A Future without Electricity
That’s what radical Greens want — and President Obama’s policies are moving us toward.

Back to the Future?: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


Stephen Moore

Could the radical-Green movement in America make mankind’s future resemble a science-fiction Earth ruled by apes?

This weekend I went to the see the blockbuster movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and an Investor’s Business Daily editorial this week got me thinking about a bleak scenario. Our future won’t have ape rulers, but, IBD points out, a world without energy might well look similar.

In the movie, bands of humans are resisting a global government of super-intelligent monkeys, gorillas and the like. The humans lack access to electricity, making their struggle — let along the normal life we know today — nearly impossible.

They are rendered powerless — literally. The simian despots understand that depriving the humans of access to electricity will keep them underfoot. (The climax of the movie, as IBD explains, has humans in San Francisco — of all places — heroically reopening a power plant and bringing electricity back to the whole city.)

I wonder how many Americans got the subtle message here: Energy is the master resource. Without it, we return to a Stone Age existence. Life in its absence is nasty, brutish and short.

Is that where the radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today, would take us? If we continue to follow their advice, electric power and fuel will become more expensive (as President Obama has admitted). The Investor’s Business Daily editorial noted, “as the Sierra Club, billionaire Tom Steyer and the Obama administration rage war against coal and other fossil fuel,” we could end up seeing “rolling brownouts and even blackouts in the years ahead.”

In other words, America’s future may not be a chaotic world of climate change, but a pre-modern one without the luxuries afforded by plentiful energy.

Consider the Obama administration’s ongoing war on coal, marked most recently by new Environmental Protection Agency regulations requiring dramatic reductions in carbon emissions from power plants. America gets about 40 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants, as IBD notes.

The greens say, no problem, we will shift to renewable energy. But it’s not so simple, as IBD points out: States with onerous renewable-energy standards such as Colorado and California are still relying heavily on coal to fill in the gaps during bad weather or periods of high demand.

There is a reliable, green, economical alternative: natural gas. It’s become cheap and abundant due to new smart drilling technologies. But the environmentalists are busy devising strategies to shut down natural gas as an energy source as well, raising unsupported objections to fracking, one of the methods used to extract it. The Sierra Club says we have to move “beyond natural gas,” even though natural gas is reducing carbon emissions.

And as IBD notes, the Left has little love for other sources of electricity, either, such as nuclear and hydro. In fact, the editorial notes, we get about 90 percent of our power from sources that the Left is trying to shut down.

Sorry, for the foreseeable future, we aren’t going to get our power for our $18 trillion economy from wind turbines and solar panels. And if we begin to try, prices are going to skyrocket.

As for our major transportation fuel, the Greens think oil is a “dirty” fuel that causes global warming. They’re trying to stop domestic drilling anywhere they can. They say we should move to electric cars. Fine. But where are we going to get the electricity to power the batteries?

Last summer our suburban home in northern Virginia lost power for two days during a storm. No lights, no computers, no air conditioning, no TV, no iPods or iPhones. To my three sons, this was like hell on earth. How did people live without electricity? They wondered. Very poorly, I told them.

I wonder how many young people will be so excited about “green energy” when such outages are commonplace and they come to the realization that life without those “dirty” sources of power won’t be so wonderful.

We don’t need apes to destroy our planet. The green humans seems to be doing a fine job of it all on their own.

— Stephen Moore is chief economist at the Heritage Foundation.

Movie Preview: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Get ready to go ape again with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the latest film in the modern reboot of the classic 1960s-70s science-fiction franchise, out in theaters on July 11. Here’s a spoiler-free look at the new film and the amazing special effects that bring intelligent apes to life.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes picks up a decade after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, after much of human civilization has been wiped out by a deadly virus.
Ceasar (Andy Serkis), an intelligent ape who was raised in a genetic laboratory, leads a group of fellow simians as they carve out an existence in the Redwood forests of northern California.
Small pockets of human survived the virus, but struggle to survive in the ruins of human civilization. One group is led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke, in blue shirt).
While many humans distrust apes, Malcolm finds a special bond with them, striking up a something of a friendship with Ceasar. But can it last?
Ellie (Kerri Russell), a former CDC nurse and Malcolm’s wife, shares a moment with a baby ape
Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) leads of a band of surviving humans in the ruins of San Francisco. Malcolm wants to deal with the apes, but Dreyfus doesn’t trust them, and readies for war.
After a chance encounter in the forest, the fates of both humans and apes are thrown on a collision course.
Some among the apes counsel war, chief among them Koba (Toby Kebbell), another refugee from human experimentation who has no patience or pity for humans.
Rocket (Terry Notary) is a skilled fighter and one of Caesar’s closest allies.
Maurice (Karin Konoval), a former circus performer, now serves as Ceasar’s consigliere.
GUN CONTROL: In an echo of the original films, the issue of guns enters into the plot when the apes take possession of human weapons. Whether or not to use them, and whether to wage war with the humans, becomes a decision of deep import to Ceasar and his fellow simians.
Some have accused director Matt Reeves of putting an anti-gun agenda into the film, which he denies, telling the Daily News: “The issue of gun control involves lots of complicated reasons why that is or isn’t a good idea. This film takes place in a post-apocalypse in which there’s a different meaning behind guns.”
“The gun symbolizes human technology dedicated to violence. In that sense here, guns are like the serpent in Eden.”
SIMIAN THESPIANS: Dawn expands on the groundbreaking motion-capture and computer animation technology that brought the apes to life in the previous film. The days of long sessions in the makeup chair that marked the original films are long gone.
Andy Serkis, who has been the key mover in defining the art of motion-capture acting in the Lord of the Rings films — where he portrayed Gollum — returns as Ceasar.
On the set, Serkis and the other “mo-cap” actors wear a full-body suit and a camera that captures facial expressions. Pictured, Serkis with his rig (left) and the final visage of Ceasar.
Serkis on the set, acts out a scene.
The final shot. After Serkis’s performance is recorded, a team of digital artists refine and adjust it as needed, and add environmental lighting effects to blend the resulting image seamlessly into the live-action image.
Serkis (on horseback) on the set with Jason Clarke.
Other mo-cap actors go a little ape.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT: Critics have given Dawn of the Planet of the Apes high marks for its action quotient and special effects, and many have also praised the ideas it explores beneath the war paint. Here’s a look at some early reviews.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Critic no kill plot twists, except to say that the climactic battle is a humdinger. Save the biggest cheer for Serkis, whose triumphant performance is the gold standard in mo-cap acting.”
A.O. Scott, New York Tmes: “Dawn is more than a bunch of occasionally thrilling action sequences, emotional gut punches and throwaway jokes arranged in predictable sequence. It is technically impressive and viscerally exciting, for sure, but it also gives you a lot to think, and even to care, about.”
Dan Stevens, Slate: “Dawn is a straight-up war film, with a story that alternates an escalating series of ape/human battles with scenes of intra-species conflict and betrayal in both worlds.”
Matt Jul, “The plot and imagery in Dawn may parallel previous apocalyptic, sci-fi films, however, its strong thematic content makes it more akin to a Shakespearean tragedy with a contemporary twist.”
Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: Without pummeling the viewer, the only thing so many action, big-budget-oriented directors seem to know how to do these days, Reeves delivers the goods with a fluid sense of imagery and an intelligence more philosophical than geeky or scientific.”
Michael O’Sullivam, Washington Post: “The apes’ feelings are conveyed beautifully, mainly through facial animation and sign language. Though only one or two of them actually speak, they are remarkably expressive characters.”
Richard Corliss, Time: The viewers’ brain may be moved by Caesar’s statesmanlike sagacity, but their guts want war. This is an adventure film, not a Pacifica radio pledge drive. As one of the humans says of the apes, “They’re talking animals! With bad-ass spears!”
Guy Lodge, Variety: Serkis must by now be used to the superlatives heaped upon his agile fusion of performance and image in many a CGI spectacle, though he’s in particularly empathetic, emotionally specific form here; Kebbell’s brute physicality and wild-eyed animosity, meanwhile, burns through the digital disguise.”
Updated: Jul. 11, 2014