> Grade: B -
The moral of the story s: Don't mess with monkey's DNA and if you've already done the damage and you lose one in a monkey-manned spacecraft during an unusual electrical/magnetic phenomenon, don't go after it!
Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes offers a new twist on the old familiar series of apes vs. humans movies starring Charleton Heston.
The techno upgrades are the most obvious improvements, and the actors' ability to really get into their roles as apes isn't too bad either. But, I'll have to say that generally, this movie doesin't measure up to the old favorites from the 70's.
The scene opens on a space station where scientists are genetically altering chimpanzees in order to make them more capable of manning space pods being launched into some sort of unusual anomaly. Capt. Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) abandons all common sense when his own chimpanzee prodigy is suddenly lost in space without a trace _ and he flings himself right after the critter in a pod of his own.
This of course, is where the familiar Planet of the Apes scenario takes off. Our fateful captain finds himself projected into an alternate future on a world inhabited by the dominate species of apes consisting of human-like gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees.
Humans run scared, subordinated by the big mean apes who use them for any numberof terribly demeaning purposes, such as washing dishes and sweeping.
After being captured, the hero is propelled onto a mission of reunion with his friends, whom he is sure are waiting for him in the `forbidden zone' because his beeper is picking up their beacon. Naturally, the apes are hot on his trail determined to stop him, and annihilate all humans in the process.
Complete with a few `surprising' twists toward the end of the film, Burton's Planet of the Apes, leaves its audience wondering just what it will take to get things back to normal. But, trust me, you won't wonder for very long. It's simply not worth the brain power.
Although the costuming is spectacular, the character development is almost nil.
One can't help but compare the old shows to this latest version, and it seems to me that both ape and human characters in the old movies and even the television series were more `real'.
I seem to recall one point in the film where Capt. Davidson confesses to the ape heroine that they really are nothing alike, because she is always thinking about everyone but herself. And, that pretty much sums it up. The main character is cold, egotistical and uncaring, not leaving much for the audience to warm up to. Take in this film only if you have a real hankering for popcorn, otherwise wait for the video.
Planet of the Apes is rated PG-13 for some sequences of action and violence.