Sunday, June 15, 2014

Planet of the Apes (2001)

Director: Tim Burton

Writers: Pierre Boulle, William Broyles Jr., Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal

Composer: Danny Elfman

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Estella Warren, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, David Warner, Kris Kristofferson, Erick Avari, Deep Roy, Rick Baker, Charlton Heston

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The battle begins November 20th

Plot: An Air Force astronaut crash lands on a mysterious planet where evolved, talking apes dominate a race of primitive humans.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Alright, so I'm burning through the sci-fi DVDs on my shelf, going through every one I haven't seen since 2007.  I saw this in the theaters with my dad and we were both amazed at how bad it was.  I can't remember what we didn't like specifically but we left the theater with a bad taste in our mouths.  Maybe the expectations were too high.  Well, now that I've revisited it, it all came back to me.  Wahlberg was a poor choice for the lead.  Heston was ideal in the '68 film.  Sorry but I have a tough time separating the two films.  As a film to stand on its own, this version is OK.  It's a standard, by the numbers action film with very little imagination.  As a remake, it's terrible.  The '68 film is superior in every way. 

How retarded is it that Leo (Wahlberg) is honestly trying to teach a chimp how to fly a spaceship?  And that's just in the first 3 minutes. It gets worse when that chimp arrives at the end to save the day at the precise moment he/she needed to.  That's bullshit.  A huge mistake is letting the humans talk. Visually, it's a dark film, the complete opposite of the original. We finally get some daylight desert shots in the last hour but even most of those are graded darker.  Carter and Giamati stole the show in the acting department.  At the opposite end of that scale you've get Estella Warren as the hot cave girl, Daena. She's just horrible, and it's obvious she's wearing makeup.  The story bears little resemblance to the original film as does about everything else (including the names) so the only thing they've got in common is that the planet (or at least these few square miles of it) are run by apes.  The ending was neat with Marky Mark's discovery at the, ahem, Lincoln Memorial.  And it's nice to see David Warner and Charlton Heston in the picture even for just a little while.  What's more, this in no way feels like a Tim Burton picture.  I remember years before this it was talked about Oliver Stone directing a PotA movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead.  That sounds a lot more interesting than this film.   The original was special.  It touched on a lot of social issues, gave us some great science fiction and managed to be a damn fine entertaining picture that's loaded with surprises.  This one's only surprise was that it's worse than we thought it'd be.  RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011) managed to correct that and deliver something fresh and intriguing and its sequel, coming out very soon, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014), looks to be one hell of a ride. One thing every APES picture has in common...outstanding makeup effects.

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