I recently downloaded and watched the trailer (links can be found at the bottom of the page) for the Planet of the Apes remake from the web.

It stars Markie Mark (er, sorry, Mark Wahlburg) and is directed by the one and only Tim Burton. The movie is described more as a "variation on themes" than a straight remake, which is a good thing because there probably isn't a sci-fi fan out there who doesn't know the original movie's twist.

The trailer looks stunning. It is visually interesting and the effects look top notch. But then again, this is a Tim Burton movie, a man whose production designs are always interesting while arguably lacking somewhat in the script department. (His movies include Batman, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!, Beetlejuice and the recent Sleepy Hollow.)

I had reservations about this attempt to revive the Apes franchise, but when I heard that Burton is doing it I relaxed a bit. (Burton effectively rescued the Batman franchise from 1960s campiness - check out the 1966 Batman movie. One only realized how good he was at it after seeing the dreadful Batman & Robin.)

However, some still remain. Maybe I'm just naturally skeptic about remakes (they are usually inferior), but the question remains: "Besides updating its production values, what else does a new Apes movie have to offer us? Are there more stories to tell? Especially after the franchise has been milked dry by five, that's right, five movies, more than one TV series (one of them animated), several comic books, etc.?"

OK, granted how many young people still remember all that? But there is something very 'Sixties about the Apes franchise. When someone called it a "hysterical parable on race relations" one knows there is some kind of truth to that.

Reading the chapters on the late 1960s/early 1970s in William Manchester's epic history of the USA (The Glory and the Dream 1932 - 1972, which clocks in at a whopping 1 300 pages or so) recently, I was struck by how social mores and concerns has changed in many ways since then. The relevant chapters show how unique those turbulent decades were (especially when seen in contrast to those before it). Attitudes towards authority, government, society, race, sex, etc. were very different to today's.

Sure, it might at times seem that some of today's concerns are mere hangovers from that time, but Manchester's book really puts the scale of the unrest into perspective. It was much more widespread than one would imagine.

My point is that somehow the Apes movies were unique to those times and that their point would be lost in a conservative era in which George W. Bush is president of the USA, every second show on American TV is a cop show in which authority is reconfirmed and every second show is a lawyer show in which the legal system is shown to work . . .

Any thoughts on this anyone? You can have it out in the Message Board . . .

Mark Wahlberg - Astronaut Leo Davidson
Helena Bonham Carter - Ape Princess Ari
Michael Clarke Duncan - Gorilla Captain Attar
Paul Giamatti - Limbo
Estella Warren - Daena
Tim Roth - Chimp General Thade
Linda Harrison
David Warner
Lisa Marie

Glenn Shadix - Orangutan Senator Nado
Kris Kristofferson - Human Warrior Karubi, Daena's Father

Tim Burton - Director
William Broyles Jr. - Writer
Ralph Winter - Executive Producer
Richard D. Zanuck - Producer
Phillipe Rousselot - Director of Photography

Teaser Trailer:
Quicktime, Full Screen, 20.8MB
Quicktime, Hi-Res 12.9MB
Quicktime, Med-Res, 4.8MB
Quicktime, Lo-Res, 3.5MB


Planet of the Apes
Beneath the Planet of the Apes
Escape from the Planet of Apes
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes on DVD

Planet of the Apes - 30 Years Ago



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