Planet of the Apes
|Writers:||William Broyles Jr., Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal|
|20th Century Fox; PG-13; 125 minutes|
|Cast:||Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter|
Sci-fi social thriller Planet of the Apes was a major cinematic event in 1968. It burned the image of Charlton Heston held captive by apes into the collective consciousness and spawned four sequels. Primal, vivid stuff. Three decades later, Tim Burton (Batman, Sleepy Hollow) dusts off the French source novel and mounts a version of his own.
As the opening sequence of virtually any of his movies demonstrates, Burton's excels at visuals. His ominously offbeat imagination can construct entire worlds, and this is the case in Planet of the Apes. The Ape's landscape and architecture are powerful, as is they way the actors move so physically within it. The simians themselves are menacing and lifelike although they've picked up unnecessarily cute human habits such as deodorant use. The humans, this time around, can talk. Unfortunately, the further from the visual, the less cohesion this remake has. The dialogue is negligible and/or ponderous, and the plot exerts itself beyond credibility in a struggle to one-up the original.
The basic storyline is the same: Earthman astronaut Captain Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) gets accidentally thrown into time and space. He lands on a planet where humans are frightened, primitive chattel, held at the cruel hands of intelligent apes. The original was so juicy even Burton's beautifully rendered remake can't garner a favorable comparison. In other words, a man with Burton's creativity ought to follow his own films rather than step inside others' ideas.