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Film Review - Planet of the Apes (2001)
Here's a novel concept, a good summer film! Planet of the Apes is not really a re-make, rather a re-thinking of the concepts from the Pierre Boulle novel.
This is a very entertaining film, with a strong animal rights message (we're the animals), a few interesting time travel twists, and really great make up.
There are just a few bits to point out that really don't make sense. Things like the apes having such a large army, doesn't make economic sense. The humans out number the apes 4 to 1, and are secretly known by the apes to be very inventive. If that's so, why aren't the humans any more technologically advanced? The film is poorly set up. We are never told why the Air Force is out looking at whatever planet this is. Now I don't want to blow this film for anyone, but after you see it, ask yourself, "Where did the apes get horses?"
Those are the minuses. Here's the plus, the acting. Not only does the make up look like apes, but the actors are walking and displaying mannerisms that real apes display. Apes in this movie climb up walls and write with their feet. Actors don't just say their lines, but grunt and howl like the real thing.
Unlike some films, this movie actually has motivated characters. I'm thinking of General Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan) who is very religious. He's an ape of honor and principle. Even when his world is turned upside-down by a human, Attar holds to what he knows is right.
I also enjoyed the small references to the original 1968 film. There were two lines I caught that were lifted from the old script, but said by an ape rather than a human. Each picked up a good, well-placed, laugh. Finally, Charlton Heston's cameo as an ape really worked.
What I hated was the end. This is obviously just a set up for a sequel. The end has nothing to do with the story we just saw. They could have just lopped off the last five minutes, and I would have been fine with the end.
This has been one of the very few summer movies this year that I didn't feel cheated by the ticket price. If you're betting on a film to see, bet on apes.
Directed by Tim Burton
Released in 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Reviewed by Mongo