The world is shocked by the appearance of two talking chimpanzees, who arrived mysteriously in a U.S. spacecraft. They become the toast of society; but one man believes them to be a threat to the human race.
In a futuristic world that has embraced ape slavery, Caesar, the son of the late simians Cornelius and Zira, surfaces after almost twenty years of hiding out from the authorities, and prepares for a slave revolt against humanity.
J. Lee Thompson
Ten years after conquering the Earth, ape leader Caesar wants the ruling apes and enslaved humans to live in peace. But warring factions of apes led by a militant gorilla general as well as various human groups threaten the stability.
J. Lee Thompson
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. Written by
In the spring of 2001 audiences seemed eager to see Tim Burton's retelling of the 1968 classic, "Planet of the Apes." By the summer of 2001 it seemed to be the movie everybody loved to hate. Were the criticisms fair? Not if you ask me.
2001's Planet of the Apes' biggest downfall, in my opinion, is unfortunately also it's biggest strength. Unlike many remakes which often end up as nothing more than weaker rehashes of their predecessor's this version of 'Apes' dared to be different. The plot has been stripped down to its bare bones and then rebuilt into something completely new. This is refreshing, if you ask me. Especially when rewatching it now, because just a few short years after this film came out we launched into sort of a remake renaissance, where half the tent pole films that come out every year are the same lesser rehashes that I spoke of a second ago. This film does take a moment here and there to wink at the '68 original, but Burton and his merry band of screenwriters has created a world completely original...it could be watched next to any entry of that original series as a wholey different film.
This is also the film's biggest flaw though, or at least financially speaking, because the original 'Apes' franchise has a cult following behind it that could almost rival that of Star Wars or Star Trek. The core audience for this film really only wanted to see their favourite story told with modern day effects and makeup. I don't think we needed that, but I'm not sure how many would agree with me.
Now, if you want to compare the two films plots and decide which one is stronger that's a whole other debate. But I don't think that's fair, that's why I champion it for taking such a different approach. I don't think this movie should be compared to any other movie and with that mindset a much better appreciation can be found. To put it bluntly, this movie ain't bad...in fact it's actually pretty good.
I won't deconstruct the plot for you...if you're interested enough to be reading this you probably at least know the jist of it anyway. But it's a solid and interesting plot that sets up a very fun and entertaining action adventure flick. Visually its in many ways a departure from typical Burton fair but his stamp is definitely evident in its art direction, and the atmosphere he creates in this jungle/desert/urban/high tech universe is really something to behold. The apes are not only impressive in terms of makeup but they are also creatively impressive from the choices of the species to match personalities, the incredible costumes and simply perfect performances by a cast who act through all that latex. And while I'm praising I'll also throw up a shout out for Danny Elfman's great score, which just might be one of his best.
The only caveat I'll lay on the movie is that the twist ending, obviously conceived to rival the famous twist of the original, kind of falls flat. BUT...considering how many instalments the original franchise had I have no doubt that the producers had hoped to make a sequel had this film been more financially successful, and had that sequel been made maybe we would've learned the story behind this twist and all would've been forgiven.
It's a little too late to say, 'long story short,' but I will anyway. Give this movie a fair shot. It may not be without its flaws but how many movies are? Try not to compare it to the original, just watch it with a bowl of popcorn and have fun.
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