Planet of the Apes (2001) Review

Planet_of_the_Apes_(2001)_poster
Well, looks like it’s time to check out another one of the Ape films. I can’t say that I went in with high hopes after the first batch, but this is a reboot. With new directors comes new opportunities right? This one was a solid improvement over the last few as it managed to work on most of my big problems with it. That being said, it’s guaranteed to make you sleepy once you start watching it.

Captain Leo is at his space station when the commander decides to send a chimp into space. Leo protests this, but the commander won’t listen. The chimp doesn’t know how to use the controls so it slowly starts to fade away into the silence of space. Leo won’t allow that to happen so he hops into a pod and chases the little guy. Both of them fall into a portal, which leads to the far future. Apes have enslaved humanity and they now rule the world. Can Leo lead the resistance away from the apes or are they all going to die?

The plot is fairly similar to the first film, but with some improvements. For starters, Captain Leo is actually a likable character. He went after his monkey, which was the hero move and he was pretty cool about it. Unfortunately, he quickly starts to lose his edge once he is stranded on the foreign planet. Good things can’t last forever I suppose. He does stay defiant all the way through to the end though. He may not have been quite as tough as he was in the opening, but he is dealing with meta powerful apes so he has to be careful about how he operates. I dare the new films to think up a more likable character! I rarely mention actors, but it’s safe to say that the actor did a good job here.

Now, the main thing that you are likely wondering about is the animal violence right? After all, that’s what utterly destroyed all of the other Ape films. Well, you’ll be happy to know that it was significantly reduced from the other films. I dare say that this one has the least amount of it although I remember one of the old films being decent about it. Perhaps my memory has started to fade a little sooner than usual. It’s not completely eliminated though and you’ll also feel bad for the horses that are caught up in these petty wars. It’s a negative that is still around, but considering that this is a film about apes, Burton managed to take away as much of the animal violence as he could.

One part of the plot that felt a little like a plot hole were the cave dwellers. In the first few scenes, it seemed like the humans could not talk. They may not want the apes to know that they can talk, but there’s no way that they couldn’t utter a “Huwahhhhhh” or “Gwagggg” as they were being taken away. At least a “Help” at one point would have sufficed. No, they seemed to be totally mindless until they randomly started talking towards the end of the film. I’ll assume that this part simply wasn’t thought about very much as the writers just wanted to go through the plot already.

The ending is pretty epic. I love the concept although it could have been made even better. The film ending with Leo arriving on Earth where Birds have taken over the planet or something like that would have been cooler. As it stands, my take on the ending is that he’s in a parallel world. I don’t think he can be on the same Earth that he was in before because he is back in the past and yet things have not really changed. There’s no way that the past could have been altered from the future and the humans would have not lost so quickly and suddenly. It’s too bad that this didn’t get a sequel to surpass all my hopes and expectations…….or maybe it wasn’t.

One of the main problems from this film is that it will make you incredibly sleepy. As you’re watching the characters drone on and on about things that don’t ultimately matter, you will feel your eyes start to get a little heavy. As you try to keep yourself awake, you’ll slowly start to sink into the pillow that you have on the arm rest of your chair. Slowly, but surely, you will eventually fall asleep and only wake up as the film is ending. Such is the fate of all who eventually watch this film…in theory. It’s simply not very exciting at all and that really hurts how much you can actually enjoy it.

Also, you simply can’t save a bad concept no matter how good the execution is. Attack on Titan is an incredibly good example of this and I always love to use it. The anime played everything just about perfectly, but it still had to adapt the manga and that was the problem. No matter how likable they make Leo or how much they try to get rid of the animal violence, you simply can’t fix the film when it’s using this plot. There will always be some animal violence as long as the apes are the villains. There will always be the human enslavement plot that is not fun to watch because it’s part of the plot as well. That’s why the plot has always been known as a very important part to the film because it can destroy a film just as easily as it can make the title really cool.

Well, we’re getting a lot closer to the latest Apes film continuity, which is supposed to be the best yet. I have my doubts as the trailers did not look very good, but I suppose that you never know when a film will end up surprising you right? I’ll likely be seeing them soon or at some point in the future and then you can count on a review. We’ll see if it ends up topping this one or fading away.

Overall, Planet of The Apes really gave its all into making this film a success, but it simply didn’t work for me. I appreciate the effort though and the animal violence is noticeably reduced, but it’s simply not enough. Leo also had a great start as the main character and then he started to become more generic and less impressive. None of the apes are likable or interesting. You’ll really think that you’ve seen them before because they are all essentially cardboard cutouts of the original apes from the older films. We have the nice scientist/royalty member who wants to live in harmony with humans and her scared husband who is afraid for his life. Then there’s the main villain who wants to take control of the clan. Seriously, you’ve seen this all before so nothing is new on their side. There’s only so much that you can do with this plot after a while. If you want to see a film about creatures deciding to defeat humanity, I recommend watching Future Card Buddyfight 100. The monsters decide to take things into their own hands this time!

Overall 4/10

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