Planet of the Apes is all Tim Burton style. The movie plot is pretty simplistic and that is good since this is a summer movie. A pilot Leo (Mark Wahlberg) crashes on a plane that is ruled by apes. Humans are second class citizens on this planet and are treated like animals. Leo runs into a group of humans that he befriends, one of the humans is the beautiful Daena (Estella Warren). Helping this group of humans is an ape named Ari (Helena Bonham Carter). The plot? Humans fight for their rights on this planet and Leo is their saviour that fell from the sky.
Yes, there is one or two plot twists to this story and a ending that surprised me (thought was unsatisfying), but they story is pretty thin. So what is there to watch in this movie?
Simply said, The Apes. The apes in the movie upstage the humans! Tim Roth as the vile General Thade, Michael Clarke Duncan as Attar, and Carter as Ari all turn in wonderful perfomances from under all that make up. The same can’t be said about the humans. Wahlberg is a very limited actor and it shows here. Watch just what little reaction he has when he encounters talking apes. And Warren is just there as eye candy, her part is so thin that if she disappeared halfway through the film I doubt anyone would miss it. The apes though are great! Not just because of the revolutionary make up that they have that lets they truly emote, but because the actors that play the apes are top-notch. Roth’s performance is only a one note performance, but he plays that note well. And Carter as Ari adds some warmth to any otherwise bland character.
Rick Baker (Men in Black) has to be given many kudos for the work he’s done for this movie. The ape make up is perfect. The score by Danny Elfman is perfection also. Every detail in this film is done to perfection and that’s what should be watched for. It’s too bad that all the perfect pieces don’t fit together all that well. And although I enjoyed the movie and liked how Burton threw in the surprise ending, the movie in the end is just a mediocre movie – something that’s to be expected from a summer movie, but I expected a whole lot more out of Burton.