Planet of the Apes (2001)


Rule the planet.


Jurassic Mark

SCORE: 3 Stars

Planet of the Apes is director Tim Burton's best action picture. However, if you don't like Burton's previous films (Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow) don't expect to fully enjoy Planet of the Apes. While his newest movie works splendidly as an adventure film, the director's personality imposes in trademark fashion. For me, that was a good thing; Planet of the Apes succeeds on multiple levels.

I suppose I'm the target audience for the newest installment of POTA. I'm a huge fan of the 1968 original. I was just a kid when it debuted on TV. I remember a local TV channel's "ape week," featuring the five original films: POTA, Beneath the POTA, Escape from the POTA, Conquest of the POTA and Battle for the POTA. I've saw them all (more than once).

As an adult, I only enjoy the 1968 Charlton Heston film. The production values were fantastic. The apes looked great. The story was co-written by another childhood favorite: Rod Serling (who died at age 51 with a lot of great stories left in him). 1968's POTA was ironic, humanistic and damn entertaining.

Still, I think I like Burton's film better. He takes the source material to its logical conclusion. 2001's POTA focuses more attention on the apes. After all, this is the planet of the "apes." The simians are well developed characters. Burton's apes are interesting because they maintain their animal instinct, but possess human-like intelligence. Thus, their society has evolved as a hybrid of the two species (sort of the worst of two worlds). The only thing the apes lack is modern man's technology. Underdeveloped scientifically, the culture is controlled by the military.

The dominant male ape is General Thade (Tim Roth). Thade is a terrific villain. I kept thinking that Roth deserves some kind of special Oscar, because he almost manages to overplay a psychopathic gorilla.

The opposite end of the spectrum is Ari (Helena Bonham Carter). She's sensitive to the plight of the human slaves. Ari even seems physically attracted to astronaut Leo (Mark Wahlberg). Leo arrived on the POTA through a wormhole in space. In typical Burtonesque style, Leo finds Ari far more interesting than a luscious native blond played by Estella Warren. Warren's character eyes Leo and Ari jealously. Just like fellow space traveler Captain Kirk, females of all species love Leo.

POTA is violent, funny and technically sound. The climax is satisfying, but the plot-twist in the film's final minutes simply doesn't make sense.

POTA is not a remake of the 1968 movie. However, Burton pays homage to the source. Brilliant composer Danny Elfman has fun playing around with Jerry Goldsmith's outdated score. Charlton Heston is given a scene (ironically as an ape). His dialogue (lifted from the original) illustrates the theme of the apes turning the tables on the humans and Burton turning the tables on the story.

Darth Buzz


I was totally surprised at how good this film was.  (I'll get back to that in a minute.)  I'm getting to the point these days where if you say it's a Tim Burton movie I just want to see the movie for the look and feel cinematography wise.  Planet of the Apes just reinforces that idea in my head.  This film if nothing else looks great, but I think it has other assets that put it over the top to make it an excellent film.  See the Jurassic One's review above for details of why this film rocks.

Now it's on to some unpleasant business that must be brought to the table, and it has to do with my surprise at this being a good film.  I thought this was going to be a sub-par affair due to the ramblings of that worthless punk ass whore that we know as Randolph Carter.  I should have known that the advice of a rabid maniac that doesn't like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon should be ignored.  That will be the last time that I take advice about Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Action from that retard.  Just to spite RC, I will give this film the Cinema Maximus, because two of the members of Movie Pit agree that this is a great film, and because RC is too lazy to crank out a review for us.  Take that bitch!