Planet of the Apes


Not a bad flick, but could have been better. I could be referring to any movie, but in this case I refer to Tim Burton's much anticipated reimaging of Planet of the Apes. It is supposed to be an action movie, but it is also a social commentary and satire of man and animals. We start out onboard at U.S. Air Force space station in the year 2024 where genetically modified chimps are used to perform experiments in spacecraft. Capt Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) is training his chimp to do his'sequence' when he is ordered to send the little primate into space. After the chimp is lost in space, he takes it upon himself to hijack a space pod to retrieve him. Things go awry as he finds himself in caught in a time warp and crash-lands on a planet. He escapes from his sinking pod to find himself in the middle of a human stampede, where the people are being chased by apes; intelligent, talking, walking apes. On this planet the Apes are the dominant species, and human are caged and used to perform tricks and are kept on leashes.

Needless to say Leo experiences some serious culture shock and decides to rally the humans and stand up to the Apes, which of course doesn't go over to well with slave trader Limbo (Paul Giamatti). However, his defiance does catch the attention of Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), who is the Ape version of PETA. She believes that humans have feelings, intelligence, and should have rights, but she is in the true minority and would be held in more disregard if she were not the daughter of Sen. Sandar (David Warner), a leading statesman. Ari is reluctantly wooed by General Thade, played by Tim Roth who gives one of his and the movies best performances. He is ruthlessly ambitious and aspires to rise as the leader of the Apes and demolisher of the human scourge and at his side is Lt. Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan), an inimitable gorilla. The apes are clearly the stars of the show. The movements and mannerisms are very authentic, they swing from tree to tree, and go primal, and it is all done so very convincingly. Sadly enough, the humans are very trite, the only characters portrayed with any passion were those of Carter, Duncan, and Roth. Ironically, their characters were the most human.

This was not Mark Wahlberg's best work, so please don't go expecting a reimagined Charleston Heston (who makes a cameo appearance as Thade's ailing father). Daena, (Estella Warren) is really there for aesthetic value and to supply a warm body to a human/ape love triangle. Also, if the life on this planet evolved from the Apes, as argued in the plot, where did the abundant horses in the film come from? This is of course one of the many considerable logic flaws in the movie, the most obvious being the implausible ending which of course is only to establish a reason for the mandatory sequels that all movies now seem to warrant. I was pretty happy with the film until the final scene, it pissed me off actually.

This is really just a reinventing of the original Planet of the Apes. Like The Rage: Carrie 2; same shit, different day, with a brief appearance by a major character from the first film. There is really very little that is new or exciting in this version story-wise. The movie has a nice look and feel to it. The makeup is impeccable and all the "apes" look real and genuine, no costuming detail was overlooked. Plot-wise, basically the Apes just chase the humans around and complain about how much they dislike them, and Ari along with a couple other sympathetic primates, help them to escape. The film is funny, action packed, and a treat for the eyes; very fun to watch, but don't expect to be on the edge of your seats.

Billz Movie Worthiness Scale: B-

Billz Movie Worthiness Scale Values:

A = movie tickets and popcorn for 2 (about $40)
B = buy the DVD when it comes out ($25)
C = rent it
D = wait for it to be on cable/pay TV
E = wait for it to be on regular TV

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