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Hollywood is awesome. Hollywood serves an important role in society, by warning us of the many dangers that bedevil mankind. For example, Hollywood teaches us that if we create artificial intelligence, it will kill us; if we genetically engineer potatoes, they will kill us; if we build self-determing machines, they will kill us; if we make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence, it will kill us; and, most recently, if we uplift another species, we will all die horribly.




Which, at least in the latter case, is not necessarily that far off the mark, as two or more organisms competing for the same ecological niche generally results in what biologists like to call "a bit of a sticky wicket."

However, the fly in the ointment of this particular Hollywood trope is that there are currently just south of seven billion human beings on the planet, making us one of the most populous species of vertebrates in the whole history of ever, and therefore a rather difficult adversary to unseat.

Plus, we have, like, machine guns and cell phones and stuff.

Fortunately, Hollywood screenwriters are up to the task of disposing of such trifling little technicalities with the flick of a plot twist. Unfortunately, they aren't up to doing it well. The end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes had me screaming "EPIDEMIOLOGY, MOTHERFUCKERS! DO YOU SPEAK IT?" in my best Samuel L. Jackson voice (which, truth be told, isn't really that good), but still...EPIDEMIOLOGY, MOTHERFUCKERS! DO YOU SPEAK IT?

The movie goes something like this:

A group of CHIMPANZEES is chilling in the FOREST
CHIMPANZEE: Ook?
A bunch of MACHETE-WIELDING PEOPLE capture the CHIMPANZEES and ship them to a SCIENCE LAB for UPLIFTING
CHIMPANZEE: Ook?
An UPLIFTED CHIMPANZEE solves a TOWER OF HANOI PUZZLE slower than a COMPUTER but faster than a FOX NEWS COMMENTATOR
MAD SCIENTIST: Check that out! An uplifted chimpanzee can solve that puzzle! Faster than that dude on Fox News! How cool is that?
RESEARCH DIRECTOR Can we make money? Because I'd really like to make money. I drive an expensive German car. Money is cool.
MAD SCIENTIST: An uplifted chimpanzee! Solving a puzzle!
RESEARCH DIRECTOR Money?
MAD SCIENTIST: I can totally cure Alzheimer's.
RESEARCH DIRECTOR Cha-ching!

MAD SCIENTIST: I have made an ape smarter. That means I can cure Alzheimer's.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Cool. We want to meet this ape.
The ape goes CRAZY and BREAKS A BUNCH OF STUFF and then CRASHES INTO THE BOARDROOM, which for some reason is located right next to the PRIMATE LAB
BOARD OF DIRECTORS: ...
MAD SCIENTIST: Don't shoot the crazy monkey.
A random SECURITY GUARD shoots the CRAZY MONKEY
MAD SCIENTIST: I said don't shoot the crazy monkey.
RESEARCH DIRECTOR Kill all the apes and scrap the project.
MAD SCIENTIST: What? Why? You've spent billions on this project! Why would you kill it because of one glitch?
RESEARCH DIRECTOR Did I mention I used to work at Hewlett-Packard?
MAD SCIENTIST: ...
CHIMPANZEE HANDLER: I just killed all the chimpanzees. The one that went crazy had a baby.
MAD SCIENTIST: You mean to say a chimpanzee came into this lab pregnant, gave birth inside a clear Plexiglas cell, nursed her child, and you didn't notice?
CHIMPANZEE HANDLER: Look, man, I'm just a chimpanzee expert. I can't be expected to catch everything! Here, take the baby chimpanzee home with you.
JOHN LITHGOW: I have Alzheimer's and I can't remember how to play the piano.
MAD SCIENTIST: Here, play with a baby chimpanzee.
CAESAR THE APE: Knight to king's bishop seven.
JOHN LITHGOW: Cool, a superintelligent baby chimpanzee! Where do you get one of those?
MAD SCIENTIST: I'm a mad scientist.
JOHN LITHGOW: Oh, right.
JOHN LITHGOW breaks a LAMP
NURSE: Your father needs to be in a home. He's breaking lamps. Soon, he will start breaking dishes and curtain rods, and then the next thing you know it'll be Hummel figurines. I've seen it before.
MAD SCIENTIST: I must cure my father's Alzheimer's.
The MAD SCIENTIST steals some EXPERIMENTAL UPLIFT DRUGS and gives them to JOHN LITHGOW
JOHN LITHGOW: Check this out! I totally remember how to play the piano!
CAESAR THE APE: I say, that is most strange.
JOHN LITHGOW: How so, old fellow?
CAESAR THE APE: The experimental uplift drugs work by promoting neurogenesis, do they not?
JOHN LITHGOW: I believe that's what it says in the script.
CAESAR THE APE: Well, if one were to stimulate neurogenesis in an Alzheimer's patient, one might expect to see a return of cognitive ability, but one would not necessarily expect to see the re-acquisition of lost skills or memories, particularly those involving coordinated simultaneous brain function in many different parts of the brain, such as the temporal lobes, the primary motor control cortex, and the auditory association cortex.
JOHN LITHGOW: Ah, I take your point, old chap. The presence of amyloid plaques disrupts neuronal interconnections; neurogenesis would offset the loss of neurons disrupted by Alzheimer's but without necessarily restoring existing synaptic associations, so...
CAESAR THE APE: ...the cognitive potential might be returned, but without the specific trained cognitive functionality that had been lost. Just so. Which means your therapeutic outcome is inconsistent with the described treatment modality.
JOHN LITHGOW: I say, that is an odd result, now that you mention it. Still, gift horse and all that. I can play piano!
CAESAR THE APE: Shall we play a game?
JOHN LITHGOW: Let's play "Which Species Gets to Rule the Planet."
CAESAR THE APE: Wouldn't you prefer a good game of chess?
The NEIGHBOR'S KID rides by on a BICYCLE with a BROKEN CHAIN
CAESAR THE APE: I can totally fix that.
ASSHOLE NEIGHBOR: AAAIGH superintelligent ape in the garage!
The ASSHOLE NEIGHBOR beats CAESAR THE APE with a BASEBALL BAT
CAESAR THE APE: I can kill you with my mind.
HOT NEO-LUDDITE CHICK: Okay, I've stitched up your chimpanzee for you.
CAESAR THE APE: I say, old sport, it is my considered opinion that you should invite her out to dinner forthwith.
MAD SCIENTIST: What? I'm a mad scientist. She's a neo-Luddite. Are you crazy? Why on earth should I date her?
CAESAR THE APE: I have two compelling arguments. First, she's a primate specialist. I may be a superintelligent chimpanzee, but soon I will reach sexual maturity, and my species has a bit of a reputation for unpredictable aggression and poo-flinging when that happens. It's in the genes.
MAD SCIENTIST: And second?
CAESAR THE APE: She's the only named female character in this entire movie.
MAD SCIENTIST: Oh, right.
HOT NEO-LUDDITE CHICK: You should take your chimpanzee out to the redwood forest to play.
MAD SCIENTIST: Okay. Hey Caesar, promise you won't run away?
CAESAR THE APE: I promise.
CAESAR THE APE runs away
A MONTAGE occurs to show the audience that TIME PASSES
CAESAR THE APE: So, I feel compelled to ask, what's your position on personhood theory?
MAD SCIENTIST: Huh?
CAESAR THE APE: Personhood theory. The notion that personhood status is conferred upon a species or entity the moment that species or entity reaches sapience, and is not contingent on being a member of the human species.
MAD SCIENTIST: Huh?
CAESAR THE APE: What am I to you?
MAD SCIENTIST: Oh, that. I made you in a lab.
HOT NEO-LUDDITE CHICK: There are some things that man is not meant to know.
MAD SCIENTIST: Whatever.
CAESAR THE APE: I say there, Mr. Lithgow, not to be presumptuous, but you appear to be holding your fork the wrong way around.
JOHN LITHGOW: Why, so I am. How very odd.
MAD SCIENTIST: John Lithgow's immune system is making antibodies to attack the virus I'm using to do gene therapy to cure his Alzheimer's, and now it's coming back!
SCIENCE CONSULTANT: Wait, what? That makes no sense. First of all, a while ago you said that this drug spurred neurogenesis. Now you're saying it's a gene therapy using a viral vector. Okay, look. First, the brain is immunologically privileged. You wouldn't use a viral agent to do gene therapy on a brain. Second, antibodies aren't present in the brain, because did I mention it's an immunologically privileged organ? Third, you wouldn't use gene therapy to spur on biogenesis. Fourth, if you DID use gene therapy to spur biogenesis, it would be perfectly OK if the immune system made antibodies to attack the virus because once it's delivered its genetic information it's done. Which it wouldn't do anyway because the brain is an immunologically privileged organ. Plus, even if all this did somehow happen, the Alzheimer's wouldn't come back overnight; it would take as long to progress as it did to begin with.
RUPERT WYATT STFU.
SCIENCE CONSULTANT: What are you paying me for?
RUPERT WYATT We aren't.
SCIENCE CONSULTANT: Oh, right.
MAD SCIENTIST: I need a stronger virus to carry the gene therapy.
RESEARCH DIRECTOR Why should I let you mess with this again?
MAD SCIENTIST: I cured John Lithgow of Alzheimer's using some stolen uplift drug.
RESEARCH DIRECTOR Okay, we're going to have to have you arrested for stealing from the lab. We'll also need to convene an ethics review board to look into you using an experimental drug on a human being without ethics oversight or proper consent.
MAD SCIENTIST: ...
RESEARCH DIRECTOR I'm just fucking with you. Do whatever you want.
MAD SCIENTIST: That ape is selfish and meanspirited. He steals cookies. Plus, he's been a research subject before, so he harbors a deep-seated, burning hatred for humanity. Let's try the new uplift virus on him.
AUDIENCE: ...
PRIMATE HANDLER Seriously? This sounds like a good idea to you?
MAD SCIENTIST: What could go wrong?
They give the NEW UPLIFT VIRUS to the MEAN APE using POORLY-DESIGNED EQUIPMENT and TERRIBLE PROTOCOL
The UPLIFT VIRUS goes EVERYWHERE and INFECTS the PRIMATE HANDLER
MAD SCIENTIST: You've been exposed to a viral agent of unknown transmissibility carrying an untested genetic payload that's designed to alter the DNA of primates. We're going to have to quarantine you now.
PRIMATE HANDLER ...
MAD SCIENTIST: I'm just fucking with you. Go outside and sneeze on people or something.
JOHN LITHGOW smashes up the ASSHOLE NEIGHBOR'S car
ASSHOLE NEIGHBOR: I'm calling the police.
CAESAR THE APE: Excuse me, old boy. When I told you that I could kill you with my mind, I must confess to a certain amount of confabulation for dramatic effect. However, as I believe I may have pointed out on that occasion, I am still a chimpanzee, which means I can beat the holy hell out of you and bite off your finger.
CAESAR THE APE beats the HOLY HELL out of the ASSHOLE NEIGHBOR and BITES OFF his FINGER
The CHIMPANZEE POLICE show up and put CAESAR THE APE in CHIMPANZEE JAIL
ASSHOLE KID: I'm going to be mean to you for a while now.
The move WEDGES for a while with a BUNCH OF SCENES of the ASSHOLE KID being an ASSHOLE and the MAD SCIENTIST being GENERALLY USELESS
HOT NEO-LUDDITE CHICK: There are some things that man is not meant to know.
JOHN LITHGOW DIES
MAD SCIENTIST: I am here to take you out of chimpanzee jail.
CAESAR THE APE: While I appreciate the gesture, and meaning no disrespect, I'm sure, I'm afraid I must decline your generous offer. You see, it has recently come to my attention that you are generally useless.
MAD SCIENTIST: Oh, right.
RESEARCH DIRECTOR: We are going to give the new uplift virus to a whole bunch of apes. Plus, we are going to start manufacturing tons of it and stockpiling it in the warehouse.
MAD SCIENTIST: There are some things man is not meant to know.
RESEARCH DIRECTOR: You sound like your girlfriend.
CAESAR THE APE rises to the TOP of the CHIMPANZEE HIERARCHY in CHIMPANZEE JAIL, kind of like that guy in AMERICAN HISTORY X, only with less POO-FLINGING and more COOKIES
CAESAR THE APE: I must beg my leave of you now so I can go steal some canisters of uplift virus from the mad scientist. You see, meaning no disrespect, I'm sure, but you're all a bunch of bloody useless fucking apes.
CAESAR THE APE steals some UPLIFT VIRUS and UPLIFTS all the APES in the CHIMPANZEE JAIL
CAESAR THE APE: Shall we be taking our leave of this rather dismal abode now?
CIRCUS BABOON: By all means, let's.
ASSHOLE KID: You aren't going anywhere.
CAESAR THE APE kills the ASSHOLE KID with HIS MIND A WATER HOSE
The UPLIFTED APES stage a JAILBREAK and FREE all the UPLIFTED APES from the SCIENCE LAB, plus the APES in the ZOO for GOOD MEASURE
FRANTIC WOMAN ON PHONE: You know how we sprayed the primate handler with experimental virus and then told him to go sneeze on people or something?
RESEARCH DIRECTOR: Yeah?
FRANTIC WOMAN ON PHONE: He sneezed on the mad scientist's asshole neighbor and then died.
RESEARCH DIRECTOR: I totally didn't see that coming. Can I call you back in a bit? I'm being chased by a bunch of superintelligent pissed-off apes right now.
POLICE OFFICER: There's a herd of superintelligent apes swarming across the Golden Gate Bridge. Let's all wait for them to get to the end and then shoot them.
CAESAR THE APE: I say, chaps, now would be a most excellent opportunity to employ a flanking maneuver, like those employed by Khālid ibn al-Walīd of Medina during the time of the Rashidun Caliphate.
CIRCUS BABBOON: Spot on, old fellow.
The UPLIFTED APES with no formal MILITARY TRAINING outsmart the HEAVILY-ARMED POLICE and kick their ASSES
MAD SCIENTIST: You should come home with me now.
CAESAR THE APE: Listen, old sport, have you even been watching this movie? There's a mutant killer virus on the loose, we're all superintelligent apes, and maybe you haven't been keeping up with current events, but you just got your asses kicked. Plus, in case you haven't seen that other movie before, we're about to give rise to a whole species of superintelligent apes.
SCIENCE CONSULTANT: The only way that's going to happen is if this virus is intended to insert its genetic payload not only into brain cells, but also into gametes as well. Which makes no fucking sense, because one, putting new genes into germ cells wouldn't do fuck-all for curing Alzheimer's, and two, creating a single virus that infects both nerve cells and gametes is stretching it just a bit, and three, you'd still have to infect males after they reached puberty because they're reproductively isolated before that and aren't even producing gametes. Plus, if you're going to pass new genes matrilineally, you have to infect THEM while they're in the womb, because by the time they're born their gametes are already formed. And did I mention that this makes no sense at all? What would actually happen is that the uplifted apes would give birth to cognitively normal offspring, see, and...
RUPERT WYATT STFU.
The ASSHOLE NEIGHBOR infects the ENTIRE PLANET with the KILLER VIRUS and DOOMS ALL MANKIND
The movie ENDS
AUDIENCE: ...
ME: EPIDEMIOLOGY, MOTHERFUCKERS! DO YOU SPEAK IT?


Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
writersblock_va
Aug. 21st, 2011 05:09 am (UTC)
/sigh
And this is why I had to stop watching ER (or any other medical show) with my wife, the nurse.
(Deleted comment)
james_the_evil1
Aug. 21st, 2011 08:26 am (UTC)
Nice shot at HP, but I'm happy I'm going to be able to buy one of their 32 gig touchpads for $149 so I can use it as a portfolio.

Remind me NEVER to watch science fiction movies with you LOL.
There's an issue of XXXenophile that starts with 2 mad scientists working on a machine to let them contact other similar but just a bit different dimensions adjacent to ours & when they're testing it one of them says "What kind of parameters should I set?"
The other says "Well for the first test let's try something easy & probable."
The other says "What, like a reality where they use real science in movies & television?"
Her partner replies "Don't be ridiculous, I said something PROBABLE."
brockulfsen
Aug. 21st, 2011 08:52 am (UTC)
For a moment I thought it was a documentary on the London Riots:

POLICE OFFICER: There's a herd of superintelligent apes swarming across the Golden Gate Bridge. Let's all wait for them to get to the end and then shoot them.
CAESAR THE APE: I say, chaps, now would be a most excellent opportunity to employ a flanking maneuver, like those employed by Khālid ibn al-Walīd of Medina during the time of the Rashidun Caliphate.
CIRCUS BABBOON: Spot on, old fellow.
The UPLIFTED APES with no formal MILITARY TRAINING outsmart the HEAVILY-ARMED POLICE and kick their ASSES
(Anonymous)
Aug. 21st, 2011 11:14 am (UTC)
Brilliant writeup! Love the nitpicking. Just a couple issues though.

You WOULD use gene therapy to do gene therapy on a brain. It's what I do for a living :)

There is some evidence that the blood-brain barrier breaks down in Alzheimer's disease, so antibodies could be present in Lithgow's brain.

Also, given the viral vector is likely a retrovirus (as you mention when you say it's ok if antibodies are produced to it), there wouldn't be any need for infection in utero as long as the viral payload was inserted into a gamete or gamete-producing cell, as the new genes would just be passed on like every other gene is. Which reminds me, spermatogonia are present before puberty so infecting these would ensure the sperm carry the new genes.
sveltedreams
Sep. 13th, 2011 07:20 pm (UTC)
Dude - I know I am currently witnessing awesome beyond my BFA cognitive ability but you just, like, BURNED him. Nice.
addiejd
Aug. 21st, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
It's things like your bio-explanations that make me gleeful that I saw the Source Code with a physicist. We laughed hysterically at so much of it while the rest of the audience was clueless.
antayla
Aug. 21st, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
Pretty much every movie I watch these days requires some suspension of disbelief, lest I fall into plot holes. But suspending my disbelief sure gets tiring after awhile.
greendalek
Aug. 21st, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
I am disappoint. Not a single Lithgow-ian "laugh while you can, monkey boy!" joke in the entire damned review. --sigh--
justforme88
Aug. 21st, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
I was really frustrated from an academic background in anthropology that made me want to scream....APES can't stand straight like that physically!!! and they don't have the capabilities to make words physically either!!! Inaccurate
ellindsey
Aug. 22nd, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
Apes also don't have the right joint structure in their wrists or shoulders to properly throw a spear. They did have spears, right? I haven't seen the movie but I think I saw a spear-throwing ape scene in the trailer.
justforme88
Aug. 22nd, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
Yep, good catch. There is that scene. There is also this quick moment when the main chimp, Caesar, drags an adult male gorilla a few feet back....I'm not sure a chimp could do that, maybe I'm wrong but I think the gorilla's weight would make that extremely difficult even though chimps are extremely strong.
gailmom
Aug. 21st, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)
brilliant! I was planning to skip it based on stupid fucking previews, but thank you for saving me an hour and a half on the off chance I got just. that. bored.

:P

I will now link my friends to your post because...brilliant.
quaryn_dk
Aug. 24th, 2011 11:40 am (UTC)
You forgot something! (I assume, having not seen the movie.)

CAESAR THE APE: I must beg my leave of you now so I can go steal some canisters of uplift virus from the mad scientist. You see, meaning no disrespect, I'm sure, but you're all a bunch of bloody useless fucking apes.

OTHER APES: Ook?
zotmeister
Aug. 25th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
...Wait, they don't end the film with the tearing down of the Statue of Liberty?! - ZM
jonnymoon
Aug. 25th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
"CHIMPANZEE: Ook?
"An UPLIFTED CHIMPANZEE solves a TOWER OF HANOI PUZZLE slower than a COMPUTER but faster than a FOX NEWS COMMENTATOR"

Amazing, that a monkey can do what neither the CNN or BS-NBC commentator can do at all! (Yet both continue to fling feces at you, routinely.)
ashbet
Sep. 22nd, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
We enjoyed the movie, but my partner and daughter and I had a *spirited, vigorous* discussion about it afterward, covering many of these same points. I still thought it was a good film overall, as long as you were willing to overlook the various glaring scientific and logical plot holes.

And he's an orangutan, not a baboon.

Otherwise, spot-on!!

-- A ;)
tommy50702
Jan. 8th, 2015 10:19 am (UTC)
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )