In this installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise, Caesar, the leader of the apes, and Malcolm, a leader of the humans, work hard to learn to trust each other, work together and keep their races from going to war. Unfortunately, they were not well supported in their willingness to work towards peace. Koba, Caesar’s second in command, is filled with hatred toward mankind for the experiments scientist in the lab did on him. Dreyfuss, the leader of the colony of men, is willing to let Malcolm try for peace, but is working on a back up and arming the colony just in case things go south (the apes are “only animals” after all).
As so often happens in life, you get what you expect; you find what you look for. Malcolm and Caesar expected to find trust, looked to find a friendship…and they did. Koba and Dreyfuss expected betrayal and look for a war, they found it. Koba found the humans arming themselves and assumed this talk of peace was a trap and they were planning to slaughter the apes when they weren’t expecting it. Malcolm’s very act of self-preservation, of being prepared because he didn’t trust the apes, is what gave the apes reason to attack. Everyone got what they exactly what they were looking for.
There’s a huge lesson in that. It’s amazing how self-fulfilling our expectations are.
There are several other great topics for conversation in the movie. Here are several and some Bible verses to chew on.
Discrimination – There is a lot of discrimination in this movie. Even Caesar, who really cared for mankind, realized that he had erred in trusting Koba simply because Koba was an ape, rather than being willing to see the hate that filled Koba’s life.
- Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
- Galatians 5:14 “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
- James 2:2-4 “For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
- Romans 2:11 “For God shows no partiality.”
Hate – It’s understandable that Koba hates mankind. He was horribly treated. But Koba is poisoned by hate because he never forgave, and rather than hating the men who did that to him, he hated ALL mankind. That hate drove him not only hate mankind, but even Caesar, his best friend. His hatred was so strong that he was willing to kill Caesar just so he could lead the apes in an attack on mankind.
· 1 John 4:20 “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
· 1 John 3:15 “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
· Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
· Leviticus 19:17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.”
Jumping to Conclusions – Both sides were anxious, defensive and jumpy, and that make them quick to jump to conclusions. For example, the apes assumed the humans were planning to attack when they saw the guns (when the humans had no intention of attacking, only defending themselves). This is what set Caesar and Malcolm aside, they reserved judgment until they knew all the facts. This is what made them great leaders and peacemakers.
- Proverbs 25:8 “do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame?” That’s the ESV, the Message puts it this way: “Don’t jump to conclusions – there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.”
- John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
- James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Two Masters – Caesar’s son is torn between two ways of thinking, his father’s and Koba’s. He is torn between two very different ideologies from two of his heroes. It’s a tough place for a kid to have to choose between two people he respects. I can’t help but think how many kids from broken homes are put in this same position.
- Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
When you try to save your life, you lose it. The very thing mankind did to try to save themselves was the very means of their destruction. If they had not been working to defend themselves, the apes wouldn’t have seen all the guns and jumped to conclusions. Their very effort to protect themselves was the very thing that put them at greatest risk. Not only did it alarm the apes, but it alerted the apes to where all the weapons were stored. It all backfired and the apes used man’s weapons against him.
- Matthew 10:39 “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
- Luke 17:33 “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.”
- John 12:25 “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Questions for Discussion:
- Malcolm and Caesar looked for good will, trust and peace…and found it. Koba and Dreyfuss were looking for someone to mess up, for deception and for war…and they found it. When have you ever gotten what you looked for?
- If it’s true that we get what we expect / look for in life, then how might that change the way you think and treat people?
- How did you see discrimination in the movie between both apes and humans?
- How does God feel about discrimination?
- How do you see discrimination in the world around you?
- Hate poisoned Koba so much that not only did he hate humans, he began to hate his own kind, even his closest friends. Have you ever been poisoned by hate? What did you do about it?
- How did jumping to conclusions prove fatal to many in the movie?
- Have you ever jumped to the wrong conclusion?
- How can the Bible verses above on not jumping to conclusions help you?
- Have you ever felt pulled between two masters/heroes/parents/voices, etc.? Explain.
- God wants to be the Lord of your life. What are the things that you put, or are tempted to put first in your life over God?
- Man’s attempt at self preservation was the very means of his downfall. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever found that your best efforts to protect yourself were actually the very things that caused you harm or danger?
- What do you think Jesus means when he says that “whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and who ever loses their life will preserve it”?