A Tale of Two Caesars - The old and the new Planet of the Apes

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Joelist, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. Joelist

    Joelist I'm showing this for a reason! Staff Member


    I thought it would be interesting to compare the two Caesars.

    Caesar #1 is the original article, from the 70s era films Conquest of the Battle of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. As he was played by Roddy McDowell lets call this one "Roddy Caesar" for the sake of brevity.

    "Roddy Caesar" was the child of the intelligent apes Cornelius and Zira, who in the movie Escape from the Battle of the Apes travelled from 2000 years in the future to Earth of the 1970s. When his parents were killed shortly after his birth, he has raised by a compassionate circus owner.

    Caesar #2 is the new Caesar, from the recent films Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. As he was played by Andy Serkis lets call this one "Andy Caesar" for the sake of brevity.

    "Andy Caesar" was the child of a female ape who gained intelligence from exposure to an experimental genetic therapy for Alzheimer's. Like Roddy Caesar he lost his mother early on and like him also he was raised by compassionate humans.

    At this point their stories diverge to some extent.

    Roddy Caesar lives in a world where a spaceborne virus killed all the dogs and cats and also (unknownst to the movie antagonists) was causing primates to gain intelligence. In this world the humans first made apes pets to replace their lost dogs and cats then later made them slaves, conditioned to obedience through pretty horrid techniques. The governor of part of this world murders Roddy Caesar's human protector (Ricardo Montalban) forcing Caesar to hide out amongst the ape slave population. The governor fears Caesar and want to kill him while Caesar plots a revolution right under the less than totally bright governor's nose. This culminates in a revolution where despite heavy losses the apes prevail.

    Later the humans engage in nuclear war and most of them are wiped out. Caesar leads an ape community in an undestroyed area. He deals with attacks from mutants and his top general intriguing against him. He also discovers that ape hatred and disdain of humans leads in the far future to the destruction of Earth and changes history by forming peaceful coexistence with the human survivors.

    Andy Caesar lives in a world where the same Alzheimer's treatment that gave him intelligence goes airborne as a plague that kills 90% of humanity. Shortly before the plague Caesar dispersed the therapy to a large group of apes being used for medical experiments, making them intelligent as well. This group escapes from San Francisco to a nearby forest where they form a civilization and get very numerous.

    Ten years after the plague human survivors make contact with Andy Caesar's community. Initial relations work well but a savagely evil lieutenant of Caesar's incites a bloody war between the two. Caesar survives an assassination attempt, kills the lieutenant but war with the humans is not a foregone conclusion so there is no peaceful coexistence (at least as of the end of Dawn).

    So, which one do I like better? Neither. I think each fits their movie universe well and each has strengths:

    Roddy Caesar strengths:

    1) Gets to plan a revolution against evil humans. His planning the revolt was the strong point of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes as well as his speech at the end.

    2) Gets to change the destiny of the planet. Having Caesar learn of the destruction of Earth was good. How they had him realize that he had to change the whole mindset of the ape culture was genius.

    3) Great speeches and oration. Roddy McDowell was a classic thespian and giving him the change to deliver impassioned speeches was a great idea.

    Andy Caesar strengths:

    1) Get to see him attending to the everyday business of running a community. Too many film universes forget this stuff and it is needed - it adds to believability.

    2) Gets to show compassion to humans, apes, family, friends. Andy Caesar is a heartfelt, compassionate character. Roddy Caesar was more cerebral and a touch distant.

    3) Gets to see his son "become an adult". One of the nice parts of Andy Caesar's story is he sees his son mature in the course of the film and his reaction to it.

    The next film will be interesting as right now Andy Caesar is in the middle of a possible arc while in his two films they had Roddy Caesar go through an arc. There is still story to tell for Andy Caesar and we don't quite know where they will go - maybe he like Roddy Caesar will start out a warrior and end up a peacemaker.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2015
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  2. Overmind One

    Overmind One GateFans Gatemaster Staff Member


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