There's a whole lotta gruntin' goin' on as actors in ape suits overact with
a vengeance in Tim Burton's remake of PLANET OF THE APES, his BATTLEFIELD
EARTH. Both films suffer from poor character development and dopey dialog.
Although PLANET OF THE APES is much better made -- Burton is a great visual
stylist -- if forced to sit through one of them again, I'd go for
BATTLEFIELD EARTH, at least it was campy fun. PLANET OF THE APES is dreary
Delivering the film's only credible performance, Mark Wahlberg plays Capt.
Leo Davidson, a human astronaut who accidentally lands on a planet where the
apes are in command and are abusing the humans. Leo ends up teaming with a
blonde bombshell named Daena (Estella Warren, DRIVEN), who dresses like
Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, and acts like a zombie. Kris Kristofferson, as
Daena's dad, plays one of the script's many clichéd characters. Although
most of the apes look and act alike, it is Tim Roth, as General Thade, who
is given the key role of the main villain. General Thade keeps scheming
toward a Hitlerian final solution for eliminating the humans from the
The apes run around saying things like, "How many times do I have to tell
you to wear gloves when you handle humans?" When they're not spouting their
ridiculous lines, they fight like a bunch of wild animals.
In the big battle scenes, Burton finally gets it right. These are great
moments worthy of a master of the visual. But most of the movie is one
silly scene after another. The original was fun, but the remake is dreary,
violent and takes forever to get to the brief last act, the only successful
part of the remake.
The movie does contain one comedic gem. "Be sure and get rid of them by
puberty," a slave trader admonishes an ape who is in the process of
purchasing a young human child. "One thing you don't want in your house is
a human teenager."
PLANET OF THE APES runs 1:59. It is rated PG-13 for some sequences of
action/violence and would be acceptable for kids around 10 or 11 and up,
depending on how well they can handle violent, frightening images.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave it ***. He thought it was awesome, realistic
and funny, but he was bothered by some of the story's logic.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes