Warning: Spoilers Galore!
Tim Burton remaking this sui generis movie is about as sensible as remaking Psycho - oh, that's right, some idiot already did that - I rest my case.
Movie opens with chimpnaut blundering a simulation, proving he's not that smart from the outset. Marky Mark appears in shot without his characteristic underpants showing, then is turned down by a plain woman who prefers the touch of chimpanzees.
The perfunctory establishing shot of the space station orbiting Saturn for no apparent reason, interior of ship a-bustle with genetic experiments on apes. Must we travel 1,300 million kilometers to Saturn to conduct these experiments? The special effects team decrees it.
Marky's chimp gets lost in that staple of 60s sci-fi cinema - the Time Warp. Marky then demonstrates the space station's mind-boggling security ineptness by stealing a pod without anyone noticing, while simultaneously demonstrating his abject stupidity in mounting a deep-space rescue mission into a worm-hole for an expendable test chimp, with a million dollar vehicle with limited fuel and oxygen supplies.
Before anyone can say `Pointless Remake' Marky has surfed the worm-hole, crashed on an alien planet, removed his helmet without any thought to the lethality of the atmosphere and is being chased through a sound stage that almost resembles a lush rainforest, if it weren't for the kliegs backlighting the plastic trees.
Surprise! It's APES doing the chasing - or at least, it *would* have been a
surprise if no one saw Planet Of The Apes THIRTY-THREE YEARS AGO.
Since Marky Mark did not get to show his pecs, take down his pants, or bust his lame whiteboy rap, he was characterless. Michael Clarke Duncan's gorilla teeth being inserted crookedly helped immensely in establishing *his* lack of character. Helena Bonham-Carter (aka irritating chimp activist), at a loss without a Shakespearean script, did a fine job of outdoing both Marky and Clarke as Most Cardboard Cutout. Paul Giamatti, the orangutan slave trader, secured the role of token comic relief and interspecies klutz. Though I have grown bilious in hearing puns relating to this movie, one review headline captured the essence of this Planet Of The Apes `re-imagining': `The Apes Of Roth'. While everyone else minced about looking like extras from One Million Years BC or Greystoke, Tim Roth, as Chimpanzee Thade, chews massive amounts of scenery and hurls kaka splendiferously. As entertaining as his portrayal of the psychotic Thade was, his character lacked a behavioral arc: Thade is mad when we first meet him... and he's pretty much at the same level of mad at film's end. Nice twist.
The original POTA (1968) featured a leading character, Charlton Heston's Taylor, who was so disenchanted with mankind that he left earth for space with no regrets - yet as that film progressed, Taylor unwittingly found himself locked in a battle to prove mankind's worth - as their sole champion! The original film was ultimately a tale of humiliation, not salvation: when Taylor discovers the Statue of Liberty, he is forced to realize that his species had NOT prevailed. Is there anything that cerebral or ironic to Marky Mark's Leo? Or Roth's Thade? No, but there's lots of running.
The slogans cry: Take Back The Planet .but it's the APES' planet. In this movie, humans and apes crash-landed here together, the humans having degenerated to cavepeople, allowing the apes to acquire speech and sensual body armor; the apes DESERVED to inherit the planet! Along comes Marky Mark, in true anthropocentric arrogance, taking it for granted that humans HAVE to be the apex predators, simply because they're there. `Taking it back' is as ludicrous as apes landing here in 2001, complaining, `A planet where men evolved from APES??!!' and then causing trouble with their overacting and hairy anuses.
Heston was cast in the 1968 POTA because he had established his reputation as a maverick: he WAS Ben-Hur, Michelangelo, Moses! To cast him as the mute, dogged animal in an alien society was to stupefy an audience's expectations: how crazed must a world be where Our Man Charlton cannot command respect? Marky Mark has currently only established that he has tight underpants.
Though Heston was denigrated constantly by the ape council, he dominated the screen with his charisma and stupendous overacting. When Marky Mark tries to instill fervor in the mongoloid humans, it's like that unpopular guy in school suddenly being made classroom monitor, who tells you to stop drawing penises on the blackboard and you throw a shoe at him. Burton tries to elevate Marky to humanity's icon, but he comes off as a chittering deviant. In the original film, the apes deem Taylor a deviant, yet he was, to audience and apes alike, an icon of humanity. That irony again.
It was apt that a man who elevated scene-chewing to an acting technique - Heston - should play the father of this film's primo scene-chewer, Thaddeus Roth. As Roth's ape-dad, Charlton utters his own immortal lines, turned against the HUMANS this time, `Damn them! Damn them all to hell!'
The movie gets dumb and dumber towards the end. While Thaddeus is giving Marky an ass-beating lesson, a pod descends from on high with Marky's chimpnaut in it. Apes demonstrate their hebetude by bowing in obeisance to this incognizant creature, while Marky proves his own hebetude by muttering, `Let's teach these monkeys about evolution.' Firstly, they're not monkeys, you ape! Secondly, it was genetic tampering and imbecilic plot fabrications which brought the apes to this point, not evolution. And what you intend to teach them by blowing them away with the concealed lasergun is called misanthropy, not evolution.
Giving away the twist ending would only confuse viewers into believing that Estella Warren's half-nekkid role was actually integral to the plot (be still my pants.).
No matter that he was humankind's last underpanted hope; in the end, cop apes take Marky away to Plot Point Prison where he was last heard ululating, `It's a madhouse! A MADHOUSE!!...'
Planet of the Apes
Action / Adventure
Planet of the Apes
Action / Adventure
It is the year 2029: Astronaut Leo Davidson boards a pod cruiser on a Space Station for a "routine" reconnaissance mission. But an abrupt detour through a space time wormhole lands him on a strange planet where talking apes rule over the human race. With the help of a sympathetic chimpanzee activist named Ari and a small band of human rebels, Leo leads the effort to evade the advancing Gorilla Army led by General Thade and his most trusted warrior Attar. Now the race is on to reach a sacred temple within the planet's Forbidden Zone to discover the shocking secrets of mankind's past - and the key to its future.
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July 2, 2012 at 9:31 pm