Planet of the Apes (2001)

Planet of the Apes (2001)

The beginning of the end for good ol’ Tim Burton. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was next but oh boy you can see the beginnings of his bad movies. Now that being said I respect that he did his own thing and the studio let him. I would have been disappointed if they just remade the first one with new make-up and sets.

Speaking of make-up though. Holy Simos (or whatever the chimp god is called)! The prosthetics in this film are incredible. They more so than  the ones in the original incorporate the faces of the actors seamlessly, you recognise Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth and Michael Clarke Duncan immediately and yet they are also recognizably apes also the costumes enhance their ape-ness, making them look like chimps and gorillas in armour with regards to the soldiers. Also the design of the armour is offensive in a spectacular way, it’s so alien and intricate, you cannot help but be impressed by their design. Also the more natural clothing not separated by species but by person implies a culture at large. The addition of real ape sound adds to the authenticity of the apes and elevates the film somewhat.

There seems to be a throwaway social critique in Paul Giamatti’s character Limbo when he says, “I’m all for free speech, so long as they keep their mouths shut.” This would seem to be the Limbo’s attempt to relate to Roth’s ruthless General Thade, that he is on his side and yet Thade is rather rough with him as the scene goes on? Because he smells of human? I dunno. Limbo is an entertaining character nonetheless, goofy and sinister at the same time.

Another thing that isn’t very consistent is that the apes treat the humans as primal beasts but are very aware that they can speak, like not in grunts but in full thoughts and sentences but they think they have no souls?? Because propaganda? Also when they in a sense recreate the escape through ape city it feels more like a gag reel as they show you apes doing people things in an ape way it’s kinda frivolous and doesn’t really add to the scene or the film at large. a chimp has a hairpiece. Alright.

The apes fear of water is a nice touch. When the gorilla destroys the laser gun it doesn’t make a lot of sense. He fears retribution and know he’ll probably be punished but he doesn’t want a human having. I dunno what is happening at this stage it gets a bit wishy-washy at this stage. Charlton Heston is a nice tribute to his old character Taylor but that’s it and his name is Zaius but it’s never said so much like the ape named Nova it doesn’t really matter as a reference because they don’t really resemble their characters in as far as they mean very little to the story. Nova is attractive and Zaius hates humans. Why bother even making the reference then? Just to prove that the people making the movie saw the original. It pathetic, just like in the human hunt scene where Attar played by the Michael Clarke Duncan rehashes the iconic “get your hands off me” line but switches it cos he’s an ape. It just makes you sigh. It also hasn’t got the build up the iconic scene had, it’s just another throwaway moment. This film had so much potential, if they were gonna make something new and only inspired by the original why add in unnecessary references, keep the Heston cameo but say his name so you get the impact of it and the reverence his name represents. Explain why the apes consider humans lower than monkeys in the evolutionary chain other than implied racist hatred. Like this is just a dumb action movie that just pisses on the interesting ideas of the film series I enjoy.

It has some redeeming  qualities, all the ape performances are fantastic, every single main ape is believable as an ape and their performances are entertaining and as I mentioned their costuming is great but the humans in this world make no real sense and the apes hatred of them seems extreme. The set design and score is really some good work. However the ending where “Simos” arrives is some serious bs. Then Ape Lincoln, is so dumb it’s not shocking and even when you consider the possibility that Marky Mark might have journeyed into the future where Thade reigns supreme, I still don’t care.  3/10


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