REVIEW: PLANET OF THE APES (2001)

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Attar: Get your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty human!

Director: Tim Burton

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham-Carter, Tim Roth, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Estella Warren

Synopsis: An astronaut crash lands on a planet ruled by intelligent talking apes.

 

Review:

In this underwhelming reboot, director Tim Burton attempts to revive this long dormant franchise for the new millennium. As this film did not spawn any sequels (or enough profit) this reboot killed the franchise pretty quickly (again).

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Burton’s vision (as always) is quite interesting and innovative. His landscapes on the planet are visually stunning as is the makeup and costume design of the apes. Each actor who plays an ape transforms themselves completely with all of the mannerisms and actions of an ape. It makes for a more accurate vision of intelligent apes who rule over humans. Burton invests all of his attention into these ape characters and settings that unfortunately leaves the protagonist Captain Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) with absolutely nothing to do.

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The story revolves around Captain Davidson attempting to rescue his pet ape in space only to fall into a wormhole and crash land on a planet ruled by apes. There are humans who can speak (which differs to the original) however the apes rule them. It is not said how and why they came to rule and how come the humans fell hostage to them. The apes are all interesting characters including crazy performances from Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth and Michael Clarke Duncan as the lead apes. The film doesn’t use the apes we grew to love in the previous films. It tries to form new characters and new relationships to provide new adventures however none of them compare to the original apes and hence this film suffers. The characters in this film are all poorly developed and the plot is even more underdeveloped than the characters. Although the film is visually stunning and entertaining in some action set pieces, the overall lack of plot and character leave this film to be pretty forgettable and it is understandable why the audience reception was quite poor and Burton never returned for a sequel.

Rating: 1.5 Stars

*Check out my Planet of the Apes Retrospective Reviews in the Film Reviews category.