Thoughts on Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes
I am a huge fan of the 1968 original film version of Planet of
the Apes, so was somewhat apprehensive about Tim Burton's remake.
I agree with Roger Ebert who has said that filmmakers shouldn't remake
good movies, they should remake bad ones. The original
Apes flick was so good it is hard to imagine a remake
improving upon it in any substantial way. Additionally, I had been
warned by a friend who went to the new Planet of the Apes
presentation at this year's San Diego Comic Convention (the ComiCon),
that one of the actors said something to the effect of, "This one's
more action-oriented and less philosophical." That set my expectations
On balance, though, I thought it was an ok movie. It can't touch the
classic 1968 version, but it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. In
fact, there was some alegorical content in the new rendition, though it
wasn't nuclear holocaust this time, but slavery and animal rights that
got the nod.
Mild Spoilers follow...
Things I liked:
Things I didn't like:
- I liked that Charlton Heston was cast as Thade's dying father
and was given homage lines from the original film, and not just his
own lines -- his line about "I believe man's wisdom must walk hand
in hand with his treachery" was a line delivered by Dr. Zaus from
the first film!
- The "Get your stinking hands off me" line was cool too.
The statue at the end of the film was a nice echo of the famous
statue sequence at the end of the old film.
I give the film 2, maybe 2.5 stars out of five.
- I felt the film's chaotic action sequences were shot in a rather
confusing manner that made it hard to tell what exactly was going on.
- Helena Bonham Carter's character seemed a bit dull to me. She
was certainly a far less interesting character than Zira from
the classic rendition. Zira had an agenda and was smart and
motivated. Carter's character (can't recall her character name)
seemed to be the "Nurse Chappel" of the film, her main function
being to look doe-eyed at Mark Walberg's character.
- The gorillas were basically played as if they were Klingons from
a Star Trek movie. The Apes generally had more character
in the old version. The film seemed very derivative -- the obsequious
ape who collected and sold humans was essentially playing the Peter
Ustinov character from Spartacus, for example.
- The filmmakers seem to have not been on the same page with regard
to their ending or its meaning. We see two moons on the horizon of the
planet of the apes, clearly establishing that it is not earth. When
Mark Walberg's spacecraft lands at the end of the film, the land
masses on his display clearly indicate he is arriving on earth,
yet the statue is of Thade, a character not of earth, but of the
ape-planet. Huh? This ending was basically from the book, in which I
think (dim memory from having read the book decades ago) the
astronaut was supposed to have returned to earth. Maybe this ending
was clearer at some early point in the production, but then they
lost track of the details and got the continuity wrong. Whatever the
cause, the ending as it stands in the finished film is a bit clutzy.
Copyright 2001 Ray Cole
Other reviews by Ray Cole: [Movies] [Music]