Planet of the Apes posters! Two different catagories above!

Written by William Broyles, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal
Directed by Tim Burton

Running Time: 2:00

Rated PG-13
for some sequences of action/violence

Mark Wahlberg
as Leo Davidson

Tim Roth
as General Thade

Helena Bonham Carter
as Ari

Michael Clarke Duncan
as Attar

Kris Kristofferson
as Karubi

Estella Warren
as Daena

Paul Giamatti
as Limbo

Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
as Krull

Glenn Shadix
as Senator Nado

Charlton Heston
as Thade's Father

I have got to stop looking forward to movies. Planet of the Apes wasn't near as entertaining as I had thought it was going to be. Not enough action sequences and a story that left me with more questions than answers.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Leo Davidson, a member of the U.S. Air Force. In the year 2029 Leo is in outer space, somewhere near what looks like Saturn. His primary job is to train monkeys to be able to fly, so that they can be sent out to check things out before humans go. When the crew comes upon a strange electrical storm, a monkey is sent out but within seconds they lose contact with his ship. Leo, against orders, heads out after him, and ends up in a space/time warp and travels hundreds or thousands of years into the future, where he crash lands on a strange planet. That by the way is not the big surprise everyone is talking about. If you want to read about the surprise, and answer some questions I have, go to the Spoiler Review. This planet is run by apes, with humans as their slaves. Leo joins up with some of the other humans to try and get back to his ship, and get the hell out of this place. We learn how the apes came to take over the planet, and we find out at the end what Leo's fate finally is.

I think the biggest problem I had with the film was, once you get past the notion that apes run the planet, and humans are the second class citizens, there really isn't much else to the movie. Most of the time it's just a run-of-the-mill oppressed people trying to get out from under their captors type of film. If this film took place in the U.S. in the 1600/1700's it would be white people as the rulers and blacks people as the captives. So after a few minutes of ape rule, I started looking for something else to hang my hat on, and there wasn't much. The main focus of the movie was trying to get off the planet, and not how the apes came to power and how evolution created this. It was only towards the end that the question of ape rule came into play, and even then it was a quick answer without a whole lot of discussion. And then the resolve of the situation seemed to come much too quickly for my tastes.

The makeup effects were amazing (already my pick for an Oscar) and the visuals were fantasic, which is what you expect from a Tim Burton directed film. The music was pretty cool, and the acting of the people in ape makeup was pretty amazing. The human cast wasn't all that much since none of them really seemed to speak. Michael Clark Duncan and Tim Roth as two of the militant apes did wonderful jobs under all that heavy makeup. However what was missing was a soul to the movie. I didn't find myself caring for any of the characters. I was hoping for much more action, and the pacing of the movie was slow.

Maybe I was hoping for too much. I went in to this summer thinking that Tomb Raider, A.I. and Planet of the Apes would be the best films of the summer. Well so far Tomb Raider was a disappointment, A.I. was fantasic although it's bombing at the box office, and Planet of the Apes is now also disappointing. There were a few questions that I had because some of story just didn't make sense to me. Which is again why I wrote a Spoiler section so I could go into details without ruining the movie for the rest of you who aren't interested in my ramblings.

So overall I was disappointed with Planet of the Apes. Visually it looked good, but story-wise there just wasn't much there. I left the theater asking questions and wondering what just happened, and usually that's not a good sign.

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reviewed 07/27/01

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