Apes.” And the lone female ape at the sanctuary is named Cornelia, a riff on Roddy McDowell’s character Cornelius in “Planet of the Apes” and “Escape From the Planet of the Apes.”

There are even a few names that recall the creators of the first “Apes” series: James Franco‘s Will Rodman takes his name from “Twilight Zone” creator and “Planet of the Apes” co-screenwriter Rod Serling, whose full first name was Rodman. Will’s boss at GenSys is Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo), a nod to franchise producer Arthur P. Jacobs. Caesar strikes up a friendship with an orangutan named Maurice — an homage to actor Maurice Evans, who played the sinister orangutan Dr. Zaius in the first “Planet of the Apes.”

2. Famous Lines (of the Apes)
If some of the dialogue in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” sounded familiar, there’s a reason for that. Several of the big zingers are taken from the 1968 “Planet of the Apes.” Listen carefully for Dodge to shout “It’s a madhouse!” during one moment of ape rebellion: that’s an echo of an identical exclamation by Chuck Heston when some apes spray him with a fire hose (more on that later). Dodge also gets the honor of reciting one of Heston’s most iconic lines, when he yells “Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!” after Caesar confronts him in a hand-to-paw fight.

In response, Caesar screams “NO!” — his first words — and smacks Dodge in the face. This might be a stretch but Caesar’s “NO!” reminds me of the repeated uses of the same word in “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes,” where apes are trained to be slaves in a dystopian future, and are conditioned with electroshock therapy to fear and hate when a human says the words no.

3. Recurring Motifs (of the Apes)
A few of “Rise”‘s signature images have earlier origins as well. The aforementioned fire hose makes a return appearance, when Dodge sprays Caesar with one after he throws his food in the guard’s face. So does the sight of an ape on horseback (mirroring the famous introduction of the “Planet of the Apes”‘ titular stars in this brilliant scene) when Caesar leads a charge against the San Francisco police atop one of the mounted cops’ ride.

Of course, the most famous visual from “Planet of the Apes” is that legendary twist ending that reveals the decayed ruins of the Statue of Liberty. “Rise” is set in San Francisco so we didn’t get to see the real Statue, but in the scene where Caesar watches John Lithgow’s Charles Rodman get attacked by an angry neighbor, the chimp is playing with a Statue of Liberty toy. It’s a cute reference, but the timing of the Statue’s appearance in this particular scene is also a clever bit of foreshadowing. During this sequence Caesar leaps to Charles’ defense and gets into a fight with the angry neighbor. That leads directly to the chimp’s imprisonment, which leads directly to his ape uprising. So you could say that the entire rise of the planet of the apes — the death of a whole species and the ascendancy of another — dates back to this singular moment. And in that singular moment, director Rupert Wyatt inserts this brilliant reference to the single image most associated with the “Planet of the Apes.” In other words, it all started here. It’s a nice touch.

4. Space Flight (of the Apes)
While events surrounding Will and Caesar continue in the foreground of “Rise,” the media makes several background references to a spaceship named Icarus. A briefly glimpsed news report announces “Icarus Entering Mars Atmosphere” and a few scenes later, a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the same vessel was “Lost in Space.” In the ’68 “Apes,” the Icarus is the ship that Taylor, Landon, and Dodge take to the year 3978; two movies later it’s also the ship Cornelius, Zira (Kim Hunter), and Milo (Sal Mineo) take back to 1973. If we get direct sequels to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” you can expect to see more of that spacecraft.

5. Charlton Heston (of the Apes)
The man, the myth, the grumpy, sweaty, intensely-tanned, loincloth-wearing legend makes a very brief cameo, on a television screen at the ape sanctuary. Regrettably, no one says they’ll only change the channel when they pry the remote control their cold, dead hands.

Catch any references we missed?  Tell us about them in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.