7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Is there a soul in there?,
This review is from: Planet of the Apes - Definitive Edition [DVD] (DVD)
This is so bad and it should have been so good of course. A genius film based on a no doubt genius novel remade by a genius director. What could go wrong? Everything it seems in the case of this film bar the spectacular makeup.
I have just recently watched the original film after a long time and I am astounded by the massive difference in quality between these movies. It just goes to show that chucking money at a film does not do the business and that true artistic achievement does not need wads of cash. I recall at the time of release Burton said this was not a remake but a re-imagining. Too right it isn't. But then you have to ask if the original concepts apart from talking apes have been ditched what is the point if the re-imagined film has nothing profound or new to say?
Casting wise it seems that some poor choices were made. Walhberg barely looks like he cares about anything that happens in the film. Also I cannot understand why Tim Burton has to have Helena Bonham Carter in everything he makes nowadays? Okay they are married but it that an excuse when she doesn't fit the role? As for the actors who play the humans who have been reduced to slaves and things of sport by the apes, their collective performance is very poor. Saying that they are not exactly given much to work with. Spunky Tim Roth gives Planet of the Apes a bit of much needed credibility as there are no signs of Burton's flair for extravagance and dark comedy. Well sort of. He's a great actor and has a lot of presence which comes through strongly in this. Due to the fact that the plot is weak, and the script being a bit shoddy, his acting ability is totally wasted. The inclusion of Heston adds a bit of spice to the movie but he is only in a few minutes and is made to deliver what comes across as cringe worthy dialogue, "Damn them. Damn them all to hell."
The film starts off well enough with a tender moment between a chimp and Walhberg but there is none of the philosophical musings that the original film offers. Things deteriorate soon after Mark Walhberg's character crashes from space onto a planet. The effects are not good nor are the costumes. It all looks a bit cheap really, far too fake. That does not apply to the makeup which stands out immediately as the viewer is rewarded with the sight of apes during the hunt scene lifted from the original classic film. The artists involved in turning much of the cast into another species certainly earned their wages - it's a remarkable effort.
The problem with the film is that it has none of the subtlety of the original, it fails to make you care about the characters whether heroes or not and it doesn't work as a piece against animal cruelty or the havoc humans always wreak. Walhberg's character doesn't appear to have any respect or understanding of what his new environment is trying to teach him about human nature, he merely wants to leave and get back to his own reality which is depicted as what I think is meant to be a typical American barbeque complete with squealing blonds and loud mouth jokers. The relationships between the characters also feels forced. There is zero chemistry between Walhberg and Bonham Carter or between Daena (Warren) and Leo Davidson (Walhberg). The original film makes it very clear that Zira is very much into "Bright Eyes" whereas this version doesn't develop these ideas and makes the tie between Ari and Leo more romantic than anything else.
I cannot comment on the soundtrack as it is such an ordeal to sit through this movie without dropping off that I didn't really notice the score used.
This is basically a below average action film completely divorced from the intelligence and depth of the 1968 version. Gone are the questions on what it means to be human and all that is left is a few punch ups, a bit of running around as well as a silly ending. Kudos to Rick Baker for creating the stunning looking apes but that's about the only positive there is.
Planet Of The Apes - Definitive Edition [DVD]