am i the only one whose buds failed to moisten at the thought of a Planet Of The Apes remake? I mean, wasn't the whole metaphor forced and ridiculous to begin with? Weren't the rubber masks silly? Wasn't the whole thing so sub-Star Trek? And Tim Burton to direct the new Apes? The man who is to movies what van art is to painting? Suddenly, Mark Wahlberg started looking like this picture's saviour.
The original film was a B-movie barely this side of camp. Burton's remake strides right over the line.
Wahlberg plays a U.S. air force stud based on a space station somewhere in the next century. When an electrical space storm threatens the base, his commander sends a chimp out to investigate. When the chimp gets in trouble, Wahlberg flies to the rescue. But the storm whisks him through time and onto a planet where, well, the rest is flared nostrils.
The notion of apes enslaving humans is a handy empty vessel for issues of the moment. And sure enough, Burton underlines the animal liberation angle, even casting Helena Bonham Carter as a chimp working for human rights. But this movie is far more interested in cheese. Burton strews cheap allusions and overripe dialogue all through the story. One minute there's a Hamlet reference snuck in. The next, Charlton Heston shows up -- as an ape this time -- thundering "Damn them all to hell!"
If it weren't so expensive and intermittently serious, this movie would play like Planet Of The Apes according to Mad magazine.
There are good reasons to see it. The last act holds two juicy twists, for instance. Heston has a hilarious cameo. And Tim Roth, as the vicious simian general, is fascinating to watch. Very apey.
planet of the apes directed by Tim Burton, written by William Broyles Jr., Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, produced by Richard D. Zanuck, with Mark Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth and Michael Clarke Duncan. 120 minutes. Opens Friday (July 27). For venues and times, see First-Run Movies, page 89. Rating: NN