>Grade: B -
Planet of the Apes reinvents the idea from Pierre Boulle's novel of the same name. The book inspired the 1968 original science fiction classic.
Directed by Batman's Tim Burton, this creation is two hours of watchable action, but it's not re-watchable and the success of the film stems solely from the performance of Mark Wahlberg (Renaissance Man, Three Kings).
Wahlberg stars with Estella Warren and Kris Kristofferson as part of a band of humans set to do battle against a monkey-dominated planet.
After a mishap in space that plunges him away from his ship and deep into the future, Capt. Leo Davidson (Wahlberg) and his trusty space pod crash land into a world inhabited by chest banging creatures.
All Davidson wants to do is find his way back to his crew, but it isn't long before he meets up with other human inhabitants, including Daena (Warren) and her father Karub (Kristofferson), and realizes that getting back to his previous time might be harder than he first had thought.
The film goes right in at least one way up to this point.
The creators knew it would have been unrealistic to have Wahlberg take on the apes solely with his hands and fists. They are much bigger and stronger than he is. He does take on one or two, but for the most part, he is forced to plain outsmart them.
The villainous General Thade (Tim Roth) and his assistant Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan) are the leaders of this world, but Thade does have a soft side, especially when it comes to his feelings for the female ape Ari (Helena Bonham Carter).
Thade and Attar are out to destroy Davidson and his followers, while Ari seems willing to help them. Davidson makes it clear that his only motivation is getting off the planet and he doesn't care who he leaves behind, even if it is both Ari and Daena.
The script goes bananas from here on out.
The biggest mistake the film makes is having two love interests going after the hero. Why have two, even if one is an ape? Wouldn't it be more effective, perhaps, to have one love interest and one female villain? Then there's the hokey resolution to the whole situation, although the film redeems itself through the clever ending sequence.
Planet of the Apes is one string of mediocrity, really. It doesn't have a lot of outstanding moments, but it doesn't have a lot of terrible ones, either.
And even though while watching the film I had flashbacks of the 80's television show Buster and Me, Wahlberg's role is worthy enough to keep us entertained.
Planet of the Apes is rated PG-13 for some sequences of action and violence.