July 14, 2014 12:36 pm

Critics go bananas for monkeys… in a movie about apes

TORONTO — A headline on Time magazine’s website Monday declared “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes does monkey business at the box office” while the Associated Press reported “the monkey business is a good business to be in at the box office.”

Problem is, apes are not monkeys. There are, in fact, no monkeys in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

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This didn’t stop critics from going bananas with monkey mentions in their reviews.

“Seeing scores of monkeys pulling on reins forces you to accept the inversion of order, and maybe breathe a sigh of relief,” wrote Wesley Morris at Grantland.

Rolling Stone posted: “While Peter Travers may have left his monkey suit on the subway, he’s got plenty to say about the extraordinary Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

In a review headlined “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes doesn’t monkey around,” Jake Coyle of The Associated Press opined that “to a surprising degree, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes belongs to the monkeys.

He told readers: “Eventually we have screaming monkeys on horseback firing automatic weapons amid roaring flames.”

Across the pond, The Mirror posted this headline: “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes review: Apes of wrath are the monkey business”

And, MTV couldn’t control itself. Under the subhead “Monkey business is good,” it reported: “The monkeys are running the zoo — and by zoo, we mean the Planet of the Apes franchise, and by monkeys, we really do mean monkeys.”

Apes are anthopoid catarrhine primates native to Southeast Asia and Africa while monkeys are primates of the Haplorrhini suborder and simian infraorder. In more simple terms, apes do not have tails are can be found roaming the ground while monkeys — most of them, anyway — have tails and spend most of their time in trees.

Gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and humans are apes, not monkeys.

In a 2011 column, The Guardian‘s Martin Robbins took issue with how the words are conflated, calling it “a great crime against pedantry.”

“There are monkeys, and then there are apes,” he wrote. “They are two different things, like dogs and bears, or pants and socks, or homeopathy and functioning medicine. Monkeys, apes. Apes, monkeys.”

But critics and others writing about Dawn of the Planet of Apes (and previous Planet of the Apes movies) are not the only guilty ones.

The Black Eyed Peas released an album in 2005 called Monkey Business that included a drawing of a chimpanzee — which is an ape, not a monkey.

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© Shaw Media, 2014

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