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Review: Planet of the Apes 343

In the pre-Net era, aging Boomers like me often marked the phases of our lives with dumb TV shows and a handful of arresting, even ground-breaking movies or cultural offerings we remember all our lives, much the way younger folks may recall Star Wars or Myst. Planet of The Apes, released 30 years ago, a movie that morphed into a series, then a cult fad, was one of them. It looks a bit grade B these days, but at the time, it was a real and imaginative shocker that dealt directly with race, class, space and the Nuclear Age. And it ended with a conclusion that stunned audiences -- a real rarity in American movies. In fact, I can't think of another that matches it. I always pegged it at the top of the list of the era's sci-fi movies. The new one won't be. Spoilage warning: Plot discussed, but no details of the ... er ... shocking ending.

This only matters because it may affect the way older people see Tim Burton's reimagined Planet of the Apes. It's a generational thing, admittedly, of no importance to anybody under 30, who can go see the movie with less baggage.

But in that context, this movie doesn't match up, or come close. And it pretty much squelches hopes for a great movie of this summer (with the possible exception of Shrek). Unless American Pie 2 really delivers, there just ain't going to be one.

The costuming and computerized effects in Planet of the Apes are really terrific, and the movie is at times witty, imaginative and entertaining, no small accomplishment, especially this summer. It reminds us that when it comes to ominous design and atmosphere, nobody can top Burton. Where he seems to have trouble is with storytelling.

In the original, Charlton Heston played the towering hero Col. George Taylor, the arrogant and stranded space traveler. In this re-engineering, rechristened Capt. Leo Davidson, Mark Wahlberg, takes over. As great as he was in Three Kings and Boogie Nights, historical comparison isn't kind to Wahlberg, who seems to really lack stature. He looks stunned from the minute he lands on this strange planet, and he spends much of 125 minutes mumbling platitudes to simians and humans and running from some ferocious, brilliantly-rendered and truly mean apes. (The exception is a literal human-rights activist and bleeding heart named Ari, played by Helena Bonham Carter.) This movie really needs George Clooney or a younger Harrison Ford.

You'll find all sorts of winks and nods at the earlier films, including landscape and architectural references, and an uncredited appearance by Heston himself as the ape general's father. There are also mutations of the earlier version's best known lines -- including the classic "Take your stinkin' paws off me, you damn dirty ape!" You had to love Heston at that moment in the first movie, a towering old-school Hollywood superhero insisting on his dignity in world that didn't want to give him a shred, but which, ultimately, had no choice. Capt. Davidson never gets far enough past his shock and disorientation to get mad. In keeping with this era, he's a sensitive hero, concerned but incapable of outrage.

Tim Roth playes Thade, the Simian general who truly loathes humans and exudes hate and rage with every movement and facial expression.

Thade finds people so disgusting he literally bounces off the walls and hangs off the ceiling waiting to get to them so he can tear them apart. Yet oddly, he loves Ari, the liberal human sympathizer. (In another echo of the past, she loves the spaceman, of course, and there is even an interspecies smooch that had the audience in my theater feeling volubly yucky.)

But don't look for too much intellectual exercise. The movie makes the point -- fittingly, through Heston -- that the smarter humans become, the more damage they seem to do as a species. The first movie clearly had racial and class messages to pass along (it was adapted from La Planete des Singes, a novel by Pierre Boulle, whose target was European class snobbery).

There are things to admire here. The faces and expressions of the apes are much more expressive than they were 30 years ago. They're more expressive, in fact, than Wahlberg's. The computer-rendered battle scene, becoming a staple of Hollywood action movies, is impressive.

And the opening 10 or 15 minutes are promisingly fabulistic. On a spaceship that sends trained monkeys out in pods rather than risking humans, Capt Davidson's favorite, Pericles, gets lost in a nebula. It's a neat sequence, with Davidson defying orders to set out after him. Strange space storms wreck his navigation systems, though, and he crash lands on the nearest planet. Leo barely hits the ground, though, before vicious ape soldiers out to capture and sell humans into slavery are after him and his kind. We are clearly meant to see none-too-subtle slave-trade analogies here (plus echoes of animal-rights arguments). But even movies about apes ought to evolve -- does anybody in 2001 really need convincing of slavery's evil?

Nevertheless, to make the point, the movie's humans get treated with utter contempt and brutality, bought and sold and doomed to menial labor, caged at night. In one manipulative but effective sequence, a small child, adopted as a pet by an ape girl, gets locked in a birdcage at night. In what is perhaps a reference to slavery and the Old South, ape society seems to be becoming more narcissistic and decadent, its cruelty to humans undermining its own sense of moral value and purpose.

Dahlberg, who seems ill at ease in this movie and is flat throughout, simply wants to get home. Hardly any other motive or thought occurs to him until very near the ending. Ari, protesting brutality against humans, helps Leo escape to rouse the battered, hopeless remnants of the human race.

I don't want to give anything further away, except to say that either Burton or 20th Century Fox went for still another memorable ending to this Planet of the Apes. I suppose you have to admire their guts, and this one is also a jaw-dropper, but alas, mostly because it's so dumb.

Let's be clear: Planet of the Apes is more than good enough to go see, but you will have forgotten every scene by Labor Day. In 30 years, you'll be eagerly awaiting the remake of something else -- hopefully. Maybe it will be less of a disappointment for you than this one was for me.

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Review: Planet of the Apes

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    My lord this story is generating a lot of interest! 7 minutes after it's posted we dont have an fp! yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I couldn't get past the first sentence. "In the pre-Net era'? What the flipping hell is something as inane and banal as that doing opening a movie review?

    My God, why doesn't someone do us all a favor and just start re-posting Ebert's reviews. He at least sees summer blockbusters for what they are: Action flicks so we can forget reality.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Starring William Shatner as Marshall, Wierd Al Yancovic as Will, Elvira as Holly. And Mark and Brian as the Sleestack. Hey kids! It's got dinosaurs!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    No, he didn't.

    Katz wanted to be *in* Matrix but Reeves stormed off the set saying, "Even *I* have some standards."

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is that some AC isn't posting a bunch of links to "" or some such...
  • Hey, don't get mad at the earlier poster, he was doing a great service to all those people who thought that the events in Planet of the Apes really took place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 29, 2001 @07:56AM (#2184716)
    Let's be clear: Planet of the Apes is more than good enough to go see, but you will have forgotten every scene by Labor Day
    Okay, this is just enough. From now on, let's mod up the first AC who cuts-and-pastes a real review, and then people who want to know about the movie can just scroll a little (okay, so a lot) and have it.
    (Note: if you moderate using Over-rated or Under-rated you won't go to meta-mod. [Since it doesn't make sense to metamod either of those if you don't have a score to go with it....])

    In this proud new tradition, I submit:
    • Atlanta Journal-Constitution [] - (grade: C+) "Maybe Darwin was wrong: this remake shows no sign of evolution."

    • Chicago Tribune [] - "...a rouser, a screaming-banshee fun house."

    • [] - "...this is one really bad script."

    • Deseret News (Salt Lake City) [] - (3 stars) "...when it's good, it comes close to being great."

    • E! Online [] - (grade: C+) "...offers an eye-appealing world but a truly disappointing story."

    • Entertainment Weekly [] - (grade: C+) "...[features] everything...but imagination."

    • L.A. Weekly [] - "...underwritten..."

    • Los Angeles Times [] - "...over-plotted and under-dramatized..."

    • Mr. Showbiz [] - (rating: 2/5) "...despite its presentation, the film is so very ordinary, without urgency or revelation."

    • New York Times [] - "...both a gas and distant, a toy sealed in its unbreakable box."

    • People [] - "The fault lies not in the stars here but in the script."

    • Roger Ebert [] - (2.5 stars) "I expected more."

    • Salon [] - "...stops far too short of being completely seductive."

    • San Francisco Chronicle [] - " amazing display of imagination."

    • TV Guide [] - (2.5 out of 5 stars) "...sorely deficient on the story front."

    • USA Today [] - (3 out of 4 stars) "...[the costumes] allow the power of the performer inside the ape gear to break on through."

    • Search the Movie Review Query Engine []

    And now Ebert's review:

    Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" wants to be all things to all men, and all apes. It's an action picture and a satire of an action picture. It's a comedy and then it gets serious. It's a social satire and then backs away from pushing that angle too far. It even has a weird intra-species romantic triangle in it. And it has a surprise ending that I loved, even though Matt Drudge spoiled it last weekend with a breathless "scoop."

    The movie could have been more. It could have been a parable of men and animals, as daring as "Animal Farm." It could have dealt in social commentary with a sting, and satire that hurt. It could have supported, or attacked, the animal rights movement. It could have dealt with the intriguing question of whether a man and a gorilla having sex is open-mindedness, or bestiality (and, if bestiality, in both directions?).

    It could have, but it doesn't. It's a cautious movie, earning every letter and numeral of its PG-13 rating. Intellectually, it's science fiction for junior high school boys.

    I expected more. I thought Burton would swing for the fence. He plays it too safe, defusing his momentum with little nudges to tell you he knows it's only a movie. The 1968 "Planet of the Apes" was made before irony became an insurance policy. It made jokes, but it took itself seriously. Burton's "Planet" has scenes that defy us to believe them (his hero survives two bumpy crash-landings that look about as realistic as the effects in his "Mars Attacks!"). And it backs away from any kind of risky complexity in its relationships.

    The key couple consists of Leo (Mark Wahlberg), who is the human hero, and Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), who is the Eleanor Roosevelt of the apes. They're attracted to each other but don't know what to do about it, and the screenplay gives them little help. Leo is also supposed to be linked romantically, I guess, with a curvy blond human named Daena (Estella Warren), but her role has been so abbreviated that basically all she does is follow along looking at Leo either significantly or winsomely, as circumstances warrant. At the end, he doesn't even bid her a proper farewell.

    Leo, to be sure, is not one for effusive emotional outbursts. He's played by Wahlberg as a limited and narrow person with little imagination, who never seems very surprised by anything that happens to him--like, oh, to take a random example, crash-landing on a planet where the apes rule the humans. He's a space jockey type, trained in macho self-abnegation, who is great in a crisis but doesn't offer much in the way of conversation. His basic motivation seems to be to get himself off the planet, and to hell with the friends he leaves behind; he's almost surly sometimes as he leads his little band through the wilderness.

    The most "human" character in the movie is, in fact, the chimpanzee Ari, who believes all species were created equal, casts her lot with the outcast humans, and tells Leo, "you're sensitive--a welcome quality in a man." Helena Bonham Carter invests this character with warmth, personality and distinctive body language; she has a way of moving that kids itself.

    There's also juice in a character named Limbo (Paul Giamatti), a scam artist who has a deal for everyone, and a lot of funny one-liners. That he sounds like a carnival pitch-man should not be held against him.

    The major ape characters include the fearsome Gen. Thade (Tim Roth), his strong but occasionally thoughtful gorilla lieutenant Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan), and Sen. Sandar (David Warner), who is a parliamentary leader and Ari's father. There's also a cameo for Charlton Heston, as a wise old ape who inevitably introduces a gun into the plot and has a curmudgeonly exit line. Watching the apes is fun all during the movie, while watching the humans usually isn't; the movie works hard to bring the apes to life, but unwisely thinks the humans can take care of themselves.

    It's interesting that several different simian species co-exist in the planet's ape society. It may be a little hard to account for that, given the logic of the movie, although I will say no more. One major change between this film and the earlier one is that everyone--apes and humans--speak English. The movie explains why the apes speak English, but fudges on how they learned to speak at all.

    The movie is great-looking. Rick Baker's makeup is convincing even in the extreme closeups, and his apes sparkle with personality and presence. The sets and locations give us a proper sense of alien awe, and there's one neat long shot of the ape city-mountain that looks, when you squint a little, like Xanadu from "Citizen Kane." There are lines inviting laughs ("Extremism in the defense of apes is no vice") and others unwisely inviting groans ("If you show me the way out of here--I promise I'll show you something that will change your life forever"). And a priceless moment when Leo wants to stop the squabbling among his fugitive group of men and apes and barks: "Shut up! That goes for all species!"

    "Planet of the Apes" is the kind of movie that you enjoy at times, admire at times, even really like at times, but is it necessary? Given how famous and familiar Franklin J. Schaffner's 1968 film is, Tim Burton had some kind of an obligation to either top it, or sidestep it. Instead, he pays homage. He calls this version a "reimaging," and so it is, but a reinvention might have been better. Burton's work can show a wild and crazed imagination, but here he seems reined in. He's made a film that's respectful to the original, and respectable in itself, but that's not enough. Ten years from now, it will be the 1968 version that people are still renting.

    Copyright © Chicago Sun-Times Inc.

    Let's make a tradition of this!

  • First off I thought the movie was really mediocre. If that good. Guy lands on a planet with talking, sapient apes and is only a little stunned? Bleah. He should have been freaked out.

    Anyway, do listen to what they say. The ending was completely predictable, and Wahlberg's character was an idiot for not putting 2 + 2 together.

    The one female Ape who was helping them (sorry, I don't remember any of the character's names ;-)) told Wahlberg that the ruins (of the ship) were thousands of years old. Now if he came from around 2100 sometime to 2400 sometime (judging from the clock displayed in the pod, another silly issue), then they crashed a very long time ago. (Like I'm going to believe they could build that sort of technology that could last that long, riiight. Power source maybe. Computers no.)

    So basically he deserved what he got for not thinking. As has been explained, it was Earth all along (like we ever doubted, with the flora and fauna being so familiar). Ruins 1000's of years old obviously affected a large part of known history (how much wasn't given).

    What I find also incomprehensibly stupid is the fact that everything developed identically with apes as it would have with humans. I'm sure I'm not the only one. America, s/human/ape/g? Bah.


  • Look and listen closely. Wahlberg travels from ~2100 (2039? close enough) to 2400 something. He finds Planet of Apes.

    While on PoA, he finds ruins of a Ship Looking for Him (SLH). Female Protagonist Ape comments at one point "that's impossible, these ruins are thousands of years old" [highlight added]. This means, SLH crashed at Some Unknown Time, BC. The ape takeover happened a long time ago, and if Wahlberg's character wasn't such a dunce he would have realized this.

    Anyway, so he travels back in time, but not far enough... he's still in the new, Ape-ridden timeline (although why exactly apes would have an exactly identical history is silly beyond belief). He needs to keep travelling an unknown number of millenia in the past (till he reaches SUT, BC) to put a stop to the problem.

    Simple, stock time travel. I think you guys need to watch more Back to the Future, and play a lot more Chrono Trigger.



  • I must have missed something then. How is this established...?


  • Think earth, with the oceans dried up a lot. That's what I thought when I saw it. Besides, if this is taking your typical evolutionary view of planetary development, how else would you get identical flora and fauna?

    The three moons bit probably isn't that far fetched either, we could always get moons from elsewhere. ;-) That's the hardest part, I'll admit.

    Finally, the future apes might very well have been more technically advanced... and we just saw a portion of the world that wasn't as technologically outgoing. This is especially feasible if you look at the clothing of many of the apes... obviously mass fabricated. (Leather jackets, other machined textiles, etc. Imports.)

    OTOH, knowing the ape personalities, it's also not too far of a stretch to see a technological decline, especially if advanced weapons were once available (blowing each other to bits, new dark ages, etc.). Question of how they got there in the first place remains to be answered.

    Heck, I dunno. Doesn't seem to hang together in any respect, trying to make it hang together is impossible, but the time changes did seem fairly logical from what they said. ;-) The harder you think, the less sense it makes, which is usually a good sign of a bad movie.


  • I wonder if the primate stories are any good?
  • A) Fabulistic is a real word.
    B) Even if Reality Master 101 was aware of that, it doesn't make their post all that funny.
  • A)
    Merriam-Webster's seems to accept it as an adjective.

    B) I was trying to understand what was going through the moderator's head. Either they thought it was a joke (in which case a rater weak one), or they felt it was serious (in which case both they -- and you, are wrong).

  • Just to further expound upon this -- the effect of inbreeding is to enhance existing characteristics. All of our best crops and animals have been produced by taking animals that had the traits we wanted to exemplify and inbreeding them.

    The idea that inbreeding is bad is mostly a myth. As the above poster mentioned, if bad recessive genes are possessed it's a problem, but it's otherwise perfectly fine. The dislike for inbreeding is a social taboo, not a biological imperative.


  • I was kind of wondering where the horses came from. Surely they didn't have any on the space station.

  • Why is Kats doing movie reviews anyway
    Jon Katz does movie reviews because people, just like yourself, read them and comment on them. Whether or not anybody agrees with him is irrelevant because any given Katz feature will pretty much always generate at least a few hundred comments.

    It's simple.

  • by Genom ( 3868 ) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @07:53AM (#2184727)
    The only remake I've seen that lived up to the original was Evil Dead 2...which was, for all intents and purposes a remake of Evil Dead - although they set it up as a sequel.
  • "Thade. Agent Thade."

    Hmm. The Apetrix...
  • They should have done a remake of the original book [], which todays movie budgets and technology would allow. And they should have picked someone other than Tim Burton to make it. In the novel the apes lived in a futuristic society with advanced technology. That I'd pay $8 to watch. Instead, I've ordered the novel, and after I've read that I'll rent the original flick.

    Mark Wahlberg is no Charlton Heston. Ugh.

    This is my favorite review [] of the movie. "Meanwhile, even though we are supposed to be rooting for the humans, Wahlberg throws out one-liners about how awful and relatively inferior we are. 'The smarter we get, the more violent our world becomes,' he says with all of the intensity you'd expect from a mechanic telling you to pick up your car on Tuesday. Indeed, when Wahlberg needs to issue a Henry V style loin-girding speech a la Mel Gibson in Braveheart, he instead sounds like he's yelling at a driver who's about to take his parking spot."
  • Has anyone asked/answered this question? Most of his viewpoints never seem to agree with the general populace here (at least from what I have seen), so what is he doing telling us what we will/wont like?

    God forbid opinions differ. And god forbid I ever be considered one of the general populace of slashdot.

    ObReview: corny eye candy. i had to suspend my disbelief of the dubious parts (like the indestructable ship's bridge), but marky mark's acting job made it all that much harder. final fantasy had better eye candy for its vapid plot.
  • But I can see absolutely no purpose to pulling that word out of his butt, and nothing in the context signals any "playfulness" with language.

    Unfortunately for you, "fabulistic" is a real word.

    Or, rather, "fabulist" is a real word, and "fabulistic" is a reasonable English use of the noun as an adjective.

    For all Jon's faults, he at least owns a dictionary. Perhaps you should invest in one.

  • * We know he's going forward through time, about 600+ years, and yet the monkeys have evolved dramatically (into other species infact) over that time period.

    Why is every single person who responds to this review assuming that the modified apes were the only ones present on the planet?

    Has it crossed no-ones mind that the modified apes could have bred with unmodified apes, producing offspring that resembled the unmodified species but with higher intelligence, strength, etc.?

  • The ending was very close to the book's ending. A hell of lot sillier, but still on target.

    In the book, the hero escapes from planet, makes his way back home and lands, and is met by a lone figure on the tarmac. The last words of the book: "He was an ape."
  • I was very impressed with the original Planet of the Apes as a major part of it was about evolution vs religion. For the day (and even today) that would of raised quite a storm.

    I haven't seen the movie yet but, out of interest, can someone tell me if they've kept that as a major aspect or is it all now about Freedom ala BattleField Earth?
  • You need to look closely at the clock on the spacepod as he travels through time. (we won't even get into why that makes no sense) But We started in 2029. Marky Mark Goes through a time-unstable LIFO wormhole and end up 400 years int the future at a distant world. Perecles Went in first so he came out last. The Mothership went in last so it came out first, crashed and the apes take over. Now to my point: If you look at the clock on Marky Mark's spacpod on the return trip, The last date you see is 21xx which means he is 100 years into OUR earth's future. This being the case, and assuming that the only genetically engineered apes in the universe were not on Marky's Mothership, would it not be conceiveable that the genetically engineered apes on earth could have a revolution as well? Could this be a anti-genetic manipulation theme. And Yes I realize I'm reaching. But my logic filters demand satisfaction.
  • Heston's speech regarding the handgun is about human nature, not guns. Yes, Heston is an NRA bigwig. Heston is very opinionated on the subject of guns. If you'd ever read his writings on that subject, though, you'd discover that his speech surrounding the handgun was totally orthogonal to his gun-control beliefs.

    Heston's speech was about the dangers of human nature; that it is human nature to develop ever-better tools, and to apply those ever-better tools to the task of killing things. This isn't hyperbole; it's fact. Every time we invent something new, it's only a matter of time before someone looks into how to use it for military purposes.

    That's what Heston's speech in the remake was about. Beware humans, for they are hardwired to build and to destroy--and to build things which only exist to destroy.
  • by pdice ( 41822 ) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @07:47AM (#2184773)
    I enoyed most of the movie, except the ending. The ending made no sense. I went with three other people and none of us could reason it out. I've talked to other people online and have come up with three explanations, but none make complete sense.

    1) Somehow he really went into the future instead of into the past and the apes were somehow able to evolve further and just happened to make washington look like it does now.

    There are a bunch of holes with this one, but it thought i would post it at least.

    2) The storm cloud also allowed to travel through dimensions and he went to another dimension where apes ruled.

    Okay, this one is even funnier than the first one.

    3) The general was able to use the technology from the ship and construct some kind of spacecraft, go through the storm before the main character could get back and conquered earth before he arrived.

    This one makes more sense, but there is less proof of it.

    What do you think?
  • by p3d0 ( 42270 )
    Orbits, by definition, are in free-fall.
  • I am amazed that *anybody*, including the /. crowd, thinks for a second that Charlton Heston's lines literally meant "people should not have guns".

    Didn't you guys pay attantion to ANY of the other words in that scene?

    Heston's character says that "with guns in the hands of humans, our strength is no longer an advantage" and goes on to say that the apes will no longer be able to enslave the humans.

    Get it? Does ANYBODY get that? He is saying that guns are the EQUALIZER that will allow humans to break the bonds of slavery.

    How does EVERY person *paid* to review movies miss 90% of the important stuff?

    I agree with the AC above, this was not a "remake" it is a wholly new movie that could have been done better. (I liked it anyway)

    Visit DC2600 []
  • First item: It is a work of fiction!

    Second item: Ape species variety puzzle.

    Answer: Genetic engeering side effects.

    The genetic engineering of the chimps included key genes from several other ape species that allowed for RAPID ape variety when the chimps broke free from the humans and were able to reproduce naturally, without "impurities" being destroyed.

    Did you note the extreme LACK of variety in the apes in the movie? Where were the spider monkeys, etc? I only counted chimps, orangutans and gorillas, no others (might have missed some).

    The lack of diversity in humans was probably to the lack of diversity of the ship's crew.

    Ending: Thad (the ape general, whatever his name was) had a momument to him in the "future" because HE became a myrtar after being "jailed for life" in the ship. Legend developed and the apes took over the earth after they got guns (note that all of the DC ape cops had guns at the end), thus being able to re-enslave all humans.

    Now, someone else work on the horsey problem? I will never figure that one out.

    Visit DC2600 []
  • The ending does work if flipperboy's theory is applied.

    The middle is still a mess with unexplained horsies. Where did the horsies come from!?

    Visit DC2600 []
  • The ending is from the origonal BOOK by Pierre Boule.

    The origonal *movie* is NOTHING LIKE the book.

    This movie has NOTHING to do with the origonal movie and little to do with the origonal book.

    All 3 are works of fiction, thus explaining the horses in the most recent movie.

    Visit DC2600 []
  • At last! A post that makes perfect sense!

    Visit DC2600 []
  • The book was about european class differences.

    This movie is a retelling of the book, not a re-doing of the last time the book was torn to shreds.

    This movie is good, but a different "good" from the first and at least nods at the book, something the first movie ever did.

    Why are so many people so dedicated to the first movie? It followed almost othing from the book and was hobbled by crappy tech and a low budget?

    Visit DC2600 []
  • Well, PotA was "consistant" with the horses, just like "Star Wars" is consistant with sound in space.

    BTW, SW is fiction too ;-)

    Visit DC2600 []
  • "They had primitive tech so I dont seem to think they are survivors of oberon."

    The survivors of the Oberon crash were subsequently attacked and killed by the enhanced monkeys from the ship. I believe the humans in the movies were the decendents of some Oberon humans who managed to escape the monkeys and live primitively in the forest.
    Aside from numerous other inconsistencies/impossibilities, I think it is reasonable to assume that after 600 years worth of living in the forest on the run from intelligent apes, humans wouldn't have much tech left.

    Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong [apologies to Miller...]


  • What's wrong with fabulistic? That's a completely promulent word.
  • You can probably find a lot of details on fan sites or at IMDB [].
  • I've gotten to the point of almost enjoying Katz's reviews because they are so orthogonal to my reasons for viewing a movie and yet they help me to see how other peoples' minds may approach the issues involved in modern entertainment.
  • I haven't yet seen the movie, but I'm told this ending is a lot more in tune with the original book the movie is based on.
  • I'd like to follow up on this ending discussion -- I saw the movie and loved the ending. It doesn't feel complete, of course, but that's never been a requirement for a good movie in my mind. My only change would have been to end the movie as he entered the earth's atmosphere, leaving you thinking that everything's ok, but not knowing for sure. The rest of the ending could have been used as the preview for the sequel ...
  • You can't live up to nostalgia. This movie proves it, but any of the negatives people are whining about would be on the Standard Blockbuster Disclaimer agreement theatres should have you sign before you watch anyhow (I promise I will not expect anything too deep, etc ...) The ending, which everyone seems to be complaining about is really a nod to the old series. That was the camp .. neccessary; the original stands the test of time, but find me a fan who won't admit camp was part of the series.
  • Incidentally, exposing racism for the ugliness that it really is was part of the original brilliance of the movie. These days, I think people are more tired of the equality issue than anything (as demonstrated by the recent resurgance of neo-racist and neo-sexist punchlines in comedy and advertising), so the thing that made the original so effective and head-slapping is responsible for making the message in the remake sound strained and cliched.
  • No, it was the one that was most suitable AND provided an easy sequel route.
  • by mcarbone ( 78119 ) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @07:59AM (#2184811) Homepage
    It's a generational thing, admittedly, of no importance to anybody under 30, who can go see the movie with less baggage.

    This is plain wrong, Katz. I am 22 years old and Planet of the Apes is one of my favorite sci fi films. I certainly had said baggage when watching Burton's film and I know many of my peers (and younger) carried the very same. The original is a classic that everyone should see.

  • Honestly, I haven't seen more than one or two good reviews come out of JonKatz's mouth.. err.. hands in the last few months. Are mainstream movies really that bad, or is he a pessimist? I think it would be preferable if slashdot did reviews and ratings by the type of poll segfault uses, where users can give something a rating on a scale of one to ten; then we can have people's actual opinions averaged (and possibly also with standard deviation so we can see the amount of variance). It could also be broken down into categories, perhaps; "Rating by persons having seen film", "Projected rating by persons having read reviews", "Projected rating by persons having seen previews". Anyway, just my $.02. Apologies for the troll-sounding introduction.

    "Slow down cowboy!" Twenty seconds my ass.
  • All 3 are works of fiction, thus explaining the horses in the most recent movie.

    Why do people always think it's okay to excuse plot holes by saying "it's a work of fiction"? If the storyteller was too lazy and/or stupid to make the story self-consistent, then that's a flaw!

  • Has anyone asked/answered this question? Most of his viewpoints never seem to agree with the general populace here (at least from what I have seen), so what is he doing telling us what we will/wont like?

    I saw the movie oneping night, and personally, I was very impressed, and I reccomend it to anyone. Mind you, its is obviously not a mind-bender, nor does it follow the original plot, as it is not a remake of the original, as Burton has said many times. Its more of a "Burton's take" on the story. And a cool one at that.

  • Becuase the US released book is called "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone."

    If you don't believe me, check out the US version of Amazon.

    Very frequently British and US Publishers re-title books in an effort to make them more appealing to their market.
  • They are on pre mamal earth. Ny crashing they destroyed our history. The humans you see are a mix of 1st humans and survivors (thus enlish) & thats why at the end when he lans @ earth its Apes. MUAHAHA
  • That is Aug. 3rd. That is your other chance for a good movie, btw. Imdb's RH2 Stuff []. Just my $.02. Oh - POTA. I was really expecting total crap. I had read the Salon review that bashes it for a paragraph and then goes on to tell the history of the Apes series. I can not find that review. Oh well. Anyways, I also read the CNN review that bashed it all to hell. I thought the story was good enough to keep my attention for 2 hours, but had it got 2hrs, 2minutes - I woulda died. It really pushed to the end and quit. That to me is a good characteristic in movies. All and all - was worth the $5 student discount ticket.
  • 1. That didn't bother me. I found it fitting. The gorillas in the book reminded me of Klingons, too.

    2. Those humans were survivors of the Oberon, I think. That seems to make sense.

    3. Well, yeah, but religion is a powerful thing.

  • How do you suppose they [] have responded to the movie? "See, we'd better be nice to them!"

    This makes me wonder. Do you suppose there were bonobos among the apes in the film, too?

  • That's a good point - in the book, certainly, the planet Soror has been inhabited by humans for millions of years. But I think ender is on the right track.

  • The chronometer rolls forward when he goes through the warp the first tiem and abckwards when he goes through again.

    The ending is EARLIER in time then the rest of the movie.

    GHiven that the only way it works is if, ina sequel, some gene-engineered ape or its descendent goes back through time.

    (And yes this did happen in the original series... see "Escape from the planet of the apes".)
  • The Apes DIDN'T evolve. Its wasonly a few thousand years sicen the crash which is no time at all i nan evolutionary scale.

    Rather, theyw ere gene splcied with hunmans for increased intelligence. In teh succeeding generatiosn more huamnt raist emerged.

    it works, more or less.

    Doesnt help save the film though.
  • If you add things totally outside the plot and toally unjustified by anything we've seen, like his chronomteter lying, you can make anything work.

    Its clear from the movie that (1) he does go back in time and (2) he does return to earth at a tiem close enough to ours that Washington loosk identical.

    ERGO, our own approximate rpesent has been changed, and the only way that can be explained is with yet another time-traveler....

    Basic logic.
  • Its a ncie diea... unfortunately the back-spinning chronometer doesn't fit.

    You have to keep in midn the time travel invovled here, he's on earth WELL before any of the POTA stuff took place...

  • I disagree with Katz - which I'm sure most will not find surprising - on the movie. Is the original? No. Nothing could match that. Of course, if the original were released now, I have little doubt that it would garnered only a fraction of the praise it did in the 60's (ignoring for the moment the special effects). The message of the original, in the 60's shook people. I was moved by the ending when I saw it the first time (at the tender age of 12) but I doubt my reaction was a tenth that of my parents when they saw it. But that's because of the time, the historical context.

    So if you go into this movie expecting to find something like the original, but for today's audience, you won't find it. But only an idiot would go in expecting that I think. After all, even with all the various plagues affecting mankind today, not one of them inspires the kind of dread/fear/nevousness that the threat of nuclear war did 35 years ago.

    I thought one of the strongest points of the movie is that it didn't try to be the original (except for going for the shocking ending, about which I'm somewhat dubious, but not nearly as critical of as Katz). I thought the plot, though not particularly inspired, was better fare than most sci-fi flicks of late.

    Maybe I've had my standards lowered by the absolutely awful sci-fi offerings of late, but I came away from the movie pleasantly surprised. Is the film going to win an Oscar? No. Well, maybe Tim Roth will, who was quite execellent IMHO as Thade (he's so simian at times it's unnerving). Is it fun entertainment? Yes. The only better flick that I've seen this year was Memento (admittedly, a much, much better movie but unfortunately it seems to have been panned by 98% of the slop-eating public; if you haven't seen it, SEE IT). And I don't expect to see a better sci-fi flick this year (No, I'm not including LotR, that's fantasy).

    So if you're not old enough to have seen the original in theatres, I'd say you're quite safe spending - at the very least - cheap night prices on this flick. I spent the painful full-price of CDN$12.50 on it and walked out satisfied.

    Wood Shavings!
  • what did you really expect????
  • Hey, you forgot the cameo in Scream 3 (they're on the studio tour and Jay hits on Gail Weathers) which served exactly no purpose whatsoever.
  • I saw the movie on Friday and although I liked it, it had some major problems:
    1. Starting the movie in 2029 isn't really a problem. But the technological leaps made in 28 years are staggering. Artificial gravity? Long-range, manned space flight? The Oberion (sp?) appears to be in orbit around Saturn, but it can't be unless the storm also moves you through space as well as time. The planet is not Earth (note the three moons.) So the planet isn't in our solar system.
    2. We know he's going forward through time, about 600+ years, and yet the monkeys have evolved dramatically (into other species infact) over that time period. Perhaps the Oberion went backwards in time when the storm hit it, but that seems unlikely and isn't supported by the Apes timeline.
    3. Are we to believe that enough people survived the crash of the Oberion and the slave rebellion of the monkeys that they could grow a human population that is "four times" that of the Apes.
    4. The ending makes no sense at all except to setup the inevitable sequel. I agree with Katz on this. It was shockingly stupid, even by comparison to the balance of the movie.
    I did enjoy the movie and found it to be a welcome retelling. I think Wahlberg did a fine job in the lead. The story doesn't require the stereotypical hollywood hero actor. The character is clearly a reluctant hero, at best, and Wahlberg is well suited for it.
  • by smack.addict ( 116174 ) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @07:52AM (#2184865)
    Certainly, as someone who has not seen the original and thus does not view the new one through the glasses of the old, I thought it was a solid summer film. Furthermore, I felt the Wahlberg character was more realistic than the Heston one Katz describes.

    My point, however, regards the ending. I think Burton made this ending intentionally jarring and, well, stupid so that the audience could mentally edit it out. He was contractually obligated to leave room open for a sequel. He hates sequels. This ending thus says two things, IMHO:

    1. "Make a sequel out of this, assholes!"
    2. "Audience, this clearly has nothing to do with the rest of the movie, please erase it from your mind."
      1. I do find it impossible to believe Burton thought the ending was an actual good idea for its theatrical merits.
  • by acoustix ( 123925 ) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @08:38AM (#2184870)
    I previewed this movie Thursday afternoon at the theatre that I work at. Unforturnately it was a beautiful day that I wasted on this film. The film wasn't good, but it wasn't bad. I wouldn't pay to see it though. Here are my thoughts:

    1. The apes came from the monkeys. So where did the horses come from on the planet?

    2. Ending - how can the future effect the past? As I understand it the majority of the movie takes place in the 27th century (or something like that). So at the end when he goes back to the 21st century how can there be a memorial to General Thade when he doesn't exist until the 27th century?
  • I vote for number (3)

    3) The general was able to use the technology from the ship and construct some kind of spacecraft, go through the storm before the main character could get back and conquered earth before he arrived.

    This explanation is straight out of the transformers beast machines storyline.....I just wish the writer's for beast machines would get the credit for coming up with the solution to the age old question "how do we make a sequal if we have the good guy winning in the end of the first installment"

    but seriously...this explanation is very viable. They didnt kill the general...they left him in an operation control room of the space station....we know there are atleast a couple of unaccounted for space pod ships, that might have survived the crash. -jef

  • Sure, on the base level, "oh look, it's Chuck with a gun, ha ha. Damn dirty NRA." But look beyond that. Heston's message in the film is solely about the evils of the human race, and technology, personified in a rusted gun. In effect, Chuck is saying "guns are bad." And Thade's undoing is directly related to his desire to master the human technology, further reinforcing this. (Personally, I'm surprised Thade didn't off himself accidentally)

    On a side note, it'll be interesting to see if the protest scene and the cross-species sex scene make it back into the director's cut.
  • Some of the later Planet of the Apes movies deal with a revolt by domesticated monkeys lead by a talking ape that came from the future. What if there is going to be a sequel to the new Planet of the Apes, but with a revolt of domesticated humans lead by a talking man from the past?
  • Yes it does work. He's still on a planet ruled by apes, isn't he? Did he go all the way back to his time, or did he fall short? Does his fancy clock really work, or does it need to go back to the shop?

    Basically, I don't see how saying "Yes, he's on a planet filled with apes, but he went back in time so your idea doesn't work," actually invalidates my idea.
  • You fail to answer my question: Does our hero's temporal position, in any way, invalidate my idea? He does end up in a world full of apes, or was I trippin' during the last 5 minutes of the movie?

    I'd also really like to know how his fancy clock could tell he's travelling through time, as it is travelling with him.

    You also need to check for typos when you post, this isn't AOL.
  • It might have something to do with the fact that most people have better things to do on Sundays than wait to make "first posts" on Slashdot. Just a thought.

    You're new here, aren't you?
  • Maybe because that is what it will be called upon its release in the US?

    In the U.K., the first book in this series is known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and the movie version will have that title as well. How is that possible? Well, they're going to film any scenes that mention the "stone" twice: once with "sorcerer's" for the USA, and once with "philosopher's" for the U.K.

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone []

    Hi! How are you?
    I send you this .sig in order to have your advice

  • Oh, no no no... Third world countries don't really exist. Same with sweatshops. Those are just liberal fantasies. You don't see them on FOX, do you? See? They're just figments of the left-wing media.
  • Spoilage warning: Plot discussed, but no details of the ... er ... shocking ending.
    Somebody please spoiler it! Save me eight bucks!


  • Better watch the Simpson's Planet of the Apes []

    This is only a link to some pictures and sound bytes. THey are not mine but enjoy !!

  • Katz hated it. I'll go watch it.

  • Katz is a professional writer, right? I mean, one of the rules of writing is that you can break rules when it serves a purpose in the writing. But I can see absolutely no purpose to pulling that word out of his butt, and nothing in the context signals any "playfulness" with language.


  • As if we needed another intelligent species on the planet for human slavery to exist on this planet. Think the message that "slavery is evil" is quaint in the 21st century? It still exists [], meaning some still don't get it [] .

  • Do you actually believe that any story you have seen in the past 100 years is original in its plot? From Star Trek's 19th century ship theme, to Star Wars' cookie cutter hero mythology, to the Jungian ideas in the Matrix, it's all being retold in one way or another.

    The only thing bringing some of us down is that this same one has been retold twice in our lifetime. While I was around in the 70s to see the originals the first time, I can still take this story as both something new and familiar, and still enjoy the differences. I wonder how long it's been since we've had a story that could not be classified as being very similar to what we've seen before.

  • Your reference to's [] articles on the classic movies and series for Planet of the Apes [], and their review [] for the movie.

  • The phrase "30 years ago" was repeated at least three times in the review. Dig a little deeper, man. Like into the URL below. Planet of the Apes was released February 8, 1968 []. 33 years ago.

    I think nearly everyone agrees that the original was a great film, so get the facts straight and check out good old IMDB for more tidbits...

    (Original) Planet of the Apes []
    (Original) Planet of the Apes: Quotes []
  • We need more quality people like you.

    Too funny. Now before you call the pot black, take a quick walk down memory lane of your postings, dlb []. I'm still looking for the quality. Oh wait, I guess it was in your clever and original Beowolf Cluster post []. That one was great. And I found your flamebait collection of this [], this [], this [], and this [] post especially helpful to the Slashdot community. I'll try to contribute at least as much as that in the future... :-)

    ... yeah, roger Houston... Karma is maxxed. Awaiting down-moderations... Over...
  • And from the lengthy discussion of the movie below, I'm glad Katz posted any review at all just to get all those posts posted. This movie sounds awful. At least the Matrix had a lot of interesting drug/bent-reality referencees to make up for the incredibly bad acting and inept plot. And when Matrix did all its cool effects it was mostly original. This new PotA sounds like it is heavy on effects and light on storyline enjoyment. A disturbing trend.

    Before everyone jumps on me for not just being willing to roll over and suspend disbelief... I just want to say that it's impossible to suspend disbelief when the films keep leaving Mack truck sized holes laying around. Like Swordfish, some great effects and Halle Berre's boobs could not take away the pain of constantly being reminded that the writers knew less about computers and hacking than, well, anyone who'd actually used a computer.

    It's irresponsible. I don't mind a few plot holes and glaring errors here and there, but over and over? And when the plot hinges on so many of them? It makes a movie downright unwatchable. It's like having someone pinching you every five minutes to make sure you're not dreaming-- when you're dreaming.
  • I can't be the only one that thought there was a real lack of character development in this film.

    Most of the major characters were not fully developed. Many of the other characters, including Thade's right hand gorilla and Kris Kristofferson's I expected to be developed more.

    I was suprised that Kristofferson's character was killed off so early. Why even bother having him in the movie?

    How many lines did the blonde chick have? Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed looking at her rack. But sheesh!

    Really Disappointing. The sad part is I will probably go to see the sequel, prequel or whatever they consider it just to see how they explain the Lincoln Memorial thing.
    1. Whatever happened to imaginative, gripping, suspenseful storytelling?
    2. Whatever happened to developing characters with emotion and realistic motivation?
    3. Whatever happened to allowing characters to spend time in a scene, being real and exuding drama?
    4. Whatever happened to the idea that to "suspend disbelief", you have to create a believable plot, tying up as many loose ends as possible?

    Those are the questions I asked myself continuously while watching the new Planet of the Apes.

    Steve Magruder

  • Tim:How are you Phil? Were where you last night?
    Phil: Oh, I went to see 'Planet of the Apes'.
    (2 second of silence)
    (People burst into laughs)
    Tim: You went to see what!

    Tim sounds like a really condescending, smug git to me. Why would Phil hang out with such a closetted fool?
    Can you please supply more dialog? I want to know more of Tim and Phil's relationship.
  • Can you please supply more dialog?

    No? I guess I'll have to extrapolate.

    Phil: So what did *you* do last night Tim?
    Tim: Well Phil, I went to a Kenny G concert, then I went home and watched 'Walker, Texas Ranger'.
    (Everyone murmurs appreciatively)

  • It seemed like Burton wasn't all out like he is in his other movies. His movies usually are totally infused with his trademark phantasmagoric images and although this one had traces of was still too watered down.

    The ape costumes were magnificent and even better than the costumes in the original yet the story and acting of Wahlberg were not up to snuff. I keep hearing that Clooney should've been cast as the astronaut. How ironic that people should say that since both those actors were in Three Kings. I think Wahlberg can be a good actor but just not in this movie.

    Probably Ebert is right and this movie shouldn't have been made or they should have made it into something significantly different with more of Burton's style. I rememeber how shocked I was at seeing Burton's Batman! I was totally blown away by that movie.

    As for the ending of the movie, some may call it cheesy or whatnot but it is truer to the Pierre Boulle novel than the 1968 movie.

    All in all this remake is plain ok.

    1. The apes talked just like star-trek's klingons. That kindof ruined a lot of the movie for me. Ok. No Kindof. It made it downright painful!!
    2. If the apes evolved from the monkeys that came from the crashed ship (sheesh...I figured that out in the first 10 minutes of the movie. No surprises there!), where did the humans inhabiting the planet come from? Or are these humans 'leftovers' from us destroying the planet?
    3. The ending was far too abrupt. One minute you have every army-ape in the world against the humans, and the next they're all buddies. Especially the big guy (2nd in command?). It just wasn't believeable that their acidic hatred of humans would disappear just like that.
  • From the little footage that we got to see of the post-crash, it appeared that just before the apes escaped that they killed all of the humans.

    That's why it didn't make sense to me. The crew wasn't that big, was it? And the odds of a guy and a girl who breed...well..

  • by ffsnjb ( 238634 ) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @08:17AM (#2184974) Homepage
    And it comes out on August 22nd.

    Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

    And on that day, I shall give Hollywood money, only because Kevin Smith is a genius, and Joey Lauren Adams is, umm, amazing.
  • When Pericles (the monkey) landed his ship, and here's why:

    Leo (the man) couldn't land his ship correctly at all. Can you believe this? He and the monkey go through the exact same thing (the storm I mean) and then TWICE Leo screws up. He's an idiot.
    People Are Sheep []
  • I agree that Sixth Sense can be considered a surprise ending, but what are you talking about with The Shawshank Redemption??? I remember the ending pretty clearly, and it wasn't a shocking surprise-twist ending at all.
  • by regexp ( 302904 ) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @10:32AM (#2184996)
    We've all seen Katz's rants against the concentration of money and power in huge media corporations, and the dangers he sees in the homogenization of culture in those corporations' hands.

    So why is he so enthralled by big-budget Hollywood movies, which probably more than any other product exemplify what he claims to oppose? Does he think it's possible to produce entertainment products on the scale of Planet of the Apes or The Matrix without the multi-billion dollar corporate machine?

    You can't have it both ways. If you're so attached to the products of capitalism run amok and the homogenized mass media, you can't turn and rail against them as soon as you leave the movie theater.

  • 'But even movies about apes ought to evolve -- does anybody in 2001 really need convincing of slavery's evil?'

    excuse me? did katz just say that despite rampant slavery in third world countries throughout, plus sweatshops run here in america? What about many countries attitude toward women that puts them in near slave like conditions?

    'Nah weep bah ninny grab?'
    -Hot Rod
  • The famous, Humphrey Bogart, version of Dash Hammett's novel was the third version to be filmed.

    The Maltese Falcon (1931) []
    Satan met a Lady (1936) []
    The Maltese Falcon (1941) []

    I think it would have been interesting to see Bogart (3rd version) play opposite Bette Davis (2nd version).

    The 1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a remake of the 1964 Bedtime Story []. The original starred David Niven opposite a young Marlon Brando. I preferred the remake, although it would have been interesting to see Michael Caine play opposite Brando. Watch both films, back to back, and you will be amazed at how far superior an actor Michael Caine is to David Niven. Compared with Caine, Niven seems more wooden than Pinochio.

  • I think that every Slashdotter, when they go to see this movie, should do what my friend William did when he saw it.

    Near the end of the movie, the spaceman (Leo) kisses the human-rights-activist ape (Ari). this drew lots of "EWWW!" comments from the audience in the theater. Ten seconds later, Leo goes over and kisses that human woman. Everyone in the theater was very quiet, except for my friend William, who immediately yelled out "EWWW!"

    I was laughing for a minute and a half afterwards.

  • I've had a similar discussion with a roommate of mine. He loved the movie Clear & Present Danger, and I hated it mostly because I read the book. After getting fed up with my "What the fuck were they smoking when they mauled this story?" complaints, he started to claim that I just wasn't rating the movie on it's own merits. (But hell, it stank even as a "sequel" to The Hunt for Red October, Baldwin was a much better Ryan than Ford, etc. etc....)

    At that point I countered with the way the movie was more of a Steven Segal flick than Harrison Ford, the way it was more action gun flick than anything that had anything to do with the intrigue it pretended it had, so on and so forth...

    In short, it is possible for those of us who saw the original anything to hate a derivative on its own merits.

  • by JBowz15 ( 451573 ) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @08:23AM (#2185028)
    Did anyone else get the feeling that they were watching Crouching Rhesus, Hidden Chimpanzee?

    Charlton Heston has a cameo as a damn, dirty ape. He talks about guns. Big surprise. I guess what they say is true about art imitating life.
  • by SilentChris ( 452960 ) on Sunday July 29, 2001 @09:02AM (#2185031) Homepage
    It might have something to do with the fact that most people have better things to do on Sundays than wait to make "first posts" on Slashdot. Just a thought.

    By the way, I take Jon Katz's reviews with everyone else's. The more opinions, the better. If I can take the opinion of a technical movie by a friend who until just recently thought Linux was permanently damaging her modem, I sure as hell can take Jon Katz.

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor