Planet of the Apes (2001)
Director: Tim Burton
Helena Bonham Carter/Ari
Hotshot space pilot Leo (Wahlberg) takes a wrong turn and winds up on a planet where apes rule and humans are slaves. Leo must find a way to get the fuck out of dodge and go back home.
Yes, I’m the moron who’s never seen the original "Planet Of The Apes" so I’ll be judging this update as a stand-alone film. My views on this monkey are fairly simple. I loved the effects, I went banana for the ape makeup (Rick Baker, you’ve outdone yourself again), I savored every scene Tim Roth was in and was charmed by Bonham Carter’s poignant turn. The film moves at an even pace, never gets boring and offers a few striking scenes.
But for the love of King Kong, what was up with the human characters? The lead character (Leo) is as bland as can be! The dude is not too impressed by a planet ruled by tough monkeys, that’s fer sure. The only thing I got out of the Leo character is that he wanted to go home...that’s it! I never felt like he really cared about anybody else but himself. Even his token “Braveheart” like speech before the final battle was a throwaway (Barry Pepper did a better job in "Battlefield Earth"). This brother just don’t give a fuck! The same can be said about Daena (Warren) who’s only there as eye candy. Her pouty delicious looking mouth is as deep as her character gets. It’s a shame because you see the possibility for a love triangle between Leo, Lea and Daena but the flick doesn’t really get into it enough for it to matter.
On the upside, the Ape characters do show true humanity and thank goodness for them, otherwise the film would have left me cold on an emotional level. Lea’s crush on Leo is very sweet and even Thade’s pain (the loss of his father) kind of hit home and gave his rage an added layer.
I also have mixed feelings about the ending. Knowing the ending of the original (yes, someone spoiled it for me), I can safely say that the one in this update doesn’t come close to having the same power or impact. But on the other hand, other than the “returning friend” part, I did still dig the last frames of the film…just don’t ask me to explain it…it would take too long. In the end, "Planet Of The Apes" failed to go as deep as it should’ve but still managed to entertain me for 2 hours. It’s not a bad movie but it's nothing to go crackerjack over either. “Bow your head!”
The ape makeup is astounding! I never doubted for a second that the actors in the ape get-up weren’t real apes. As for gore…well…Kris Kristofferson shows up…
Mark Wahlberg (Leo) does what he can with his thinly written part. He’s ok but his character is far from memorable. At least he dropped the Boston accent for this one. Tim Roth (Thade) really comes through his ape makeup big time and I was glued to the screen every time that he showed up. Helena Bonham Carter (Lea) uses her eyes to communicate her emotions though her ape makeup and it reached me. I really felt for her. She’s the most layered character in the film. Michael Clarke Duncan (Attar) is very imposing as the warrior ape. I wouldn’t fuck with that monkey. Estella Warren (Daena) shows great cleavage and her mouth is a work of art. She should really consider giving me a call. Paul Giamatti (Limbo) does fine as the comic relief ape. Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa (Krull) also does ok but his character didn’t really interest me as much as it should have.
T & A
We get Estella Warren (Daena) dressed in a skimpy caveman-like outfit showing off her perfect body (wow). The ladies will be disappointed by Mark Wahlberg’s shirt…it stays on… no “Good Vibrations” for you gals.
Was this movie directed by Tim Burton??? It doesn’t show. Burton’s trademark style is absent from the film. It’s still tightly directed but there’s nothing that really stands out.
A very strong score by Danny Elfman. Man, this dude is good!
"Planet Of The Apes" failed to pop my cork but it still gave me two hours of harmless fun. I would have liked a deeper exploration of the themes brought up and a more interesting hero but the ape makeup and the situation kept me going. Now I have to see the original. I wonder if apes are good in bed…mmm…
The film was shot in Arizona, Australia, Trona Pinnicles, California, Sydney, New South Wales, Hawaii and Los Angeles, California.
Charlton Heston, who plays Tim Roth's ape father in this film, played the lead character in the original 1968 "Planet of the Apes".