Planet of the Apes (2001)

As a child, I always enjoyed the series of films in the Planet of the Apes franchise.  I remember having Megos of some of the apes and they had a Saturday morning cartoon show.

So I was excited as an adult when there was going to be a new Planet of the Apes film coming out.  I went to the theater and I remember as clear as day.  It was terrible.

Now, since then, the Planet of the Apes franchise was rebooted again with a prequel and the focus fell upon the apes themselves, especially with leader Caesar played by Andy Serkis.  This trilogy of movies were wonderful (although I did not love the third one as much as the previous two).

These films needed to be great to wash the stench of horrid that was left in the mouth after the release of the 2001 Planet of the Apes, starring Mark Wahlberg.

Recently during these rewatches, I have seen a couple of movies that, when viewed again in a critical eye, I enjoyed more.  Se7en was one of them.  Sicario was another.  A good rewatch can some times improve the viewing of a movie.  So I wondered if a second viewing of The Planet of the Apes, which I had not seen since 2001, would make a difference.

It did not.

This was still a terrible movie.

Tim Burton directed this and he seemed to be throwing in tones that just did not work together.  Was this supposed to be some sort of satire?  Some sort of comedic commentary?  An action movie?  Science fiction?  I think an argument could be made for all of these, but in a way that they simply never meshed together.

Mark Wahlberg has become a considerably better actor in the years since this one.  He was not good here.  You buried the best actors on the cast (Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giametti) under make up as apes, really hamstringing what they were able to do.  This was not like the motion capture of today where there is more emotion on the face of Caesar than on some of the human characters.  These prosthetics may have been great in 2001, but they still were basically masks.

The story was all over the place and the final battle made no sense and was hurt by the arrival of a deus ex machina to save the day at the perfect moment.  But even worse was the very end that made absolutely no sense and really tried its best to match the iconic ending of the original Planet of the Apes from 1968.  It failed.

On this watch, I though the middle of the film was better than I remembered, but by this point, I was already tired of the silliness and the stupidity of the story.  The writers tried desperately to shoehorn Easter eggs in from the previous movies, but they felt so forced that it ended up as eye-rolling moments instead.

I am so glad that they were able to get this story right with the Rise of the Planet of the Apes because this one was a total flop.


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