of the Apes PG-13 (Fox) official
Review by Ernest Lilley
Directed by: Tim Burton Writing credits: (WGA) Pierre Boulle (novel) William Broyles Jr.
Cast: Mark Wahlberg .... Capt. Leo Davidson / Tim Roth .... Thade /Helena Bonham Carter .... Ari / Michael Clarke Duncan .... Colonel Attar / Paul Giamatti .... Limbo / Estella Warren .... Daena / Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa .... Krull / David Warner .... Sandar / Erick Avari .... Tival / Luke Eberl .... Birn / Evan Dexter Parke .... Gunnar / Glenn Shadix .... Senator Nado / Kris Kristofferson .... Karubi / Freda Foh Shen .... Bon / Chris Ellis (I) .... Commander Karl Vasich
(source: IMDB: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0133152)
Back in 1968, Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell, Kim Novak and a host of
others starred in a science fiction epic that spawned a whole series of
sequels, as well as an animated version, and actually made people stop
and think about our place in the order of things.
Now Tim Burton has re-lensed Planet of the Apes, and all I want to do is forget that I saw it. Well, forget everything except Lisa Marie as the new Nova.
Remember the epilog to the 1968 Planet of the Apes You know, the part where Heston discovers the Statue of Liberty buried in the sand and realizes that the planet is Earth and that mankind's pride and stupidity ruined it? (In fact, he gets to reprise this scene, though from a different angle, in the current film.)
I know just how he felt.
Confronting the ending of Tim Burton's retake on Pierre Boulle's novel I had the same urge to throw my head back and howl.
Much of the movie is devoted to the exploration of apes parodying humans but it's pure fantasy set up only to amuse the director. The original movie took a serious look at a planet ruled by apes, while this one plays down to the audience in a cruel parody of science fiction.
Science fiction is getting stupider in a terrifying bit of reverse evolution, and Planet of the Apes is an excellent example of the trend.
Maybe I'm too picky, but a fair amount of the plot rests on spaceships that make no sense. The little pods that they fly around in just don't work for me. Trust me, if you crash a pod the size of a Volkswagen into a swamp from orbit, the pilot will wind up strawberry jam. The notion that one of these little gizmos could liftoff from a planet, or traverse interstellar distances is just plain ridiculous. There are worse ideas in the movie, but I'll let you find them for yourself.
I was afraid it was only me, a dinosaur who saw the original in a theater, but the largely teen crowd I saw it with was no more kind, and for the most part, they never saw the original.
In the current film, Mark Wahlberg plays a somewhat reckless spaceman manages to get himself hurtled forward through time in his one man pod and immediately crash lands on a planet peopled by humans and apes. He's worked with chimps trained to fly spacecraft into unknown regions of space, a standard, if unbelievable protocol, some four hundred years hence.
When his favorite chimp pilot is lost exploring a cosmic storm, he disobeys orders to follow him in, and winds up on a Rain Forest covered planet where humans are on the run and apes are in the drivers seat.
Everybody speaks English in this movie, which they actually explain by the end. It's about the only thing they bother trying to make sense of. How a starting stock of Chimps turns into a planet of Apes is a question worth asking, as is the more human, how on Earth do you expect anyone to believe that the human ape love triangle our boy gets into the middle of makes any sense at all.
Estella Warren , as the new version of the previous film's Nova, is very hot in a blond cave girl sort of way, though her English implies that she's had an excellent education somewhere. Helena Bonham Carter, on the other hand, left me cold as Ari the compassionate animal rights ape activist with an interspecies itch. And not me alone, judging to the audiences reaction.
Except for the fun of watching Ms. Warren purse her pouty lips at our reluctant hero, there's really not a lot else to recommend this movie.
The folks who worked on Ape suits and the special effects team that has the characters jumping from ground to tree and climbing the walls deserve applause, of course. And the ape mannerisms, social hierarchy and ape emotions stand out as a strong point as well. Danny Elfman, another Batman alum, provided a decent score by ripping off classical composer Holst's grand "The Planets". None of this can patch up the lack of continuity, plot, or vision that Burton fails to provide.
Go rent the original Planet of The Apes, complete with a better cast, better story and perfectly good special effects, make yourself a banana split, enjoy a really good movie while saving yourself the cost of a ticket.