Planet Of The Apes Dvd

Written by Sarah Provost
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Tim Burton's 2001 Planet of the Apes is billed as a "re-imagining" of the 1968 classic. The technological wonders of the intervening years are put to good use here, in the ape makeup especially. Mark Wahlberg, as the planetary castaway Leo Davidson, lacks the fire and commitment of Charlton Heston's Taylor, but the monkeys make up for it.

Social Satire and Adventure Story

The theme of both movies and the book by Pierre Boulle on which they were based is tolerance. Using animals for political commentary is a technique as old as Aristophanes, and it still works. The social gradations among the apes are well defined, and the adventure story of Leo's escape has some thrilling moments.

Primary characters among the apes are General Thade (Tim Roth), his enforcer Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan), and the brainy, sensitive scientist Ari (Helena Bonham Carter). Roth, as he so often does, takes every chance to chew the scenery, but without his intensity the film would be lacking. Considering the layers of latex the actors had to work with, they are incredibly expressive.

Despite some fine acting and the technological advances, this version remains as unsubtle as the original. The re-imagined surprise ending works well for about 20 seconds, but once the visual is supplemented by thought, it makes no sense. The film never quite comes together, but at its best, it's enthralling.


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