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"Shut Up, You Freak!"

That's one of my favorite lines from Planet of the Apes, delivered by Julius, the Gorilla assistant to Dr. Zira, to Taylor when he blasts him with a fire hose.

And that's what Tim Burton is saying to all of us right now.

Tim Burton doesn't like what you're doing and he wants you to stop.

What are you doing? You're participating in communication. Over the Internet. You're reading what I have written, and you're free to write back, agree, disagree, e-mail your friends about it, whatever. What's worse, we're about to communicate about Tim Burton's remake (or "re-imagining"... yeah, right) of Planet of the Apes. And that just ticks him off to no end. And I just made a disparaging comment about the whole "re-imagining" nonsense. That should tick him off even more. By the end of this article, he should really be fuming.

Here's what Burton had to say, according to the Internet Movie Database, dated July 27, 2001:

Burton Blasts The Internet

Director Tim Burton is going ape -- he's furious at the entire internet after a website gave away the ending of his new film Planet Of The Apes, just days before its US release. The hot new film was shrouded in secrecy -- until, that is, website The Drudge Report revealed some essential plot details. Burton rages, "This is why the earth is doomed. Ultimately, that's the scary thing about this whole internet. What's the point anymore as a filmmaker? The internet is really negative -- so many negative thinkers are running it. People think I'm dark -- these internet people are as dark as they come. We're killing ourselves and we don't know it. Don't they realize that the printed word destroys lives? A lot of lives worked on this movie for a long time. I try quietly in my soul to keep going and not let it disturb me, but as a filmmaker, half your day is wasted responding to internet rumors. On this movie I had to tell the studio, 'No, Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter's characters are not having a three-headed ape baby.'"

I can understand his being miffed about what Drudge did. I'm miffed about it. So are many others, especially Harry Knowles at Ain't It Cool News. Drudge revealed the ending to the new Planet of the Apes film before it was released, which in and of itself is not wholly bad, but he offered no spoiler warning to inform people who DIDN'T want to know that that was what he planned to do. That is inexcusable. I had some respect for Drudge. He seems in some ways a throwback to the reporters of old, who got down and dirty and went after a story, rather that just reading the wire reports like so many lazy newscasters do today. Drudge earned his place in the history books by breaking the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal when the rest of the news media was sitting on the story, forcing them to go with it. The rest of the world started paying a little more attention to "Internet reporting." Now Drudge has ruined what little credibility he had with this stunt. And that's exactly what it is. He's become the school yard brat who tells everyone the ending of a movie so that he can ruin the experience for everyone.

I was fortunate. I don't read Drudge very often. I heard about the incident via Harry at AICN, who wasn't so lucky. Harry, as webmaster of the largest movie news site, went to great lengths to NOT learn about Planet of the Apes so that he could be surprised. Then Drudge had to ruin it. What Drudge did was despicable and unjustified. But the point is, Drudge was the only one who did it. AICN didn't, we didn't, Dark Horizons didn't, Coming Attractions by Corona didn't, and Cinescape Online didn't. I only know of one other website that sought to give away the ending. We provided a link to it and labeled it as a possible spoiler. Only one person sought to "destroy the experience" of watching Burton's film, and yet Burton chooses to curse the entire Internet for the actions of one man.

We've given him a couple of years of free advertising. Do we get a thank you? No.

Sure, we reported the rumors, like the supposed love scene between Leo and Ari (that, thankfully, didn't take place) and George Clooney's cameo. But that's part of the fun. People like to speculate. What's more, and what other filmmakers have learned (like Kevin Smith and Kevin Williamson... maybe it's only Kevins) is that they can use the "misinformation" to their advantage. Have fun with it! Get in the game! Tired of denying that you actually shot five different endings? Tell people it was really six! It's not one three-headed half-chimp, half-human baby, it's twins! Triplets even! Don't want people to know how your movie ends? Tell them how it doesn't!

Alfred Hitchcock himself loved to spread misinformation about his films. He had a ball telling lies about Psycho, even creating a big stir throughout Hollywood with all the gossip-mongers as to who was going to play Mother. Hitchcock knew people loved to talk and to speculate. He would have LOVED the Internet. Sir Winston Churchill did the same thing with D-Day, and it worked like a charm (certainly more important than a movie release). Germany knew we were going to invade, but they had no idea of where or when. Churchill protected that secret with a "bodyguard of lies." And yes, both Hitchcock and Churchill would have been ticked, too, at Matt Drudge (especially Churchill). But I don't think either would have condemned an entire group of people based on the actions of one man. That's a form of bigotry, which, as you know, is one of the themes of Planet of the Apes.

The printed word does not destroy lives, Tim. It's called freedom of speech, freedom of the press. Every American has the right to say what they what, whether you agree with it or not. And likewise, just because we all have that right, doesn't mean others have to listen. Especially if they don't want to.