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Planet of the Apes

  • 2001
  • PG-13
  • 119min
  • 45%
  • 5.7 / 10

An astronaut named Leo Davidson travels across lightyears and transcends time in order to save his simian co-worker – a chimpanzee named Pericles. – from a deadly electromagnetic storm. On his way to save Pericles, Davidson crashes onto a planet called Ashlar and discovers he is in the year 5021. He becomes a subject of a manhunt by a rebel group of humans and chimpanzees. They not only want Davidson’s life, but they want his spacecraft as it is their only hope of toppling down the tyranny of the gorillas and allowing humans and chimpanzees to finally co-exist.

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Tim Burton’s reimagining of Planet and the Apes was a commercial success but was met with criticism for it’s ‘twist ending.’ Burton says that his intention with the ending was to be a crazy cliffhanger that would be explained in the sequel. However, Burton and 20th Century Fox could not agree on the direction of the franchise - claiming scheduling conflicts and creative differences. Ultimately, they agreed to leave the project indefinitely. Eventually, Burton said that he would have ‘rather jumped out a window’ than make a sequel to the film.

Planet of the Apes movie review

Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes takes the core idea of the franchise - a human astronaut lands on a planet controlled by humanoid monkeys - and gives it a twist. It results in a re-imagination of the classic under a different theme.

The film's plot doesn't stray too far from the original. In the year 2029, a space research station on planets Oberon houses genetically modified chimpanzees in order for them to be trained to fly space crafts. This doesn't sit well with astronaut Leo Davidson - played by Mark Wahlberg. He believes that piloting space crafts is a human's job, not a simians'. When the station encounters an overwhelmingly electromagnetic storm, they lose Pericles the simian. Davidson refuses to wait in the station in order to figure out what had happened. He hijacks a space-pod and goes after the simian. Unbeknownst to Davidson, he travels though lightyears and time. His attempt at a rescue mission comes to a halt as he crash-lands on the planet of the Apes. It is here that the film begins to fall apart. 

What Burton dismisses from the original films was its allegory. Viewers could make the connection between human-ape relations to the racial tensions present in America in the 1970s. But in Planet of the Apes, viewers will not see any thought-provoking issues expressed.  The film makes it clear that Burton and Elfman spent significantly more time making the ape's society look and feel real rather than concretizing the story.

The fight scenes which conclude the movie's climax is decent at best and the effects are - again - look and feel real. It further emphasizes that the film is content on being shallow and that it has no intention of surpassing the original film without visual effects. To be fair, the time spent on fleshing out the planet's society, culture, and appearance pay off. The convincing ape performances from the actors even does it justice.



about the movie

Planet of the Apes (2001) is an American science fiction film adapted from the Pierre Boulle novel of the same name. This sixth film of the Planet of the Apes franchise is directed by Tim Burton, and stars Mark Wahlberg as Captain Leo Davidson. The cast includes Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti and Estella Warren. The film was a commercial success as it went on to be the tenth-highest-grossing film in North America and the ninth-highest-grossing film worldwide in 2001. The film was also nominated by several major award-winning bodies, namely the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, Saturn Awards, British Academy Film Awards, and Grammy Awards.