Yesterday we brought you three new short films designed to bridge the gap between the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and in that story we also included a trailer for Vice’s new mini documentary The Real Planet of the Apes, which explores Monkey Island in Liberia.
The full doc is now online, and if you’ve got 20 minutes to spare, it’s really interesting. The film chronicles the history of a medical research lab in the African country that performed testing on chimps. Said chimps were then released into the wild on a series of isolated islands, where they still live to this day.
While the initial voyage to Monkey Island is quite terrifying (the chimps are extremely aggressive), this only tells part of the story. The film interviews the director of the lab (who has since returned to America), and she reveals how the place survived two civil wars before public opinion on animal testing finally closed it for good.
Part history lesson, part nature documentary, The Real Planet of the Apes manages to present a realistic portrayal of a location that’s been highly mythologized. Check it out above.