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Planet of the Apes (2001)

by

Jeff Nelson

Planet of the Apes (2001) has an impressive visual presentation, but an overall poor film that doesn't come close to being satisfying.

Planet of the Apes (2001)
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After the classic Planet of the Apes (1968), a remake was expected. With Tim Burton being behind the camera, I expected an entertaining ride. I never hold expectations as high as to hope that remakes will surpass the originals. However, when these remakes cannot even meet low expectations, there's a real problem.

After flying through a space "worm hole," astronaut Leo Davidson crashes on a planet where apes rule over humans. Aided by a sympathetic chimpanzee, Davidson leads a small band of rebels against their captors. This remake made a lot of tweaks to the original story. Unfortunately, they aren't for the better. Each and every plot point feels even more predictable than the last. The majority of the dialogue is rather pathetic. Allowing the primitive humans to speak was a large mistake. As the movie continues, the film becomes even more problematic. Don't expect to be even half as captivated as audiences were with the original. The characters aren't nearly as likable. Planet of the Apes (2001) is an absolute mess.

With Tim Burton behind the camera, the cast appears capable from a distance. However, even big names such as Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, and Helena Bonham Carter are disappointing. A large portion of this can be blamed on the screenplay. Unfortunately, nobody comes across as natural and the connections between the characters feels forced. This cast could have dominated if they were given some decent material.

The only portion of the film that I can positively claim to be excellent is the visual presentation. The apes look great and the planet has come to life. All of the explosions and chase sequences certainly look good. The audio is where Planet of the Apes (2001) truly shines. The film boasts an aggressive track that proves to be a sonic assault on the ears. The surrounds are constantly active in order to immerse the audience. Expect no less than a reference quality audio track with this flick, although the visual presentation doesn't make a great piece of cinema.

After all of the changes, Planet of the Apes (2001) is a disaster. Not only did it not meet my low expectations, but it even becomes boring at times. The social meaning seen in the original is completely lost here. The screenplay could not have been much worse, which resulted in poor acting. My advice to fans of the series is to simply stick to Planet of the Apes (1968) and pretend that this junk doesn't exist. Planet of the Apes (2001) has an impressive visual presentation, but an overall poor film that doesn't come close to being satisfying.

My Rating = Two Stars

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