Planet of the ApesJuly 27, 2001
An Air Force astronaut crash lands on a mysterious planet where the evolutionary process is reversed. Evolved apes are the dominate species and humans are primitive. He may discover secrets that would change the planet.
Release Year: 2001
Rating: 5.6/10 (98,306 voted)
Critic's Score: 50/100
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth
It is the year 2029: Astronaut Leo Davidson boards a pod cruiser on a Space Station for a "routine" reconnaissance mission. But an abrupt detour through a space time wormhole lands him on a strange planet where talking apes rule over the human race. With the help of a sympathetic chimpanzee activist named Ari and a small band of human rebels, Leo leads the effort to evade the advancing Gorilla Army led by General Thade and his most trusted warrior Attar. Now the race is on to reach a sacred temple within the planet's Forbidden Zone to discover the shocking secrets of mankind's past – and the key to its future.
Writers: Pierre Boulle, William Broyles Jr.
Captain Leo Davidson
Helena Bonham Carter
Michael Clarke Duncan
(as Evan Dexter Parke)
Freda Foh Shen
Commander Karl Vasich
You'll be sorry you were ever born human
Release Date: 27 July 2001
Filming Locations: USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $68,532,960
(29 July 2001)
Did You Know?
One of the things Rick Baker enjoyed doing was making himself up as an ape and scaring people at a drive-in theater showing the original
Planet of the Apes
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers):
The monkey in the pod that is launched at the beginning is shown in a full spacesuit except he is not wearing any gloves.
Everything in the human culture takes place below the waist!
A Remake of a Film that Never Needed to be Remade
If one wants to remake a movie, the best option is probably to choose
and original that was good, but not a great classic. Clearly, any
attempt to remake a concept that failed first time around is fraught
with danger, but an attempt to remake a classic runs the risk that
one's film will be unfavourably compared with the original. The
original 1968 film of 'Planet of the Apes' is one of cinema's great
science fiction classics. More than an adventure story, it touches on
some of the concerns of the late sixties- the fear of nuclear war, race
relations- and also raises more fundamental issues about the
relationship between man and nature, the relationship between religion
and science, Darwinism and animal rights. It was therefore a brave move
on Tim Burton's part to try and remake it.
The main concept of Tim Burton's film is basically similar to Franklin
Schaffner's. An astronaut from Earth travels to a planet ruled by
intelligent apes. Humans exist on this planet, but they are regarded as
an inferior species, despised and exploited by the apes. There is,
however, an important difference. In the original film, the apes are
the only intelligent and articulate beings on the planet. Although they
have only attained a pre-industrial level of civilization (they have
firearms, but no power-driven machinery, and no means of transport
other than the horse or horse-drawn vehicles), they are a far more
advanced species than the planet's human inhabitants, who lack the
powers of speech and reason and live an animal-like existence. In
Burton's remake, humans and apes have similar powers of speech and
intellect; it is only the apes' greater physical strength that enables
them to dominate the planet and to treat the humans as slaves.
It was this ironic role-reversal, with apes behaving like men and men
behaving like beasts, that gave Schaffner's film its satirical power.
That film was advertised with the slogan 'Somewhere in the Universe,
there must be something better than man!', and the apes are indeed, in
some respects, better than man. Their law against killing others of
their kind, for example, is much more strictly observed than our
commandment that 'Thou shalt do no murder'. There is no sense that the
apes are bad and the humans good. Even Dr Zaius, the orang-utan
politician, is not a wicked individual; by the standards of his society
he is an honourable and decent one. His weakness is that of excessive
intellectual conservatism and unwillingness to accept opinions that do
not fit in with his preconceived world view. (In this respect the apes
are very human indeed).
Burton's film takes a less subtle moral line. It is a straightforward
story of a fight for freedom. The villains are most of the apes,
especially the fanatical, human-hating General Thade. The heroes are
Captain Davidson, the astronaut from Earth, the planet's human
population who long for freedom from the domination of the apes, and a
few liberal, pro-human apes, especially Ari, the daughter of an ape
senator. The apes are more aggressive and more obviously animals than
in the original film; they still frequently move on all fours and emit
fierce shrieks whenever angry or excited.
There are some things about this film that are good, especially the ape
make-up which is, for the most part, more convincing than in the
original film and allows the actors more scope to show emotion. (I say
'for the most part' because Ari looks far less simian than do most of
the other apes- Tim Burton obviously felt that the audience would be
more likely to accept her as a sympathetic character if she looked
half-human). The actors playing apes actually seem more convincing than
those playing humans. Tim Roth is good as the militaristic Thade, as is
Helena Bonham-Carter as Ari. Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, is not
an actor of the same caliber as Charlton Heston, who played the
equivalent role in the original film, and Estella Warren has little to
do other than look glamorous. (Heston has a cameo role as an ape in
Burton's film, and even gets to repeat his famous line 'Damn you all to
Overall, however, the film is a disappointment when compared to the
original, a simple science-fiction adventure story as opposed to an
intelligent and philosophical look at complex issues. It tried to copy
the device of a surprise ending but failed. Schaffner's famous final
twist is shocking, but makes perfect sense in the context of what has
gone before. Burton's makes no sense whatsoever.
Tim Burton can be a director of great originality, but with 'Planet of
the Apes' he fell into the standard Hollywood trap of trying to copy
what had already been done and remaking a film that never needed to be
remade. It was good to see him return to form with the brilliant 'Big
Fish', one of the best films of last year. 6/10