I recently saw the movies “ZooKeeper” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. Both of these movies featured talking animals. Pure fantasy right? But the more I thought about it, I’m not so sure.
The movie “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, in my mind, is a prequel of sorts to the old Planet of the Apes movies I watched as a child. This latest installment shows the very beginning. In case you haven’t seen it, I won’t go into much plot detail. Generally, it’s the story of a baby ape who is taken in by a human and grows up used to acting like a human. The movie dramatically displays the ape’s shock when he is later caged and has to adapt to cruel treatment, as well as interacting with his own kind. By the end of the movie, the other characters, and the audience I might add, are stunned when the ape speaks actual words.
“Zookeeper” is more on the comical side. The animals in the zoo come up with a plot to keep from losing their beloved zookeeper. Especially in light of the fact that the zookeeper in question actually cares about the animals. His compassion is searingly contrasted with the unfeeling disdain show for the animals by one of the other zookeepers.
Both movies are good, but the chipmunk in “Zookeeper” is what made me question our human assumptions that we are the only species that speak in actual understandable words. Oh we accept the fact that hyenas laugh, but that’s about it. Could it be that our arrogance as the master species won’t let us entertain the prospect? The chipmunk queries why people think that parrots are the only animals that can talk.
Why indeed? A main premise in “Zookeeper” is that animals can talk, but don’t. The general consensus of the animals is that humans wouldn’t be able to handle it if we knew animals could talk. So they audibily communicate in barks, growls, or moos when we are around, but when alone, use words and have actual conversations. Far-fetched? Maybe so.
But do me a favor when you get some free time. Go to YouTube and search “talking animals”. You’d be surprised at some of the videos people have posted of their talking pets. Some might say the animals are only mimicking sounds their masters have taught them. But who is really to say? Maybe the animals are just showing concerned restraint for their masters’ sensibilities. What say you?