The Planet of the Apes science fiction movies contain plenty of references, both to the franchise’s history and pop culture. There’s one you might have missed though, that ties the action movies to none other than Super Mario, and specifically his gorilla pal, Donkey Kong.
In the modern adventure movie trilogy, a group of apes that help humans are dubbed ‘donkeys’. This is because they accept servitude, something that’s looked down on by other tribes who want ape liberation. It’s the kind of thing you wouldn’t think any more of, because the apes are acting like donkeys, therefore that’s what they’re called, but director Matt Reeves has confirmed a deeper meaning too.
When asked by a fan if the ‘donkey’ is a nod to Donkey Kong, Reeves simply responded, “Indeed”. In the world of Super Mario, Donkey Kong is a heroic gorilla who collects bananas and swings around the jungle. Besides King Kong, he might be the most famous primate in the world, making him a reference point for any monkey-based entertainment.
We’re about to see a Donkey Kong resurgence as well, since he appears in the upcoming Super Mario Bros movie, to assist our favourite plumber in saving the Mushroom Kingdom. Seth Rogen voices the character.
Meanwhile, a new Planet of the Apes movie is in active development. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is directed by Wes Ball, and it’ll carry on from War for the Planet of the Apes, though how much time in between them remains to be seen.
Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will arrive in cinemas May 24, 2024. Check out our list of the best video game movies for more monkeying around.