Planet of the Apes (2001)

Special effects and a new storyline can’t mask the comedy of actors in ape suits.

Needless to say, I was pumped when I heard that the classic flick, Planet of the Apes was going to be remade.  However, there was a bit of fear that came along with this excitement.  You see, there was major potential here for Hollywood to mess up this movie and thereby potentially destroying the Planet of the Apes franchise.  The key here was that they couldn’t Disney this thing up.  Planet of the Apes is a dark series where humans fall and apes rise.  The overflow of cheesiness in today’s movie industry, almost guaranteed a victory for mankind.  For this movie to truly be great the Apes needed to win, and that didn’t seem like it would happen.  So my fellow apes enthusiasts and myself were headed into the theater to root on the destruction of mankind…

Here’s the run down on what I thought about some of the aspects of the film:

Lieutenant Leo Davidson:

He’s no Charlton that’s for sure.  When I heard they gave the lead role to Marky Mark, I really started to worry.  However, Wahlberg pulled this one off ok.  He doesn’t make the film, but he doesn’t brake it either.  In all honesty you can’t really blame him for his performance, since he wasn’t given much script-wise to do much with.

Ari:

She had more personality than Zira and probably was an upgrade at the female-monkey-liberator role.  One major flaw here:  When she smooched Leo, there was no “But you’re so dang ugly” line from Ari.  It was a quality line from the original that was so needlessly cut from the flick.

Daena:

On a beauty level, you have to give Daena the nod over Nova.  However, I do have major beef with the girl cause she talks.  I wasn’t too happy to find out that humans talk in this version of Apes, but it was to be expected seeing as its difficult to get today’s movie audiences to respond positively towards mutes.

General Thade:

Two thumbs up for the addition of Thade into the mix.  Thade proved to be the perfect bad guy in this movie, seeing as the original lacked a definite one.  He is pure evil, and in the end, he proves hard to defeat.

Attar:

A good addition of a character into the franchise.  Attar is the toughest ape there is.  Towards the end, he really turned my stomach with all this human/ape flowery friendship talk…but time would prove that this was a key element…

Limbo:

At first I wasn’t sure what to think of this guy.  He was complete Hollywood and not at all in the tradition of Apes.  But I wanted a new story, and with that comes change, and so overall I like this guy.

Dr. Zaius:

NOT IN THE FILM!  OUCH!  Big point deduction there…. What were they thinking?

So the movie progresses, and me and my dawgs just know the humans are going to pull out the W.  I’m sorta wishing they had left the franchise alone.  Then when the apes are whupping down on the humans in the battle, and we’re thinking that we maybe have a shot…Out of the sky in a space pod, comes Leo’s lost astronaut monkey whom all the apes think is their “Jesus” figure Semos.  Overjoyed by this “second-coming of the messiah” and shocked at his friendliness towards Leo, all the apes dissolve their grudge against humanity and everything’s peachy.  I’m dying now.  I’m just shaking my head in disgust.  This is the most wretched thing in history right now.  Why, oh why did they destroy my beloved Apes franchise like I feared they would? So they stop Thade by trapping him in an abandoned broken down space station and all is well, except for the Planet of the Apes franchise, which is currently lying in ashes very much like U2’s music career was after they released Pop.  Leo goes home, and doesn’t take Daena with him, which is the only thing saving me right now from puking at the Hollywood garbage this movie has become.  Leo goes home and tries to land.  Well here comes the hero’s welcome.  Then he crash lands…and a tiny spark ignites.  Could there be any chance for a surprise ending? Nah, don’t get your hopes up.  Wait, he’s at the Lincoln Memorial…ok hopes rising cause maybe….uh I don’t know….could it be…that…

It started as a hushed whisper………..”abe’s an ape.”

I repeated it to myself in order to ponder this amazing possibility….

It echoed through my head, I could see it now, it simply had to be…

This is why we had come.  This was it, the Statue of Liberty ending of our generation…

A lump grew in my throat as I knew that I was about to utter the three words which would forever define my life as an Apes fan….

I took a deep breath, clenched my fists, took a moment to savor the aroma of popcorn in the thick, moist atmosphere of the theater, and spoke the words…

“Abe’s an Ape”.

The words echoed off the walls, silencing those around me.  My ICG turned to me in disbelief.  Somewhere in the distance a lone wolf howled.

“Abe’s an Ape”….”Abe’s an Ape”….

“Yo Dawg…Abe’s an Ape”…

They showed Leo staring at Abe. All you could see was the back of his head.  Then they panned for a front view.  They started at his feet an slowly rose, to reveal…

ABE’S AN APE!

Oh, the joy!  Oh, the rapture! Abe is an Ape and the franchise is saved.  Moments ago it was like U2 after Pop, and now All That You Can’t Leave Behind is released, and we’re better than ever! We stood, we cheered, we beat our chests!  The Apes won!  Against all odds, the Apes won!  Human civilization has crumbled!  Mankind has been destroyed!  And life is good.


DeROK’s Take:

In theatre experience:

As an overall movie:

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

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