The Prophet of the Apes

Pop Culture

The Prophet of the Apes

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


he closing shot of War for the Planet of the Apes is framed like a Biblical Renaissance painting. It’s a Eureka moment for the viewer; the moment you realise that in a film featuring talking chimps, you’ve just watched a surreptitious Biblical allegory.

Since we’ve replaced our prayer beads and holy books with 3D glasses and ticket stubs, religion has had to adapt. Much like parents discovering Facebook and suddenly learning the meaning of “lit”, religion’s method of keeping up with the times involved disseminating messages through new mediums, like movies and TV. Even back in the silent-film era, the devout could get front-row seats to features based on The Bible. The 1950s version of The Ten Commandments is a landmark hit, and Charlton Heston’s bearded portrayal of Moses lingered on in pop culture as one of the most memorable depictions of Biblical events. If there was a moment of rapture for the holy union of films and faith, this was it.