Planet of the Apes (2001)
***.1 GM
Starring: Marky Mark, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Paul Giamatti, Estella Warren, Kris Kristofferson, Luke, Eberl, Glenn Shadix, Lisa Marie, David Warren, Charlton Heston


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I wasn't particularly jazzed about seeing this film, despite Tim Burton's consistently enjoyable output ("Pee-Wee's Big Adventure!"), perhaps because what I know about the original film is "Damn you all to hell!", "Get yer stinkin' paws off me, you damn dirty ape!" and the twist ending. Knowing that, though, I understand why all three of these items needed to find their way into this "reimagining." It's not a remake, it's a RE-IMAGINING. Truth be told, that's much better than a remake, anyway, and I found myself having a lot of fun.

So Marky Mark is asshole spaceboy that disobeys orders and launches himself into a time-storm of some sort that drops him down onto an alien world where apes can talk and treat humans as slaves. Marky Mark calmly tries to find a way off the world, and in the process, inspires all the human slaves to revolt against their nasty ol' ape rulers, with the help of a couple of sympathetic apes.

The overall effects and ape makeup are astoundingly well-done, and the transformations of the actors into apes is near-perfect, with the different gestures, reactions, vocal stylings characteristic of the species. Truly, congratulations and commendations are deserved all around. Give them all their ape-acting merit badges and a couple o' cookies - even Tim Roth who, although growling a bit too much for my taste, was threatening and completely absorbed into the character of Thade, the nasty human-hating commander of the military. Heck, even Marky Mark wasn't as annoying as I'd expected him to be.

The story, while appealing, had a couple of iffy spots - I don't entirely see why exactly Duncan's loyal ape Attar suddenly switches sides toward the end, as he didn't seem to be present when most of the 'revelations' about their history were shown, and the twists are predictable, and the ending is much less effective than that of the original film (and I haven't even SEEN that film). In fact, the ending's pretty much laughable.

Overall, though, it's a lot of fun to see all the apes going mad, smacking the crap out of things, going all out, and being talking apes. I enjoyed it relatively thoroughly, and even though the end is goofy, it's only a few minutes of film, and since it's a big 'twist' separate from the rest of the story, it's more easily ignorable. I like the whole concept of "Planet of the Apes," and I'm glad to see it 'digitally remastered,' so to speak.

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