Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Planet of the Apes (2001)

After almost 8 years I finally sat down and re-watched the film.

This is after a binge of watching the original 5 films, the live action TV show, and the horrible cartoon over the last few weeks.

My initial reaction of, "this stinks" has subsided considerably over these past years. With that said, the film is still chock full of "cheesy" moments - the hip-hop teenage apes for example or the silly "ape behavior" moments which feel incredibly forced into the production, using "realism" in moments that end up just appearing embarrassing. The film has talking apes for goodness sakes!

Some of the extremely shoehorned lines from the original don't work out that well. Making Tim Roth of all actors such a one-dimensional bad guy who yells and screams and jumps around for nearly half the film was nearly criminal.

The film stars Mark Wahlberg as astronaut Leo Davidson; Tim Roth as General Thade; Helena Bonham Carter as the human friendly ape, Ari; Michael Clarke Duncan as Attar; Paul Giamatti as slave master Limbo; and Estella Warren as Daena. Others include David Warner, Kris Kristofferson, Erick Avari, and Charlton Heston. Blink and you'll miss the original Nova, Linda Harrison.

Davidson is an Air Force officer, who ends up crashing on an alien planet. Little does he realize that the planet he's crashed on is ruled by, wait for it, Apes. On a race for his life, he must find a way home before being killed.

When judging it against the original film, there's no comparison. The original wins hands down. However, when judging it against the rest of the franchise, the film holds up pretty well, and by my estimation, probably the 3rd best in the series - behind the original and Beneath the Planet of the Apes. It only slightly wins over the fourth film, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

** 1/2 out of *****

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