Best of
lMovie Review
"Planet of the Apes"
By Mira Harber
   Watch out - here comes another film with so little imagination that the new Planet of the Apes doesn’t deserve the title of re-make, rather it is a “re-imaging”, of the classic,original 1968 film. Tim Burton directed it, so the special effects are terrific - the apes look fabulous, particularly in close-up. But, and you’ve heard it here before, special effects aren’t enough of a reason on their own to watch a movie.
    The feeble plot is about a ship that crashes, and a society where apes are the rulers. Humans are the slaves & pets, considered too undeveloped to even have souls.
   Mark Wahlberg plays Leo, the macho spaceman.  I hope he was trying to play an angry, wooden and unemotional character, because that’s how he came off. The problem with Marky Mark is that he can’t act. He posed his way (through those Calvin Klein underwear ads) into an acting career, but please, he’s gone beyond his reach. The rest of the humans on the planet can talk but are reduced to mostly silly caricatures - the female human Daena (Estella Warren, another model turned actor?) trails Leo and looks dumb as a doorknob - or should I say that’s winsome, thoughtful and hopeful?  The rest aren’t even worth  mentioning.
    The apes really are the stars of the show and Tim Roth as General Thade is positively frightening. That man/I mean ape, scares the bejesus out of me - he is a really good villain. Charlton Heston has a cameo role as his dearly departing dad (nice little twist). 
   The best thing about Planet of the Apes is Ari (Helena Bonham-Carter). She’s a very beautiful woman, and not half bad as a chimpanzee - too bad Tim Burton wasn’t brave enough to allow the attraction between Leo and Ari to develop. Now that would have been something - the first inter-species romance on film. Oh well......
    If you’re familiar with the 1968 original film you’ll note other little take-offs from the original - in the 2001 version it is an ape who says “Get your stinking hands off me, you damn human” - an inversion of   Charlton Heston’s most famous line in the original. 
   In this latest version the opportunity to make some meaningful social commentary was totally lost - it’s as if the director decided to make a cartoon there’s enough material here for a good half-hour - but used ‘real’ characters, and fleshed them out instead. 
   Planet of the Apes is like eating a loaf of white bread - at first you’re filled up, but it ultimately leaves you hungry and empty. It is a real time-waster. If you’re just looking for some air-conditioning outside the home on a hot summer day, and not too much plot or acting, this movie is for you. My recommendation is -  don’t bother - if you want an exciting film full of surprises, and yet has some real depth to it -  you’re much better off renting the original.


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