Friday, July 25, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Planet of the Apes (2001) **½

PG-13, 119 min.
Director: Tim Burton
Writers: William Broyles Jr., Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Pierre Boulle (novel “La Planéte des Singes”)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Estella Warren, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, David Warner, Kris Kristofferson, Erick Avari, Luke Eberl, Evan Dexter Parke, Glenn Shadix, Freda Foh Shen, Chris Ellis, Anne Ramsay, Lisa Marie

Tim Burton’s 2001 remake “Planet of the Apes” stands as the bastard child of the franchise. Even in comparison to such wretched entries to the series as 1973’s “Battle for the Planet of the Apes”, Burton’s film is held with contempt in fans’ minds. I was never in this camp of thinking. In fact, when I first reviewed the film upon its theatrical release, I gave it 3½ stars. In light of the recent reboot series, my initial thoughts on Burton’s take seem ill conceived.

It isn’t as bad as all that, but it isn’t that good either. I felt the plot twists were interesting. Of course, the twist ending is what seems to have gotten most peoples’ panties in a bunch, but I think it works in the spirit of the Planet of the Apes mythology. The real problems with the movie come in the form of Hollywood’s 1990s insistence on dumbing things down for the audience. A twelve-year-old could’ve written the dialogue, and we’re subjected to countless scenes of the ape actors flying around and pounding their fists like apes, as if we might forget through their makeup that they’re supposed to be apes and not people. The ape sound effects are just as insistent that as an audience we are not intelligent enough to remember this just by looking at the screen.

I still kind of like this movie. Although, I find it interesting that it was made before I had discovered an appreciation for the underplayed acting of Mark Wahlberg, and still I don’t find that he has the charisma in it that I feel he has today. My wife says it’s just because he didn’t take off his shirt. Hmmm. Maybe, maybe.

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