Do Unto Others... Essay

1505 words - 7 pages

Science fiction is a genre that is centered around a society that has undergone extreme advances or major social and environmental transformations. Tim Burton’s films Planet of the Apes and Mars Attacks! both fall under the category of science fiction. In Planet of the Apes Captain Davidson of the United States Air Force has been hurled into a world unlike the one he has known, where apes are the rulers and humans are the ruled. In Mars Attacks! the United States, and eventually the entire planet, is under attack by an alien race out to destroy all humans. By using the humans as the victims in these films, Tim Burton analyzes the idea of what it means to be human, decomposes our ideas of morality, and asks questions about relationships amongst people who differ from each other.
Captain Leo Davidson is out in space looking for his chimp, Pericles, who has become lost out in the galaxy, when he is launched onto an unknown planet. This planet is unlike any he would have expected to experience in his lifetime. It is a planet where apes rule and humans are hunted, captured, forced into cages, and sold as slaves to the apes. This is a planet completely opposite of the one Davidson is from. Humans are no longer superior and are seen to be at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Captain Davidson is part of a group on the space station Oberon that sends chimps into space in order to collect data. These animals live in cages and are only taken out when needed for missions that are seen as too dangerous for humans. As seen in Picture 1, these cages are in an all white room with high key lighting. These two elements relate to the belief by the astronauts that there is nothing wrong with these animals being locked in cages. This scene is loosely framed which makes it seem as though the characters have plenty of space to move around. This concept is only true for the humans, who are not confined in cages like the chimps. When this scene is compared to the one in which the humans are in a cage, the idea of whether it is right to put a creature in a cage comes into question. In Picture 2, the humans are being dragged out of the cage by their necks. This scene has very low key lighting with dark color values, alluding to the idea that the humans are being treated maliciously by the apes. This scene is meant to cause sympathy for the humans from the viewers. When compared to the earlier scene with the chimps in the cages on the space station, we see Lieutenant Colonel Grace Alexander holding Pericles as one would a small child (Picture 3). This scene makes it seem as though the chimps are treated kindly on the space station, further emphasizing the fact that, in comparison, the apes on this new planet treat the humans horribly. The reality is that both the chimps on the space station, and the humans on this new planet experience some form of enslavement and are seen as inferior to the other.
When watching the scene on the space station with the chimps in cages, I...

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