"Planet of the Apes" vs. "Planet
of the Apes"
Review Date: 7/29/01
This is the annual comparison review;
luckily for me, Hollywood keeps remaking former hits, so it will be
easy to continue this trend into the foreseeable future. Last year,
it was "'Shaft' vs. 'Shaft'", and this current review uses the same
"Planet of the Apes" (2001)
You know what this movie is about already,
so I won't bother you with the details. And, plain and simple: I
was very disappointed by this film.
Why? If you are a Tim Burton fan--and I
am--then you come into one of his films expecting to see something
dark and brooding and quirky and just a little bit different than
the standard box office fare that has become the benchmark for
movies in the year 2001. "Planet of the Apes" does nothing to
support the thinking that Burton is an independent working for a
major studio--in fact, I think he sold out on this one for the sake
of making a wholly mainstream adventure film.
The problems are many, but can be summed up
with a few statements. First, Mark Wahlberg. I think Wahlberg is a
great actor, but he is not a star of any stature...so, when he is
giving a speech to other humans to lead them in a fight against the
apes, you almost want to laugh, because you can't believe this guy
is actually going to lead other people into battle! Don't get me
wrong, I think that Wahlberg looks tough as nails to me...he just
doesn't look like a leader, whether he be an unwilling one or not.
Would you follow that guy into battle? Nope!
Second, no story or characters. The number
one way to tell if a movie has no character development? Ask people
what the names of some of those apes were after they saw the film.
Save for the evil General Thade (Tim Roth, the one shining
performance of the film), you probably can't name any of them. I
couldn't, even an hour after I had watched it. I had to check
www.imdb.com to even get the names of the friendly female ape (Ari,
played by Helena Bonham Carter) or Thade's second-in-command (Attar,
Michael Clarke Duncan). And, the story? Is there one? Astronaut
crash-lands on planet. 30 seconds later, he is rounded up and
imprisoned by talking apes. Although he should be scared to death
that apes are talking all around him, he just looks sullen that he
was dumb enough to be captured. I would be scared shitless, but
Wahlberg's astronaut Leo is nonchalant. Leo spends one scene in
prison, then breaks out, and after a minimal trek across the planet
to his crashed mother ship, he leads some suburban humans in a
battle against the apes. The end. So bad.
Third, an unbelievable imbalance of physical
power. Although the apes can literally throw humans 50 feet in the
air, run twice as fast as they can and jump three times as high (oh,
and they are supposedly dozens of times smarter than we will ever
be), Leo and friends throw one or two punches at a time and knock
out some of the apes in the end fight sequence. Did you find it
odd, too, that apes can also withstand jet propulsion, but not
punches from a 15-year-old? Me too.
Fourth, and most confusing, a horrible
ending. You have to see it to know what I mean.
"Planet of the Apes" (1968)
You know the story of this one, too, so I'll
save my breath on that. The thing I like most about the original
film was its bleak take on what it would be like to crash land in a
faraway place and have no hope that you will ever see your family
and friends again. Although almost all of the film takes place in
broad daylight and has horrible costumes and makeup effects, the
original film is much "darker" than the Tim Burton update. Charlton
Heston is a great hero in this original film, and the way that the
story is set up by the apes' capture and torture of Heston's
stranded astronaut makes you feel good for his character when he
finally does break out of the apes' prison.
Unlike the 2001 version of the film, none of
the human characters besides Heston can even speak! This made
Heston's love interest (Linda Harrison) that much more interesting,
because she had to communicate non-verbally for the entire movie.
And, the ending of this film might be the best, the darkest, the
most intriguing part of this film; it is clear what has happened to
this astronaut's world and how fruitless his future attempts will be
to rectify his situation.
Rating: $8.25 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard