You could argue that "Rise of the Planet of The Apes," which opens on Aug. 5, has a redundant title. Based on what the movies have been showing us recently, the apes and monkeys took over long ago. In fact, it seems like every blockbuster these days features at least one primate in a supporting role.
Caesar the Chimpanzee, 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes'
Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings," plays the lead chimpanzee in this reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise about hyper-intelligent primates that take over the world. Thanks to motion-capture technology, Serkis' expressive face and body make Caesar seem thoughtful, soulful and even dangerous, and since parts of the movie are told from his perspective, it's possible we'll cheer him on as he attacks humanity.
Ancestors: Roddy MacDowell (who played Caesar in two "Apes" films from the 1970s); the monkeys that bring apocalypse at the start of "28 Days Later…"Aping the apes: TV's top 'Planet' parodies
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Bernie the Gorilla, 'Zookeeper'
Voiced by Nick Nolte, Bernie the Gorilla teaches the human characters (especially Kevin James' title zookeeper) about the value of friendship and love, and he even orchestrates a romantic reunion at the end of the movie. However, he'll probably be remembered for his lifelong desire to go to T.G.I. Friday's, which reminds us that even the most sensitive gorilla can enjoy a good appetizer platter.
Ancestor: Clyde the Orangutan, Clint Eastwood's road buddy in "Every Which Way But Loose"Story: Top bananas: Best and worst of 'Planet of the Apes'
Crystal the Capuchin, 'The Hangover II'
Watch out for Crystal: She is bad news. A chain-smoking, coke-snorting monkey who pals around with gangsters, she gets stranded with the hapless friends in "The Hangover II" after they wake up from a night they can't remember. Never, ever trust a tiny monkey who can party like a grown man.
Ancestors: Marcel, Ross Gellar's feisty monkey on "Friends"; Thora Birch's kleptomaniac pet in "Monkey Trouble"Video: 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' premiere (on this page)
Jack the Monkey, 'Pirates of the Caribbean' series
He's not a major player in "On Stranger Tides" — he's been magically shrunk and stuck inside a bottle, after all — but Jack the Monkey is still one of the greatest elements of the four "Pirates" movies. Jack Sparrow likes to torment him (and vice versa), but Sparrow's nemesis Barbossa loves the furry guy. The series gets a lot of mileage out of that dynamic, with Jack the Monkey pestering nearly everyone he sees. As a bonus, he's immortal. Monkey fun forever!
Ancestors: The Wicked Witch's flying monkeys; Donkey Kong
Master Monkey, 'Kung Fu Panda' series
Master Monkey is a kung fu warrior who has a good sense of humor. Does anything else need to be said? He may not be the star of the "Kung Fu Panda" movies, but if he weren't there to fight the various bad guys of the world, then we'd all be having less fun.
Ancestors: King Louie from "The Jungle Book"; the Great Grape Ape
Mark Blankenship is on Twitter as @CritCondition
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