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Tim Burton
Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Estella Warren, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, David Warner, Kris Kristofferson, Charlton Heston (uncredited)
Writing Credits:
Pierre Boulle (novel), William Broyles Jr., Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal

Rule the planet.

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 its salvation!

Box Office:
$100 million.
Opening Weekend
$68.532 million on 3500 screens.
Domestic Gross
$180.011 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $16.99
Release Date: 2/13/2007

• Audio Commentary with Director Tim Burton
• Trailers


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Planet Of The Apes [Blu-Ray] (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 13, 2015)

Some projects take forever to reach the screen. For example, I remember rumors of a new Batman flick for many years before the 1989 hit finally emerged. Another Tim Burton production followed a similarly slow route, but in 2001, we finally got a new version of Planet of the Apes.

A remake of the 1968 classic, this edition starts in the year 2029. Astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) works on the USAF Oberon, a space research station. The pilot helps train chimps for flight, though he doesnít seem to feel this is a worthwhile task.

When an electromagnetic storm disrupts the station, his superiors want to send his trainee chimp Pericles into it; the simian will pilot a ship to obtain various readings, but Davidson would rather go himself. When Pericles enters the storm, he vanishes.

Against orders, Davidson decides to take his own ship and retrieve the chimp. Inside the storm, he quickly establishes but then loses track of Periclesí pod and gets sucked into some sort of funky space wave. This catapults him years into the future, and he eventually crash lands on a planet.

There he quickly gets sucked into a hunt in which apes chase after humans. Captured along with others, Davidson ends up in the clutches of human slave trader Limbo (Paul Giamatti). A chimp named Ari (Helena Bonham Carter) who toils as a human rights activist arranges to purchase both Leo and sexy local girl Daena (Estella Warren), and they enter the residence of her prominent father Senator Sandar (David Warner).

We meet some other notable members of ape society at Sandarís dinner party. This group includes aggressive, human-hating General Thade (Tim Roth) and his assistant, Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan). They debate human issues, with particular conflict between Ari and Thade. We also see that he desires a more intimate relationship with her, but she resists.

In the meantime, Davidson attempts escape, and he takes a few other humans with him. Ari finds them first, and she strikes a deal with Davidson; he promises that heíll show her something remarkable if she sneaks him out of town. Thade already knows about this potential challenge to ape society, and he seems determined to suppress knowledge of it.

As Davidson leads Ari, her assistant Krull (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and the humans, a team led by Thade attempts to find and stop them. He gains heightened military powers as he convinces Senator Sandar that only force will bring back Ari alive. The rest of the movie follows this chase along with a pursuit for truth and eventually a battle for supremacy on the planet of the apes.

As Iíve noted many times in other reviews, I used to be in the tank for Tim Burton. I loved Pee-weeís Big Adventure as well as the first two Batman flicks. I also really enjoyed Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and Mars Attacks.

Since that 1996 flick, however, I viewed Burtonís work as more hit or miss, and the 2001 Apes seems like one of his less scintillating efforts. I want badly to like this flick but canít quite convince myself that itís good.

I also find it tough not to directly compare it to the superior original from 1968, and Burtonís version usually comes up short. On the positive side, the 2001 Apes presents a much stronger vision of ape society. We feel more like it enjoys a real culture, not just a small conglomeration of sets and costumes the filmmakers could afford. Instead, we get a sense that there are many apes and that there are varying strata of the society.

In addition, the newer flickís costumes and make-up totally blow away those of the original. While those elements worked fine for a production from 1968, they donít compare with the generally excellent work on display here.

Some of the elements fare better than others. For example, while Rothís make-up seems shockingly convincing, Carterís comes across as noticeably more artificial. Still, the movie generally executes these elements well and makes the idea of talking apes much more convincing.

Where the 2001 Apes goes astray connects to its story and its focus. Burton delights in the details and pours on little moments like lines from the original movie or quirky aspects of ape society. However, the movie concentrates so heavily on the details that it loses sight of the big picture. Apes doesnít enjoy a very compelling story, and Burton fails to execute it with much depth.

While heavy-handed, the original Apes benefited from social subtext. It examined then current racial conditions through the ape metaphor and proved an effective piece in that regard. The 2001 Apes avoids any such complications and prefers to tell a more straightforward action flick. Thatís fine, I suppose, but it makes this version seem much less rich and intriguing. It also tends to drag at times and rarely picks up much steam.

The presence of the often-bland Wahlberg in the lead doesnít help. Hammy he may have been, at least Charlton Heston added charisma and presence to the old flick. Wahlberg lacks the personality and spark to make us interested in him. The ape supporting cast adds life, especially via deft and effective performances from Carter and Roth, but the lifeless Wahlberg leaves a hole at its center.

The 2001 Planet of the Apes deserves some credit in its attempts to tell its own story and not just reiterate everything from the original. Unfortunately, it only sporadically succeeds. The movie looks great and enjoys occasional solid moments, but it seems unfocused and somewhat bland as a whole. The 2001 Apes remains a fairly average remake.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture C-/ Audio A / Bonus C

Planet of the Apes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was one of the Blu-ray formatís earlier releases, and it showed its age.

Sharpness was a frequent issue. Some shots Ė usually close-ups Ė demonstrated decent to good clarity, but a lot of elements were less satisfying. In particular, the many wide shots tended to be soft and fuzzy. Some light edge haloes appeared, and the movie often seemed somewhat smoothed-out and processed. Jagged edges and shimmering werenít an issue, and print flaws remained minor, I noticed a couple of small specks but nothing more.

Given the filmís jungle setting, Apes maintained a fairly green palette. The Blu-rayís colors tended to be somewhat flat; they werenít bad, but they lacked much vivacity. Blacks tended to appear too dense, and low-light shots were a mess. These were almost always too opaque, and since the flick came with a lot of dark scenes, this was a consistent problem. I thought long and hard about a ďDĒ-level grade but felt the imageís strengths lifted it to ďC-ď level. In any case, it presented a murky, often soft image that rarely satisfied.

For this release of Planet of the Apes, we got a very good DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack that depicted a very active and involving soundfield. All five channels benefited from well-defined and vivid use. Elements seemed appropriately placed within the spectrum and created a nice feeling of environment. Effects moved cleanly across the channels and popped up from all over the realm. The surrounds added a terrific feeling of place, as they frequently provided useful and unique information.

Audio quality appeared excellent. Speech consistently sounded natural and distinctive. I noticed no signs of edginess or issues connected to intelligibility, as the lines always worked well. Music sounded vibrant and dynamic, with bright highs and firm lows. Effects also appeared crisp and detailed, and they presented solid range. Bass response was stellar, as the track featured tight and deep low-end material. The audio expanded the action well.

How did this Blu-Ray compare with the original DVD from 2001? The lossless audio was a little more dynamic, but visuals didnít deliver a notable improvement. The Blu-ray was a smidgen better defined, but it also appeared muddier due to the darkness of so many shots. If you hoped for a clear upgrade, youíll encounter disappointment here.

The Blu-ray also drops most of the DVDís extras, though we still get an audio commentary from director Tim Burton, who offers a running, screen-specific piece. Burtonís earlier tracks seemed fairly spotty, and his offering here suffers from some of the same concerns. However, Burton provides enough information to make this a generally good piece.

Burton covers a nice mix of issues during his commentary. He relates how he became involved in the flick and goes over many other topics. Burton discusses his take on the project, different make-up and effects issues, working with the actors, and other facets of the production.

Burton provides some fun anecdotes and also gives his general thoughts about things like the use of computer graphics in movies. While the commentary features too many empty spaces, Burton nonetheless, offers an engaging and lively chat when he does speak.

The disc also includes trailers for Apes, Behind Enemy Lines, Ice Age and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - and thatís it. The two-disc DVD packed scads of extras, but other than the Apes trailer and Burtonís commentary, they all go missing here.

Overall, Planet of the Apes provides a sporadically intriguing update on the original, but it lacks that flickís coherence and vision. Instead, it substitutes good looks for brains, and it seems generally lackluster. The Blu-ray delivers excellent audio but suffers from bland visuals and lacks many supplements. I think the two-disc DVD remains the best version of the film available.

To rate this film, visit the original review of PLANET OF THE APES