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August 2001

Download the word version, perfect for printing and handing out on street corners!
In this issue:    The Midget Monkey Menace!   Attack of the Crappy Titles!   Rock Star 101!   PLUS: Learn to read with Batturtle!   The Socio-Economics of Giant lizards!   And 10 Reasons to Hate ASH!
The Planet of The Apes *****


At last, it has happened. Tim Burton, a director I have respected ever since he showed us how truly disturbing Paul Reubens could be in Pee Wee's Big Adventure, has finally turned his creative camera lens upon a subject close and dear to my heart, namely monkeys and their insatiable lust for world domination. It has long been known to scientists, animal behaviouralists, and viewers of the film Congo that the life's goal of any given monkey is the destruction of the human race, be it through the traditional route of global conquest or through the more insidious path of eating away at society's very foundations through the production of films like last year's MVP: Most Valuable Primate. Their lust for human bloodshed was first documented years ago in the original series of Planet of The Apes movies, and has since been explored time and time again in such films as Amicus' Murders in the Rue Morgue, George Romero's killer chimp vehicle Monkey Shines: An Experiment In Fear, and Matt LeBlanc's Ed. However, my own attempts to capitalize on this genocidal simian ambition by creating my own race of killer cyborg monkeys held in thrall to me via a complex network of wireless data transmitters has yielded nothing more than several trees worth of discarded blueprints and a two foot-tall King Kong action figure with a battery-pack crudely duct-taped to its chest. So, naturally, I was hopeful that Burton's remake of Planet Of The Apes would provide me with some pointers. Or, failing that, at the very least enough insights into monkey psychology to allow me to perhaps hypnotize a few of the bastards long enough for them to sneak through the air-venting of the local Movieland and steal me some Vincent Price movies. But while the film failed to provide me with even the slightest clue as to how to destroy the world using primates, it proved to be an entertaining ride nonetheless. There are several major differences between this film and the 1968 original, that range from the minute, like giving the humans the power of speech, to the massive, like changing the ending from the now-classic surprise shocker to a non-sensical mishmash of test-screened tripe. But one positive change comes with the replacement of original lead actor Charlton Heston, who had extreme difficulty trying to act with any modicum of restraint, with Mark Whalberg, who merely has extreme difficulty trying to speak. But while he has the diction of a Neanderthal with mumps, I am assured by my female friends that Whalberg more than makes up for lack of talent with muscle mass. The fact that much of this mass appears to be located in his hulking Paleolithic brow does not seem to faze anybody but me, but I digress. Monkey Mark and his Monkey Bunch are a fine addition to the film, which flourishes under Burton's trademark dark direction to become possibly the finest movie to feature killer monkeys since 1999's blood-soaked Mighty Joe Young. The plot follows Whalberg's character Leo Davidson, a US Air Force astronaut who accidentally pilots his one-man craft through an electromagnetic time-portal and into planet Dagoba, which has apparently been over-run with chimpanzees since Yoda's death. Upon his crash landing, Monkey Mark immediately finds himself under attack by a horde of monkey storm troopers, led by the inimitably insane Tim Roth, who spends the course of the film acting with all the subtlety of Jim Carrey on crack-cocaine. But the highlight of the film is not the state-of-the-art special effects, the grand scope of the plot, or the gibbering idiocy of Whalberg and his cronies, but in fact the none-too-subtle societal parable implicit in the story. For what film would be complete without a heavy-handed moral lesson to impart upon the youth of today, and Planet of the Apes is no different. The film, with its endless references to segregation, slavery, and discrimination, is obviously trying to tell us something about midgets. By which of course I mean that if they're going to try and force-feed me some dinky moral message about equality and racism like I'm some half-wit with more suggestibility that a pre-teen reading YM, I'm going to start acting like one and being as deliberately misinterpretive as I can. So, obviously, the film's message about marginalized members of society can only be contemporarily applied to the dwarf segment of the population, who have be waging their own civil rights battle for equality for years. Sure, the film tells us, midgets, or 'leprechauns' as they prefer to be called, may be sub-human and useful only for entertainment and whatever simple household tasks our women can't perform, but does that mean that they should be degraded and mis-treated? Quite frankly, yes, because if Planet of the Apes has taught me nothing, and it hasn't, it's that if we don't keep our midgets firmly in their place, they will rise up and conquer us, ruling the world with a diminutive iron fist, cackling madly in their tyranny like tiny uber-lords insane with power. So, plainly, Planet of the Apes succeeds as both an entertaining summer block-buster and a cautionary tale as to the evils of dwarf emancipation.. In that spirit, Planet of the Apes' anti-midget message has come through loud and clear, placing them high on my hit-list, right above The Barenaked Ladies and below the French. Where they will stay, until my cyber-chimp plan comes to fruition, and the world becomes my oyster.

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