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Planet of the Apes
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After a spectacular crash-landing on an uncharted planet, brash astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) finds himself trapped in a savage world where talking apes dominate the human race. Desperate to find a way home, Leo must evade the invincible gorilla army led by ruthless General Thade (Tim Roth) and his most trusted warrior, Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan). Now the pulse-pounding race is on to reach a sacred temple that may hold the shocking secrets of mankind's past - and the last hope for it's salvation!
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have the "digital magic" back then, this movie is well crafted and has a good and
interesting story line.
back in the day, this movie was a marvel in technology. all of these years later, thinking about all of the advances, it still was ahead of its time. it is hard to compare the minute movements that make expressions so important from this older movie to the new ones. the characters were excellent, the plot was good and the unveiling story led to the surprise ending. what more could you ask of a 60's movie? great show and costumes. yrmv
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Burton's, and wasn't expecting much of POTA 2001, but even so, I was desperately disappointed. Whereas in the original we had Charlton Heston's magnificent chigar-chomping, square-jawed nihilism, in the remake we were given "Marky Mark's" bland cardboard cutout `hero', eager to kick some Simian butt. And did anyone else think that Helena Bonham Carter's makeup looked like some bizarre Simian morphing of Oprah and Michael Jackson?!?!?! Creepy. POTA 2001 is 5 Star eye-candy to be sure - makeup, effects blah blah blah - but in my humble opinion, it's a bloated, gutted, and soulless "reimagining" of the original source material.
Oh well, at least we have the original, and watching it on DVD was almost like watching it again for the first time, indeed it was the first time I'd seen it in widescreen since it's original theatrical release. For it's time the makeup effects were groundbreaking, indeed, the source novel by Pierre Boulle, "La Planète des Singes," - "Monkey Planet" - was considered unfilmable because of the makeup that would be required to make the characters believable on the big screen.
But it takes more than makeup, special effects, and squillions of $'s spent on CGI goodies, to make a cinema classic - something Hollywood seems to have forgotten these days! - you need a story, with some depth, with something to say, characters you can believe in, and, to a degree, identify with. With the original Planet of the Apes they got the fundamentals bang to rights, throw in a cast pitch-perfect for their roles, the aforementioned makeup to make it at least believable, and you have a classic in the making.
Although I've been an avid reader of Sci Fi all my life, I'd never read Pierre Boulle's novel `til after I'd seen POTA 2001, and I have to admit I was surprised at the liberties the original film took with the book. I can't read French, so read the English translation of the book, and I have to say it was a pretty stodgy tale... maybe something was lost in the translation?
But - yes, there's always a "but" - to borrow that awful word, the film "reimagined" the book in breathtaking fashion! It became an allegorical tale of America, and to an extent, the rest of the World, caught up in the social revolution of the late 60's; racial discord, the battle of the sexes, politics against religion against science, and three guys from our World who find themselves on a one-way-trip into the unknown... the Planet of the Apes.
The world of POTA is superbly created in the film, everything works; the faintly "primitive" musical soundtrack, the architecture, the costumes, the makeup of course, the hierarchy of Ape society, Orangutans, Chimpanzee's, and Gorillas, representing, broadly speaking, Religion/Government, the Sciences, and the Military. But the most daring representation in the film is in the Humans of this strange World; mute and brutish, something that the short-lived TV series, and the 2001 version shied away from.
Into this crazy upside-down world is pitched astronaut George Taylor - a stunning portrayal by Charlton Heston - after his two colleagues are killed in the initial contact with the Apes... out huntin' `n' shootin' the human vermin, no doubt on a sunny Sunday afternoon! Taylor is driven, cynical, and introspective, sickened by the excesses of his own kind, he looks for meaning in exploring the stars, and finds himself struggling to convince his Ape captors of his intelligence, and his worth as a Human Being. "Adopted" by two `liberal' Chimpanzee's - again, definitive performances by Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter - Taylor is smuggled out of "Ape City," along with a female companion, Nova, and heads into the "Forbidden Zone," where he hopes he might find answers to how this society evolved, and to live out his life in some kind of peace and quiet with Nova.
What he finds is the "truth" about evolution on the planet - something suspected by his kindly Chimpanzee protectors, and known but kept secret by the ruling Orangutan elite - that in ages past, Man was the dominant species on the planet... but a larger truth is presented as one of the most stunning climaxes in cinema history.
*SPOILER ALERT!*SPOILER ALERT!*SPOILER ALERT!*
I still remember the sledgehammer-in-the-gut force of this scene. This was in the days when you went to the cinema without knowing the end of a film, unless someone actually told you, no endless theatrical trailers showing you the whole damn film, and "Making Of" features that would air on TV before you got to the cinema, or critics who would give the end away just for the hell of it!
Taylor and Nova riding along a beach, the camera looking at them from on high, passing behind something "artificial," Taylor looks up in stunned disbelief, falls from his horse into the surf, howling out his despair at his own kind, "... damn them all to HELL!!!" Nova's look of uncomprehending fear and confusion, and finally we are allowed to see what they see, the Statue Of Liberty, blasted and broken, reaching up from an alien beach; after travelling so far, Taylor had finally come home.
*SPOILER ENDS!*SPOILER ENDS!*SPLOIER ENDS!*
This ending alone makes Planet of the Apes one of the greatest Science Fiction films of all time, up there with Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey [Blu-ray]! Of all the sequels, only Beneath the Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray] is worth watching, and actually finishes off the story in spectacular fashion.
I recently purchased the "breakthrough classic that started it all" Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray] release and have to say it was very, VERY worthwhile, especially as the price was pretty much what I payed for my original DVD! The clarity and detail in the image is much improved, and while not up to the best of todays "Reference" standards makes it, IMHO, a good reason to buy. The sound mix has been criticised by others, and while everything is pretty much all "up-front," I think it's fair to say the film has never looked, or sounded, better!
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