Why Planet of the Apes is Better than Star Wars

Last week, I went to the movie theater to watch the final movie in my favorite series of all time, War for the Planet of the Apes. I bought my tickets in advance online and showed up earlier than I do to most movies, afraid I wouldn't find a good seat. A bittersweet feeling hit me as I walked in to find the theater almost empty. Granted, the theater filled up as showtime neared, but I still felt disappointed. I wondered to myself why a Planet of the Apes movie didn't have lines out the door and three hour waits like Star Wars might. After all, Star Wars fans are some of the most loyal fans of any movie franchise out there, so one should strive to have a fan base like that.

But that's when it hit me...the Star Wars fan base is so strong that it will be successful no matter what. All that has to be done on that front is to not completely screw up (although some would argue that they screwed up in the making of episodes 1-3). I would argue that the Star Wars movies have been on a downward trend in terms of quality since 1980. Meanwhile, the latest Planet of the Apes trilogy has a brand new take on how it all began. The ALZ-112 formula from Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a unique idea and brings a modern perspective to the story to make the reboot a strong standalone movie.

I have a theory that all the movies connect, but are not on the same timeline. Based on the description of infinite regression from the third movie, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, one could argue that the first 2 movies in the original series, the last three movies in the original series, and the recent trilogy are all in separate lanes on the same highway of time. However, all roads have the same destination: the simian race overtaking the human race as the dominant species. Thanks to the infinite regression hypothesis, we can explain why the reboot has a unique story, yet has some similarities to the original story.

My favorite reference to the original movie from War is when Maurice names Nova. The delivery is exactly like that given by Taylor in the original film when he names his Nova. Another is the music score, which is quite similar to the original films, but doesn't feel like it's just a movie score from the 70's. (Not to mention the dress of Bad Ape which sparked a brief controversy even though it is similar to the clothing of the original movie)

These are subtly similarities geared toward fans of the franchise as a whole, but doesn't leave the audience of the new series in the dark. That is what I think separates the Planet of the Apes films from the Star Wars films. Planet of the Apes gives easter eggs to appeal to the long-time fans, while growing an audience who have only watched recent films. Star Wars just barely does the former, bringing back the original actors to play the same roles as the first trilogy. Other than that, not much is new.

Really though...

Star Wars: "We must destroy the Deathstar!"

Return of the Jedi: "We must destroy the thing that is bigger than the Deathstar!!"

The Force Awakens: "We must destroy the thing...that is bigger than the thing...that was bigger than the Deathstar..."

Plus, the entire franchise is based around a family feud that the universe would be way better off without.

All this has led me to one conclusion: The Planet of the Apes franchise appeals to new and old fans alike, but doesn't get the credit it deserves. Meanwhile, Star Wars exploits the unconditional love of its fanbase to profit off of mediocre movies. Therefore, The Planet of the Apes is a drastically better movie series than Star Wars.


War for the Planet of the Apes trailer is right here.