So the hype machine worked again to promote out Planet of the Apes. The highly anticipated flick made you wonder how well it could be and if it would be equal or superior to the original 1968 classic. It wasn’t, for the simple reason of storytelling faults. The packaging was big and pretty and had pretty cool FX, but the rest left a lot to be desired, and furthermore, the film falls into the blade on whether remakes are always worse than originals.So, Captain Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg), whose part of the crew onboard a USAF research ship that trains monkeys to do space flights (Right Stuff anyone?), commits a mistake by thinking with his balls instead with his head, when the ship is in proximity of a black hole. So he goes into the black hole, and ends up in another part of the universe, and into another planet, where apes rule, and capture humans as slaves. There he meets a hottie human Daena (Estella Warren), and he’s taken to another woman ape, Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), who believes that apes and humans should be treated equal. But Leo escapes taking Ari, Daena, and other humans to the forbidden area, where humans live, to await rescue, and never wondering what lies ahead. Also he must fend off the army of apes that follows him, headed by the evil Thade (Tim Roth) and his friend Colonel Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan).
"Another Lesson When Doing Remakes"
Ok, the good side: I liked the scientific part of the movie; it was well made and well developed. The film uses the theory of the Black Hole with such finesse, that it’s amazing. It explains out how does time in Black Holes is random, since we see when Leo travels into the black hole and into the planet, the spaceship (though later explained) also goes down, but in a different time, 1000 years before Leo does, but why? Because time is variable, whether it’s past or present, in the black holes it doesn’t matter, and of course, how the monkey arrives later on. This use of quantum physics and latest developments on the theory of relativity in this film is noteworthy. The film also lays out the interesting theory of whether there’s a world similar to Earth, living a different time and age in another part of the universe, connected through a black hole. That explains the confusion of why humans were there already. The final part gives also another interesting theory, in which planet Earth has had it’s several periods of civilization, over the course of its time. It is said that we’re on our 7th civilization, our civilization, and that there were others before, other civilizations like ours, wiped out by catastrophes and is possible that there will be another civilization after us, but when? Those parts of the movie I liked a lot.
The praise ends there. Now with all that background, the film should just complete the remaining pieces and we get an ass-kicking movie right? Wrong, since unfortunately, the main ideas of the script, are never well developed. One of the reasons the original P.O.A. was successful was because it dealt with several controversial subjects, like racism, animal rights, relationships between man and animal, etc. But this film steers clear from these, just concentrating on the action adventure parts, giving the impression that the film is playing it safe. I know Tim Burton has always declared that he’ll never do an R-Rated film. But man, he “risked” it with Sleepy Hollow, and yet succeeded. Why didn’t he risk it here? There was plenty of material to work on, and yet he uses none of it. Tim, you have to risk it once in a while, if I were you, I wouldn’t give a shit about movie ratings and go to the point on what the book was trying to say, and see if those points aren’t missed on the script. But, unfortunately it doesn’t, and follows the same fucking trail that all summer movies trend to go to: Concentrate on the action. So without those basic things the original story gives out, the film falls flat on its face and leaves you empty-handed. Worst of all, the lack of development in the other main characters also leaves something to be desired, since they only moan and groan and fight and do nothing else.
In some scenes the dialogue was utterly dumb and many others left something to be desired. Apart from the shallowness of it all, the supposed dramatic scene where Thade’s father dies isn’t convincing and absorbing like they would think, and rather left a few people and me in the audience with a few chuckles. The hidden meaning of the love triangle between Leo, Ari, and Daena is left in the air, and never takes of, with Daena taking the worst of it, since the only thing she does is walk around riding along with the tide. Some one-liners were lame enough to also provoke some laughs. That slave trader monkey was a total and ridiculous waste for a comedy relief. That fucker had basically no business whatsoever in the entire movie except to stay on the beginning part of the film. And worse, as the film progressed, and made even more stupid jokes, it diluted any hope inside of me of a good and worthy flick.
The performances of the actors were okay, Mark Wahlberg was all right, so was Helena Bonham Carter, but the rest of the cast left something to be desired. Well, what else could they do with a three-quarter shitty script? It was mostly a wasted flick, all over, not even the good things in it can save it. It was almost or is a disappointment all over. I hope Burton starts making better flicks since he’s already heading into Mars Attacks territory again, and that can’t be good.In the end, despite a solid quarter, I can only recommend the film for any sci-fi or science fanatic. Other than that, it belongs in the “go see at your own risk” basket. For an ordinary movie buff, this film was good in FX and shit, but it wasn’t memorable, and was basically a disappointment. Worse since you expected more not only from the hype, which always fucks, but also from the part that you hoped that this film would be at least as great as the original, but like Roger Ebert said: “Ten years from now, it will be the 1968 version that people will still be renting.” No shit, Rog. (2.5-5)
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1897&reviewer=235
originally posted: 08/14/01 14:56:32