Review: “Planet of the Apes”

The list of bad remakes has been busy this year, and now we can add one more to that list as the long-awaited ‘Apes’ is another kick in the teeth – in fact worse than most. What makes it sting is that Tim Burton, one of the few great and creative directors left has come up with what is basically his worst film yet.

Recent efforts like “Mars Attacks” and “Sleepy Hollow” were bad films, but still had their moments of comic genius and little touches of creativity, plus the standard slightly dark gothic feel present in all his movies. That feel, like the creativity, has gone from this movie.

I’m not a big fan of the original mind you. I only saw it for the first time about six months ago and I thought it?was a solid sci-fi movie, though the courtroom aspects as such made it feel very insular – in the end it would’ve made a great twilight zone episode, but as a film its not the classic its hyped up to be.

This has that same insular feel, but even with the bigger budget it’d make a less than average episode of said show. Its odd in many ways. The production values on this are very high with some good sets, whilst the makeup is incredible but like “Final Fantasy” the effect wears off after about fifteen minutes and its up to the story to carry you – that’d be fine if they had a story.

The movie kicks off with a bad “Star Trek: TNG” cloned intro that serves to get Wahlberg to the planet. Once there it continues to take a dive – despite some interesting moments within the city (look out for a great Lisa Marie/Glenn Shadix seduction scene). Carter and Roth especially act their guts out through the makeup and come away with some pretty good performances, however the human contingent isn’t anywhere near that level.

Wahlberg and Warren make very bland leads whose job really is just to look pretty whilst delivering some horrible dialogue – neither one is convincing at all (whilst Kris Kristofferson has like two lines) and aren’t supported by the story which simply clones parts of the original film, guts out about 90% of the character development and then adds some really bad self-referential jabs at humour.

There’s been talk that the third act is a letdown when in actual fact its some of the big Braveheart-esque battles in that third act that provide the only real interesting sequences in the film. As I said the production values are high and so the FX are surprisingly solid throughout. About two thirds of the way in there’s a big twist about the ape origins which is actually rather clever and the one part of the script with any intelligence.

Then we come to the ending and oh boy, basically this segment contains what is arguably the most severe continuity flaw I’ve seen in film history. Time travel as a plot device is confusing at the best of times, but there are general consistent rules like cause preceding effect and so forth. This throws it all right out the window – and its the point where those who just didn’t think much of the film will either give up in confusion or loathe it. This is just a real bad movie, one to see once and then basically avoid for the rest of one’s life. Move over “Psycho”, your bad remake crown has been taken.