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Planet Of The Apes

Planet Of The Apes


Title - Planet Of The Apes
My Admission - $3.00
One Line Review - This Is A Joke, Right?


Review - After I'd seen the POTA trailer about 3times, I realized that if I saw it again I would scream.  I hid my face and walked out of the room whenever one came on.  It was literally driving me bananas.  I had stated that, "This movie is gonna suck...It's gonna suck soooo bad."  I figured I'd convince myself it was trash and then when I saw it, I would be pleasantly surprised by how good it really was...This was not the case.

I'll begin with the good.  The films looks good, it sounds good, and the acting is fine.  This is a decent technical movie; something to be said in its favor at least, I imagine.  The opening credits were extremely enjoyable; filled with close up imagery of the ape armor and a poundingly savage and exciting Danny Elfman score.  The acting is par, nothing amazing or awful.  Two of note would be, Tim Roth's character.  General Thade is too over-the-top for my taste but his acting ability is not in question there.  And Charlton Heston's role as Thade's father is by far the most fun, once again being able to utter the words, "Damn them, Damn them all to Hell."

That's about it for the good.  What follows is some rather extensive (for me at least) soapbox banter concerning the source book, the 1968 film, and Burton's vision.  I'll tell you that if you want to see the film, do it now, before you read the rest of this.  Come back afterwards, give it a read, and then see if you agree or disagree.

It didn't feel like a Tim Burton film to me, how about you?

Now it can be said that this is a reinterpretation of the book, written by Pierre Boulle in the early 60s.  It's being touted that way, by Tim Burton.  So I read the book.  It's interestingly different, by a fair amount, from the film version with Charlton Heston but Burton's film is just as different from the source material.  Again, no real problem there.  But the 1968 film and the book had, key word here, ''rationale'.  Burton's film has less than little, if any.

Mark Whalberg plays Leo Davidson, an Air force pilot on assignment in orbit around Saturn.  Leo is also a trainer.  His trainee is a chimpanzee named Pericles.  Leo is training Pericles to fly single-manned capsules for probing missions; making him an extension of the lab rat.  Humans are not allowed to fly until conditions are deemed safe.  An electrical storm appears and Leo wants to investigate.  His Commander deems it unsafe so they send the Chimp. The chimp's ship is lost and Leo sneaks into a second craft to investigate and retrieve his chimp.  As expected Leo is lost and skips across time, crash landing his ship on some strange planet. Once free of his ship he walks about 2feet before he's accosted by raving humans in loincloths running from savage, well-armored apes. He's beaten, caged, and taken to Ape Central, where he's sold into slavery.  Thus begins Leo's, and our, descent into Hell.

Not too far off the beaten path of the original film, right? However, in Ape Central things begin to diverge.  In the Heston film, I remember, 3 Ape factions: Political (Orangutans), Scientific (Chimpanzees), and Military (Gorillas).  They each had their place. The scientists dominated the film and gave us sympathy, understanding, and rationale.  The politicians gave us law, control, and rationale.  The military, did its damn job and asked no questions; good boys.

Now Burton's film turns these tables.

He gives us a Military, that's singularly savage, unconscious, manipulative, and insane (these guys are the ones in control).  A political group consisting of a pair of senators, who are by far, the most easily controlled group of simians I may have ever seen.  And instead of scientists we're given, an ape (man) servant, a human slave trader, and a senator's daughter who believes that apes and humans can live together peacefully.  This is an atrocious combination so badly portrayed (I do not mean acting skills here) that you honestly wondered how they ever evolved.

Now as in the first film and the book, humans are the subordinate race.  No problem.  However, in these earlier adapting humans have de-evolved beyond a state of comprehension.  They have no language, perceptible automanary skills, etc.  Giving credence to their savagery.  When Charlton shows up the apes are shocked to see a human who can speak, dare god, could he think?.  A scientific marvel worthy of study and understanding.  Creating a passion, for ill or gain, among the ape society.

In Burton's film, the humans can talk.  Oh yea...They have tribes and crude weapons, even loincloths and brainpower.  But for some reason they can't build a hut.  Shoot, they can't even deduce that maybe if we move away from the apes, they won't be able to capture us and keep us in cages.  Obviously too deep a concept for an even a semi-learned group of people in loincloths.

The entire film revolves around these idiocies.  They practically shove them down your throat.  These groups are so angry or stoopid that it's of no consequence to the viewer who lives or dies.  In fact, one tends to wish they both would be exterminated.

Lastly, the apes have a history, a Christ-like ape, Samus, who was the first, and a religion supporting him.  There's even a prophecy of his second coming.  His origins are traced to 'Calima' a place in the 'Forbidden Area (It might have been Land, can't quite remember). Of course the film takes us here.  And the humans, they have nothing.  Their history is of no apparent interest to anyone and the topic of their origin is not even broached.  So when this climax appears, it's only natural, that one should look at it, shrug one's shoulders, and attempt to kill again, the closest ape, man, or second-coming to you.  Not an ounce or rationality or sanity in the mix.

There is one more thing, which demonstrates the true ludicrousness of this film.  The ending sequence.  I won't discuss it but 20th Century Fox executive, Bruce Snyder goes on the record about the ending to say: "You're not supposed to be able to (explain it).  If the truth be known, it wasn't really supposed to make sense.  It was just supposed to go 'whoa', make you think."

Just like the rest of the film in my opinion, it's not supposed to make any sense just supposed to get you butts into the theater seats.  This weekend's receipts, 69million dollars worth of them says, "It worked".  What a joke.


Movie Information

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Turn Down The Lights, Turn Up The Sound.

Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved

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