Planet of the Apes (2001) starring Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Estella Warren, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, David Warner, Kris Kristofferson, Erick Avari directed by Tim Burton Movie Review

Planet of the Apes (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Mark Wahlberg in Planet of the Apes (2001)

21st Century Apes

In the year 2029 Astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg - The Perfect Storm) leaves the Oberon space station on a reconnaissance mission but things turn awry when his space pod takes a detour through a wormhole and crash lands on a planet which whilst having humans is run by the stronger more dominant apes. After being captured by a hunting party and sold into slavery Leo finds himself with Ari (Helena Bonham Carter - Frankenstein) the daughter of a Senator who sympathizes with the humans. Together along with a band of rebels they prepare for the advancing Gorilla Army led by General Thade (Tim Roth) and must head for the Forbidden Zone to understand what is happening.

Despite having been born towards the start of the 70s it is only recently that I bit the bullet and watched the original "Planet of the Apes" and I will admit I enjoyed it. But whilst I enjoyed it I wasn't crazy for it and mention this to put you in the picture when it comes to my review of the modern version of "Planet of the Apes" from director Tim Burton. I say modern version because whilst there are some similarities there are also some significant differences and as such I don't class it as a remake but more of a re-imagining made for a new audience rather than for those who are fans of the original movies.

Helena Bonham Carter in Planet of the Apes (2001)

Now it has to be said that "Planet of the Apes" starts in a way which did little for me with a ridiculously over the top crash landing and then a frantic chase sequence. It probably works for those who have attention issues and modern audiences who like fast paced action scenes over story telling but was just too chaotic for me. And that maybe part of the reason why some fans of the original have been disappointed by this update as rather than going for mystery and storyline it frequently resorts to action.

The thing is that like with the original this modern version of "Planet of the Apes" has a deeper meaning with its allegory over racism. But it just lacks the intelligence of the original and instead goes for what I would call cocky cleverness with various attempted nods to the original such as the reworking of the classic "take your filthy paws" line. But it is a strange blend as sometimes it feels like the cleverness is trying to be smart whilst others humorous and it is not always clear as to what it is trying to be.

Of course we have a movie featuring apes with actors behind the layers of makeup with many not even recognizable behind the feature hiding masks. Unfortunately some of these masks combined with hair look like a certain late pop star and that is seriously distracting. Despite this you have to say that this modern "Planet of the Apes" certainly has a detailed look and again for those who enjoy modern cinema and its trend for shallow entertainment will enjoy the look.

What this all boils down to is that Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" probably works for modern audiences who will enjoy the look combined with the action but it failed to impress me in the same way that the original did. Having said that it isn't a terrible movie and in a modern world of fast moving movies it is entertaining.