I really like Tim Burton, but when I heard he was doing Planet of the Apes, I was hesitant and skeptical.
I just didn't think the style of movie making I'm used to seeing from Burton would lend itself easily to a film like this.
Well, having just seen Planet of the Apes, I think my skepticism was justified.
Let me start by saying that the film isn't a bad film at all. It's just not very Burtonesque really. And quite frankly what's the point of having a Tim Burton film, if it doesn't look like one?
There are definitely Burtonesque touches throughout the movie, but not enough to satisfy me, and I would imagine, a lot of Burton's faithful followers.
But like I said, it's not a bad movie…but it does seem to have a lot of effort put into it, with not enough result. Maybe the old adage comes into play here…Burton's intentions were good, but as we all know, the road to Hell is paved with such intentions…
The film has two definite pluses…an excellent cast, and truly amazing make up from genius make up artist Rick Baker.
The cast, led by an annoyingly buff Mark Wahlberg is great. Wahlberg is a very natural actor. I'm not sure how good he is, but he always seems very comfortable on screen, and maybe that in and of itself is testament to how good of an actor he is.
The normally beautiful Helena Bonham Carter plays a sympathetic simian who wants to help the humans. Her make up, while still good, is a little strange because unlike the other ape characters, her's is unrecognizable. It's like, OK, here's a chimp, and here's a gorilla, and then there's Helena…just what is she? Anyway, she is very good in the movie, as always. I've never seen her in a less than great performance.
Estella Warren is one of the human slaves. Her acting is fine, though there isn't much of it really. But let me tell you, she's like a doll. Literally. If there is a God, he definitely worked over time on her face. Good going G!
One of my favorite character actors is also in this film. Paul Giamatti plays a sleazy human slave trading orangutan, and as usual, he's great. What a funny guy.
OK, leaving the best for last, another one of my favorite actors, the always great Tim Roth plays the ultra-evil General Thade. The combination of Roth's expressive eyes and razor sharp delivery coupled with truly awesome chimpanzee make up, makes this a truly memorable character. He's definite the stand out in Planet of the Apes.
If you ever saw the original film, you know that the make up was questionable at best.
Sure the lead actors had OK make up for the time, but the battle soldiers were just guys in gorilla masks, not even gorilla suits. In this version however, Rick Baker has done an amazing job. I have no doubt that he will be winning yet another Oscar for his efforts.
I guess my problem with Planet of the Apes is that it just wasn't cool enough.
Maybe my expectations of Burton are too high, since he blew me away with SLEEPY HOLLOW. Maybe it's just that it's not my kind of movie anyway. Had it not been a Burton movie, I might not even had seen it. Who knows?
All I can say is, while there's definitely a lot to appreciate in this new "re-imagining" of Planet of the Apes, it could have been better.