" A complete lack of either delousing or poop flinging. What’s up with that? "
Title: Planet of the Apes by 20th Century Fox
Format: Major Motion Picture
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
The Hype: Not a remake, but a "retelling" of one of the most enduring science fiction films of all time. And now with a "new surprise ending." Well…I was surprised all right. But probably not in the way they’d hoped.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story: I actually spent quite a while
discussing with the other Monkeys exactly what I should reveal in this review.
The short version is that, rather than risk ruining anything for anyone, I won’t
reveal much. The story, familiarly enough, involves an astronaut crash-landing
on a planet populated by giant monkeys. It also involves a certain amount of
time shifting, as did the original. But, beyond that, I’m not sure what I can
reveal. The reason, simply, is that the entire movie is set up like it’s supposed
to surprise you. The problem is, in vast majority, it doesn’t. At least, to
be certain, it didn’t us. All of the plot twists and turns we saw coming from
so far away that we wouldn’t have even had to slow down to make the corners.
The only "surprise" (and I use that term loosely) is at the very end…and it’s
one that you’ll wish you’d never had.
Not to leave this area totally blank of real content though, I will elaborate on the above nuggets to tell you that it in more ways than not is indeed a remake. Space man crashes, apes take space man prisoner, space man is only human who is worth a damn, space man hooks up with a fur clad hotty who’s not a 10th as bright as she is pretty. Space man has weird little sex-flirt-thing with monkey chick. Space man proves that evolution was right by taking the upper hand once again on all that is chimp like. The differences, really, come in how the humans are behaving. Unlike the original, in this they are much more sentient and are in the process of trying to work their own resistance…they just suck at it. Space man takes over, and major battle ensues.
And, really, that’s pretty much it…barring the few so-called "surprise" elements. Not too much of a movie when you get right down to it. Base, situational story telling meets giant simians and some twisted Darwinism. I was neither truly bored nor particularly impressed. 3 out of 5
Acting: Heh. Acting? Not here my friends. With the single (though notable) exception of the monkey work I was decidedly unimpressed. The people in the suites, however, do a great job. Each actor fresh out of "ape school" walks with a rolling foot, slumped gate that is pretty well what I’d think our primitive ancestors moved like. Bent wrists, twitching heads, and lots of grunting compliment the overall feel and really suspend you into thinking that you are watching Curious George gone bad. The only thing lacking, and I well think it’s worth mentioning, was the complete lack of either delousing or poop flinging. What’s up with that? 3.5 out of 5
Action: I suppose doing long, drawn out fight scenes between the David and Goliath mis-match of man vs. bipedal ape would have been a waste of time. So, pretty much, it’s man runs away ape jumps through the air and lands on his back. Appropriate enough. And, satisfyingly, the only real mano-e-mano fights have our human heroes getting their asses handed to them. The great flaw though, present through out this entire movie, is the wire work. Simply put, it looks like shit. Listen, Mr. and Ms. Movie Producers, when some one jumps, be it human or monkey, the weight starts at the hips and moves through the chest, and then is re-absorbed into the hips when they land. It’s very basic. Why, then, so much wire work has people tiptoeing off the ground and wobbling while they’re in mid air is beyond me. It’s like ever since that damned Crouching Whiner; Hidden Crappile physics no longer apply in any capacity to people once they’ve left the ground. Flying does NOT mean wobbling your way through the air…Need a good example? Look at the Matrix for crying out loud. And, when you consider that this silly floating is the majority of the fight drama to the movie, it really detracts from the overall feel quite a bit. 2 out of 5
Visuals and Directing: Ah, the truly shining point in Planet of the Apes, the visuals are stunning. Pretty, lush jungles act as the perfect backdrop to a semi-barbaric planet with strong monkey tendencies. The cities and backgrounds are all pleasantly bright (considering it’s a Tim Burton flick) and actually intelligently designed (with vines for the apes to go up and down and a definite 3 dimensional feel). And, best of all, is the monkeys. As I understand it took them something like 4 hours to get into that make up and it shows. Great skin tones, incredible movement, and most importantly, few instances where it actually looks like masks (I wish I could say none, but instead there are few). Top notch all the way. 4.5 out of 5
Sound Track: Hmm…It’s a Tim Burton movie…who should we get to do the sound track. Hey! How about Danny Elfman! We haven’t heard from him in a while! But, all kidding aside, you know it’s Tim…That means it has to be Danny. But, if anyone ever complains about a Danny Elfman soundtrack they probably should be shot. Fantastic as always. A little overpower at times, though. 4.5 out of 5
Value vs. Admission: I don’t know…maybe it’s just me. I mean, everyone else I was with seemed to have a much better time than I did. I think I just expected more- instead I got a basic rehash with a limited amount of imagination put behind it. What’s more, the so-called "surprise ending" left me disgusted and angry (I’ll give you a hint…Did you know monkeys make Barettas?). And, of course, when that’s the last thing you see it tends to stick. Still, just for the effects, the fairly cool world, seeing Estelle Warren half naked for 2 hours, and the fact that giant monkeys are the claim to fame- it’s worth a good matinee. 3.5 out of 5
|In the end, Planet of the Apes is fun…but not much more. Catch it for 3 bucks and close your eyes for the last 5 minutes.|
The Good: Killer makeup and monkey work.
The Bad: Turns out "Retelling" is just a fancy way of saying "I really just want to make it different, even if I have nothing new to say."
The Overall Ugly: Fun…But I think Burton is slipping in his old age.
What it's Worth: $3.50