PLANET OF THE APES
Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan,
Kris Kristofferson, Estella Warren, Paul Giamatti, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Minutes, Directed by: Tim Burton
While attempting the space-pod retrieval of a chimpanzee test pilot,
Major Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) enters a magnetic storm that propels
him into the distant future, where he crash-lands on the ape-ruled planet.
Among the primitively civilized apes, treatment of enslaved humans is a
divisive issue: senator's daughter Ari (Helena Bonham Carter) advocates
equality while the ruthless General Thade (Tim Roth) promotes
Is it fair
to compare a remake to the original? Of course it is. And any director
or producer who does a remake better be prepared for such comparisons.
Recently I watched a TV remake of High Noon and thought - what's
the point? The original, while in Black and White (and what glorious Black
& White!) was a perfectly made political western tale. And while it
was set in the 1800s it was really a tale of the 1950s. A remake, even
with a much better lead actor, removed from that era was doomed to failure
from the start. Sadly director Tim (Batman,
Mars Attacks!) Burton's Planet of the Apes
suffers the same fate.
Tim Burton's remake fails to measure up to the classic in most areas.
Burton's film lacks the scope of the 1968 film. The original Planet
of the Apes was a social satire of its times. Sure some of its wit
seemed a bit forced - see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil - but with
that the viewer gets an epic look at the the social make up of the ape
society. Burton's film doesn't give you that same look. Without giving
too much away the new Planet of the Apes settles too early into
a simple quest film. Too much of the action takes place away from the
ape city so that you never get a good look at its social makeup. And talk
about forced humor - "Why can't we all just get along".
"Lacks the scope of the original 1968 film . . ."
new film makes an attempt at looking at the apes' religion but too little
screen time is given to it for it to have much bite. This film really
needed someone like Maurice Evans spouting phony baloney religious tones.
The interesting thing about Evans' Dr. Zauis is that he knew all along
that he was speaking tripe and covering up the truth. He did want he did
because he felt he knew what the public (his ape public) good was. The
ape was Ollie North long before the world ever heard of Ollie North. Tim
Burton's film lacks this character and boy is that attitude missed in
the new film.
And while in my mind Chuck (Omega Man, Soylent
Green) Heston may not be much of a human being he was and still is
a great movie star. Note: I didn't say actor - I said movie star. Heston
has an epic quality and he brings it to the least of his film projects.
It would be a joke to compare Markie Mark to Chuck Heston. At this point
in his career he still lacks that larger than life quality that this film
needed. A better choice for the role would have been someone like Russell
Still, on the plus side Tim Roth and Helen Bonham Carter are excellent
in their roles. Neither lets the large amounts of makeup that they are
wearing get in their way. In fact Ms Carter comes across as being one
sexy ape. They should have had the courage to go for that talked about
sex scene between her and Markie Mark.
makeup is a big improvement on the original. But by this time I've seen
so many big budget special effects movie that very little surprises me
and I expect nothing but the best in makeup and special effects. So there
are no real surprises to be found in the new film.
And talking about surprises. When I first saw the original movie I was
blown away by the ending. I was just 13 at the time and never saw this
coming. There is no way Tim Burton could have topped Heston's "Damn
it all to hell" rant so he shouldn't have bothered. But he did and
if you don't see this one coming you have to be blind as a bat even if
you are just 13. And while its not a surprise, it makes no sense at all.
See the the film for Tim Roth and the sexy Helen Bonham Carter. There
is little else to recommend it.
- Frank A. Johnson
Pointless. Nice make-up
though. — James