Review: Planet of the Apes (2001)

It seems to be a trend this particular year that there is alot of movies hitting the big screen that are either loved or hated and sometimes lack a satisfying ending. In this regards “Planet of the Apes” 2001 is no different, however once again Tim Burton reminds us how wide the imagination can spread.

If your like me and are generally unsatisfied with the tripe peddled to the masses in modern day supermarket cinemas then you’ll understand my pleasure when a Tim Burton movie comes out. He does things just that extra bit different to most film makers that sets his films apart and makes them a refreshing experience. The first feeling I had when leaving the cinema was “I need to see that again”. Partly because of an unusual problem with the ending, and partly because Burton’s “Apes” was an absolute riot.

I want to get the plot issues out of the way first; the film is not different in plot to the original in 1968. He arrives, he is captured, he escapes, and there is conflict about the origins of Apes and then a twist ending. No surprises here. This version of the story holds together really well. That is up until the conflict sequences towards the end. Sometimes I wonder if they change writers in these films but the person who thought hard about the script suddenly stopped thinking about it and the movie seemed to suddenly lower a level or two. I am not saying it was poor, no not at all but not up to the same standard as the rest of the film up until that point. Although one must remember this is a film about Apes, and what Apes they are!

These walking talking Apes are absolutely fantastic. Unlike the original they all look very different to each other and they actually act like Apes. If you have ever been to the Zoo and Watched the monkeys play you’ll know what I mean. Tim Roth was absolutely outstanding and totally convincing as the evil Ape, I was completely in awe of how convincing his character and monkey suit was. Not only was the make-up outstanding but they also must of studied how Apes behave because they had the personalities and behaviour habits down to a fine art! Watching Them hang from the sealing, leap from tree to tree and go berserk was an absolute riot and I enjoyed every minute of it!

The humans and the hero on the other hand are a slightly different story! They are obviously not the focus of the film so there are no strong performances, certainly they do not get much screen time. As for Mark Whalberg as Leo he is probably the first true to life hero. There is absolutely nothing special about his character and in the end he does nothing special either except give hope to the humans on this upside down world. He is not an over the top action hero, he is more of a “nineties man” with no special traits except his inability to accept Ape control. But we all would object I believe. This is what I liked about Leo, he was ordinary and even when he was trying to motivate the humans at the end no one fell into the trap of an over the top inspirational speech. he sounded like you or I would making it up on the spot. Tim Burton once again gives us a different spin on an old icon.

Finally we come to the very end and probably the main point of confusion for everyone. No matter what your theory is I think we all need the script writers to come forth and “please explain!”. I did like the ending but originally it did confuse me and there are so many conflicting facts in the story that prevent most logical conclusions that my mind was going to explode. All the same I implore you not to let this be a deterrent as the film in totality is a marvellous experience.

I don’t want to give this movie a rating because it is again definitely one of those films, which you will either love or hate. These kinds of films generally cause discussions of great length and analysis and no one will ever agree particularly on a theory for the end of this one. However I certainly loved the film and believe it was worth the price of the admission. The best thing to do is go and see it for yourself, making up your own mind is the most satisfying thing about it all.


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Filed under Action, Adventure, Film Reviews, Sci-Fi

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