Planet of the Apes (2001) Review

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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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2001: A Space Odyssey Review

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Have you ever seen a film that made you go to sleep? No, I’m not talking about the Lord of the Rings! 2001: A Space Odyssey surpasses that film in that category as the scenes are even more stretched out and the film runs for around the same amount of time. With less plot than a Saturday Morning Cartoon; A main character that makes Alex Hopper look like Tom Cruise; and an ending that would make Inception viewers cringe….we have this film! I hope that you’ve prepared yourself accordingly because watching this film is basically like throwing hours of your life out the window.

What is the plot? The film never figured that out so it’s barely worth mentioning. The first plot is about animal violence and how we descended from Apes. The Apes learned to destroy each other until they managed to become as brutal as the modern humans. After that, we go to David Bowman as he goes to the board meeting. It’s a big conspiracy between the members as they can’t let the press find out what they’re about to do. This journey will be dangerous after all so they convince everyone that there is a plague on board. David takes Frank and Hal 9000 as they head off into the great unknown. However, nothing is as it seems and the humans eventually start to distrust Hal 9000. Obviously, there is only room for one type of being so now they will have to fight. Man vs Machine!

It’s like watching a bad sci-fi film that doesn’t know if it wants to be a thriller, a political film, or a thematic sensation. As a result, the story telling is very convoluted and nothing makes sense. The writing makes the Amazing Spider Man 2 look amazing and it makes the Lord of The Rings appear to be a thrill a minute in comparison. It’s no shock to say that I’m giving this film a single star and it would be hard to say where that star came from. (Or not, Hal 9000 was pretty epic after all) Let’s quickly talk about the characters since there really aren’t many to talk about.

David Bowman is the main lead of the film, but it won’t matter all that much by the end since he has no real personality to speak of. He’s pretty careful around the news reporters, which is good and he doesn’t really gossip. He’s pretty much a no nonsense character and he seems to be pretty reasonable. Did he get a little too drastic in his plan to get Hal 9000? That’s something we’ll discuss later on. Overall, I would actually say that Bowman was a decently good main character. He was very bland and he didn’t have much of a personality, but that also meant that he didn’t really have time to make many mistakes. I can’t say that he fell into any character holes. He’s a perfectly acceptable main character.

Frank Poole is his friend/co worker. You could say that he’s a more aggressive version of David Bowman. Bowman never really voices his opinion about Hal 9000 being dangerous until Frank suggests that they take him out. Bowman was hinting at it, but he was very indecisive and he seemed to want Frank’s agreement before even suggesting it. Frank isn’t subtle like that and everything he does is direct. Because of this, Frank ends up being more likable than David and he’s the best human character in the film. Going outside when the ship is a suspect may be a little….optimistic at best, but every character makes a big error at some point right? Frank Poole was definitely a good character.

Hal 9000 is the big villain of the film. He’s famous and everyone knows about Hal 9000. Despite this, Hal 9000 isn’t actually a very big player. His screen time is a lot shorter than I would have thought. Despite this, Hal 9000 is still as sinister as I had pictured. You really can’t get past his sarcastic voice. “Hello Dave” “I can’t do that Dave” are some of his lines and Hal 9000 never lets up. He has nothing but contempt for humanity and it really shows. I can definitely see why he was remembered since he was one of the only really good things about the film. Right down to the end, Hal 9000’s voice will give you the chills and his end is probably where the film should have ended.

Unfortunately, the film did not end! After that, we just get a lot of scenes that don’t really have any relevance to them. There are a lot of meta readings that you can take from the scenes, but you can also just go to sleep and let the film end on its own. The problem with trying to have a lot of symbolic interpretations is that there is no correct answer. Once you put out a vague ending, the viewer can name any ending that they please and it won’t really be wrong. Thus, there really isn’t a point anymore. The film had no point and that’s one of the saddest parts. We never really begin to like the main characters so there isn’t a sense of relief at the end.

The whole film is really dragged out. The first 5-8 minutes of the film are pure darkness and we even have an intermission with more darkness. The final 15-20 minutes just consist of random oceans and other locations where we can appreciate the view. If I wanted a good view, then I’d pop in my Homer Price dvd and check out the realistic donuts! The main character eventually goes insane and that basically represents the audience by this point. I think it’s safe to say that you’ll lose interest before the halfway mark of the film anyway, but this would throw you off if you were still on board. Even eating a sandwich can take a while in this film as they slowly go for the food and they take forever to finish it. Don’t worry, they silently jog afterwards to burn off the calories. Another example of how the film is dragged out is the conversation with the media. “I’m not at liberty to discuss this” is something that the main character says when they try to get information out of him. What’s his next line? The same exact thing! The writers were just grasping at straws at that point as they just wanted to drag out the dialogue as much as possible. The characters make sure to cough and take deep breaths so that they can stop themselves from replying for a little longer. The camera also has a little lag to it so the scenes end up staying on the screen for longer than necessary. Not that we could expect anything less from this film!

Okay, we’ve established that the film is boring right? I could keep on mentioning this fact and give more examples, but I think you get the point. Still, that can’t be enough to give it a 1 right? Even the Lord of the Rings scored higher than that! Well, one big hole that the film charged into was the classic case of animal violence. Yes, there is animal violence in a space film that is about man vs machines. Why is animal violence present? Because the film forgot what it was about!

The first half hour or so is about a group of monkeys massacring each other. That’s it….there’s no plot, no point, and no fun. It’s just about the animals hurting each other and maturing into humans. It’s essentially a silent film at this stage and it makes the silent scenes of the Arthur tv show look profound and relevant. By this point in the film, I already had a sneaking suspicion that the film could not score above a three. Little did I know that it would never rise up from this error.

The end of the film is all about being trippy and we have a lot of inverted colors and random events that occur. You keep waiting for something to happen and it never does so you’re left with an empty feeling. This is why you shouldn’t make a film very crazy looking just so that you can try to win some awards and get recognition for being unique. Using the tried and true formula of the Mario Bros film would be much better.

Now, should the humans have decided to destroy/dismantle Hal 9000 and his upper functions? He did make a mistake with the satellite, but was it really on purpose as part of some conspiracy? I definitely think that he was trying to cover up his mistake as the film went on, but I don’t think he would have felt that it was necessary to murder the whole crew if Bowman and Frank hadn’t discussed their plan. (Talking in front of a window is never a really smart thing to do) It just seemed like the humans were a little rash in their thinking. Hal 9000 may have been in error, but he didn’t seem to be malicious. There were possibly some veiled threats in his dialogue with the main characters and if he’s so smart…then the mistake had to be intentional right? Nonetheless, while there are some doubts as to what side Hal 9000 was on, they should have given him a chance. At least wait until they’re back on the ground to disable him. Going on the offensive just wasn’t a wise thing to do in their situation. Then, sending out Frank to put the satellite back in place? That’s just asking for trouble. I can’t say with complete confidence that deciding to work with Hal 9000 would have helped them out in the end, but I do think that he wouldn’t have turned completely evil. (Not so quickly anyway)

Overall, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a lot worse than you may have guessed from the cover. There isn’t much of a plot and the events that could have taken 30-40 minutes end up stretching to around 3 hours. The director really wanted this film to be long so he used every artificial technique that he could think of to keep the film going. Because of this, over a third of the film consists of pointless aerial shots or stills of the characters thinking. The intro with the animals is also pointless and the ending doesn’t add anything to the film. The only part with any meat to it was the battle against Hal and that was all too brief. Stay away from this film and all of its animal violence. You would have more fun watching paint dry or taking a nap. The only slight positive would be the main characters, but that’s really not enough to save such a long film. This film may be known as a classic, but I’ll just know it as the film that was more tedious than Lord of the Rings. Watch the latest Star Trek film if you want a good spaceship film.

Overall 1/10