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Planet of the Apes

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Planet of the Apes

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth
Director: Tim Burton
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 119 Minutes
Release Date: July 2001
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi-Fantasy

*Also starring: Glenn Shadix, Luke Eberl, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Duncan, Paul Giamatti, George Clooney, Charlton Heston, Lisa Marie

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

In Tim Burton's re-envisioning of Pierre Boulle's novel which became a 1968 cult classic, the sci-fi premise remains the same: an astronaut (Mark Wahlberg) crash-lands on a bizarre, brutal world where apes are the dominant species and humans serve them. When captured, he's taken to the misty mountain kingdom of Ape City by the orangutan slave trader (Paul Giamatti). He meets defiant human rebels (Kris Kristofferson, Estella Warren) and discovers the socio-political conflict between the tyrannical General (Tim Roth) and his intimidating aide (Michael Clarke Duncan) and a passionate, liberal Senator's daughter (Helena Bonham Carter) who believes humans should not be subjugated by simians. Tim Burton's iconoclastic vision of this fascistic, chimpanzee-dominated society is brought to life primarily by six-time Oscar-winning make-up artist Rick Baker ("Gorillas in the Mist," "Mighty Joe Young") who, incredibly, in a tour-de-force, transforms the actors into apes. Credit production designer Rick Heinrichs and cinematographer Philippe Rousselot too. Unlike the original, in William Broyles Jr.'s rather dull screenplay, the humans are not mute and, despite the rumors, there's no inter-species sex. Clunky Mark Wahlberg is hardly a heroic figure, as Charlton Heston was in the original. But Heston does turn up as an aged, ailing ape, and once again, in a quite different context, utters his famous line: "Damn them all to hell!" But, basically, Paul Giamatti steals the picture, offering much needed comic relief. The conclusion, while not the Statue of Liberty, offers a surprising, if very contrived, twist. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Planet of the Apes" is a dark, primal, action-packed 5, proving "The smarter we become, the more dangerous we get."

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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