Planet of the Apes is a 2001 American science fiction film, based, of course, on a novel of the same name written by Pierre Boulle. Other-wise, it is a loose remake of the 1968 film. Tim Burton took the reigns as director, bringing in a cast of Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helana Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, and Estella Warren.
Looking at that cast, there's a few thoughts that come to me. (1) Tim Burton is lucky that his wife can act with all the roles he gives her. (2) I can't believe that I recognized Michael Clarke Duncan in ape-form while watching.
The film made an ample amount at the box-office, but other-wise was a critical failure for most. It's largely believed by some that even the original franchise jumped the shark early-in. This one brings elements from a lot of the other movies, and regurgitates it into something that is, well, interesting to say the least.
It tells of an astronaut named Leo Davidson, played by Wahlberg, that crash lands on a planet that is inhabited by highly intelligent apes. The humans are locked away in cages and used as slaves. Once being captured, he is purchased by an ape named Ari, played by Carter, that seems to have a connection with him. She assists him at trying to return to where he crash-landed and to find his ship.
The movie definitely feels bizarre with certain respects. The scenery is constructed well. There's elements of the last film with added touches that were likely done specifically by Tim Burton. The dreary and desolate environments, and the design of the apes are the best parts of the film. I was iffy about how some of the apes looked at first. However, some of them started to grow on me. (I still say that Ari looks damn-near terrifying.)
I think that is about all that I have to praise about the film. The story fails at achieving much of anything except being a disproportionate mess. The characters were underdeveloped badly. Everybody except Ari, Leo, and Thade seemed completely foreign to me. And yet, there were scenes in the film that made it seem like they expected me to care. I would have cared! If you would have built them up at all. (The picture above shows two of the characters that I am talking about.)
It felt like some of the supporting characters were simply thrown in as a way to help the film go through the motions. They never amounted to anything, and they never actually had any build whatsoever. They were just 'there' and that was that. Although, I can't say that I especially liked any of the performances of the film. Ari feels too difficult to take serious in any way, shape, or form. Some of the cheese-ball dialogue doesn't do her any favors. Mark Wahlberg does little with what he is given, which is very low.
It's as if they never even try to channel any time of genuine emotion in this film. Most certainly, it's a concept that is difficult to pull off, but it has been pulled off more than once. I think Paul Giamatti might have been my favorite character of the whole film. I can't say that he wasn't the hammiest of all of them, but he reminded me of The Grinch from the live-action film, which is definitely a bizarre thing to see.
Thade could have been cool. He is one of the "better looking" apes that I was talking about. However, every time that something makes him angry, he starts having a temper tantrum like a little kid. I can't take him seriously, and it's not like his character is meant to come off that way. He is supposed to come off as a cruel and dark fellow.
The biggest problem of the film lies with the length. The run-time is about two-hours on the dot. This shouldn't be too much of a problem, but it is. They didn't do very much to build-up any of the characters or emphasize any certain elements of the story. This two-hour run-time was dedicated to a nonsensical and incoherent series of things happening one by one.
More importantly, it's so fucking tedious to watch on the screen.
I watch this movie, I try to feel for the characters, but all I feel is loathing and hatred for everything on the screen. I want it to end.
In conclusion, the film fails in almost every area. The acting isn't anything to go bananas over. The story looks like it has already had poop thrown at it. And it's boring, a long film that feels even longer when you have to watch. The ending sucks too.
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Rating: Very Bad