Our tale begins in 2029 aboard the United States Air Force Space Station Oberon.
Primates are used for deep space missions. The chimpanzee Pericles is sent out in a pod to investigate a solar storm and gets into some difficulty.
His handler, the pilot Leo Thompson jumps into a pod and rockets out to rescue him. Inexplicably he finds himself sucked into a wormhole – and is spat out onto the surface of a strange jungle world.
He’s astonished to find that sentient apes rule over human slaves.
With the help of a sympathetic chimp Ari and a band of human rebels – Leo leads an effort to survive the onslaught of brutal chimpanzee General Thade and his trusted gorilla second-in-command Attar.
Leo must find his way to an ancient temple in the Forbidden Zone where shocking secrets will be revealed.
This film’s legacy is that it introduced the term “reimagining” into the lexicon of modern day blockbuster filmmaking . It’s a term we all came to loathe very quickly.
Remakes have never really been anything new – but the modern trend of crap ones knocked out quickly to make money?
I do believe all that started here.
I was really looking forward to this film. I’d followed the progress of a remake for many years prior to it’s release. I remember being very excited by the rumour that it would be a collaboration between James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Oh man how AWESOME could that have been?
Even though that never did come to pass I was still optimistic that a director like Tim Burton could do something interesting with it.
Let’s get the good stuff out of the way. Rick Baker’s ape makeup is astonishing. Danny Elfman’s score is one of his better ones. Tim Roth is superb as the snarling villain Thade – as is Michael Clarke Duncan as Attar. Helena Bonham Carter is also very good as Ari.
This has one of the best supporting casts I’ve ever seen in a movie. Paul Giamatti, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, David Warner, Kris Kristoffersen are all welcome faces.
The problem is pretty much everything else. It’s just a BAD film.
Mark Wahlberg is NO Charlton Heston (who makes an amusing cameo btw). He just sleepwalks through this film.
It’s badly written. It opens with some of the most thin character exposition I’ve seen in a film. A half assed attempt to make a protagonist interesting that actually just makes him more even more boring and generic.
When I watched the movie again to do this review – it actually made me wince with it’s awfulness.
The dialogue is ABYSMAL. The film has lines like “He’s the canary, that’s the coalmine” and “Never send a monkey to do a man’s job” delivered in the first ten minutes! Doesn’t bode well for the rest of the damn film does it?
It’s a shockingly amateur job. I admire Tim Burton and he’s made some wonderful films – but this just wasn’t right for him. This material would’ve been better suited to a filmmaker like Roland Emmerich, David Twohy, Peter Hyams or Nicolas Meyer.
The outdoor sequences look like they were filmed on sound-stages.
The best way to describe this movie? It’s like a bad episode of Star Trek stretched to feature length.
For a big budget early 21st Century blockbuster – especially one that’s designed to reignite a long dormant but still iconic franchise – it’s remarkable how downright SHODDY this film is.
A colossally bad film. And yes, that ending is STILL just as fucking stupid.
The Man Who Saved Movies. Get your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty human!