““Dawn?” Plan It!”


Ground Zero is a four-hour drive from Oakhurst.

Muir Woods is on the Pacific Coast of Southwestern Marin County, just northwest of San Francisco. In this postmodern world, it represents a primeval paradise. That’s where we last saw Caesar.

He’s back again starting tomorrow in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, a follow-up to 2011’s Oscar-nominated “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”.

While many still shake, shudder and shiver over the notion that our human species has descended from apes, I have always deemed “ascended” to be more appropriate terminology and have never felt theologically threatened by such notion, sensing a deity of any determination should be given proper credit and acknowledgment for bringing us about any old way deemed divinely desirable at the time of extended origination. Who are we to question or contradict an ultimate causal effect? Huh?

Avoiding any plot spoilers here, suffice it to observe that this latest (eighth) addition to a story line that started with 1968’s original “Planet of the Apes” starring Charlton Heston is the best one yet, combining electrifying cinematic action with surprisingly insightful reflection. Chill out, Cheetah. This hairy hit gets down with it.

What I can relate is the central point of focus. What makes us kill each other? What intuitive, instinctive, integral aspect of our nature often brings us to a biochemical boiling point from which we can only obtain release, relief and retribution through violently forceful action against fellow creatures?

The Middle East has seen enough insanity these last few weeks with I.S.I.S. unilaterally carving out its own new nation from parts of Syria and Iraq as an Islamic Caliphate. This well-armed, tightly disciplined Sunni military group exclusively recognizes Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi as “leader for Muslims everywhere”, a distinction dramatically bolstered by his systematic use of torture, beheadings and crucifixions as a preferred means of winning friends and influencing people. Even Al Qaida dispises him.

And now we see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacting with Old Testament style vengeance against Hamas, a radical Palestinian organization he accuses of kidnapping and killing three young Jewish teenagers, although leaders of that rebellious body, never reticent in the past to admit culpability in acts against the Jewish state, have disavowed any connection with the crime.

As Israeli jets bombed and strafed Palestinian Gaza, Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, a 16 year-old Palestinian teen, was burned alive, simultaneously igniting what threatens to become a Third Intifada – another major Palestinian uprising against Jewish rule. As recorded on security cameras, Muhammed was sitting on a wall outside a mosque and his home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat at 3:34 a.m. Wednesday of last week, waiting for dawn prayer, when a gray Hyundai pulled up and two people forced him into the car. His charred body was found 90 minutes later in the Jerusalem Forest. That’s all video verified.

Over 200 members of the Muslim Brotherhood have now been sentenced to death in Egypt, a country ruled by a former leader of the Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, who was democratically elected President in June of 2012, only to be overthrown by the military barely more than a year later in July of 2013.

Syria remains a quagmire of tangled allegiance and Afghanistan a nightmare of betrayed alliance.

Hatred even finds a home in Murrieta, California, when busloads of refugee children from Central America are angrily confronted by hundreds of openly hostile, epithet screaming, flag-waving “patriots”, providing a new portrayal of “Ugly Americans” reminiscent of Selma, Alabama and the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.

How ironic to perhaps discover Abraham Lincoln’s “better angels of our nature” in a wildly imaginative monkey movie, but isn’t that what the finest of films are for?

You never know what you just might learn.

“Ape alone weak. Apes together strong” – Caesar – “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011)

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