Planet of the Apes (2001)

“This remake/reimagining/reboot doesn’t have the best reputation. I can sorta see why. I’m just having trouble getting into it.

This isn’t so much a remake in that it has very little in common with the original. There’s a planet filled with apes. That’s about it. Well okay, the (d)evolution is still there. Sort of. We’re not on future earth. Pretty much everything else is different.

Mark Wahlberg is Leo, and airman and astronaut. He flies his spaceship into some unknown space anomaly and finds himself on the planet of the apes. In one of the few sequences that does sort of mimic the original, he’s rounded up with wild humans and taken to the ape civilization. Instead of it being all about him trying to save himself, he tries to become the human messiah, saving all of them from the apes. Oh yeah, the humans can talk this time.

Like I’d complained with the sequels, all the weight is gone from this one. The way the storyline is playing out, we’re completely losing the ethical dilemas, or at least dampening them. It’s just a thin story that’s set up to give us a lot of action. Basically it’s like Tim Burton (director) is a little kid playing with the action figures from his favorite movie. It’s a little watered down, but you can tell he at least had fun, even if no one else watching would enjoy it.

There are a few positives. I really like the twist with what happened to Leo’s home spaceship and where the apes evolved from. We’ve also got a good cast of apes in some fantastic makeup: Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti. All unrecognizable except for their unmistakable voices (especially the latter two). Oh and it does get points for their rework of the original’s most famous line

But when it comes down to it, basically this movie has no reason to exist. Well other than that’s what introduced Helena Bonham Carter to Tim Burton, who went on to form a fabulous partnership in life and film.”

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