Tim Burton is really a genius, whether you like his version of the Planet Of The Apes or not. The one signature Burton thing is his beautiful looking films. He creates whole worlds that we’ve never quite seen before and breathes life into them. On that note, this ape movie isn’t much different. But will it find the cult following like those of Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands?
Well, Burton has had mega hits that don’t immediately make you think of him like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Batman, although Batman took on his dark mystique. Planet Of The Apes has its moments, including Burton’s sordid humor, but the movie looks epic above and beyond. The makeup is especially noteworthy. When have we seen such amazing makeup where emotions shine through? You can read the artists’ thoughts without them saying a word. Helena Bonham Carter is by far the most remarkable figure behind the makeup. Kudos to her for bringing what is nothing more than a mask to life.
I have a theory that Burton is best when it comes to setting a stage and then crashing that stage all around at the end. However, the middle of his films often lag. It’s as if Burton can’t wait to get that out of the way so he can get to the part where he blows something up, emotionally or physically.
Mark Wahlberg does his job well, but he’s no Charlton Heston. All the effects and good-looking monkey costumes can’t really make up for the lack of human feelings throughout. In the original film, not only did you feel for Heston and pull for him to make it out, but you also felt that the movie was talking about larger issues. If you don’t know, the original film took on racism. It had large issues to squash, yet the new film doesn’t take this message on. It seems like it’s above it, yet it’s not.
Without taking on the world, without worrying about the message, without being anything more than a good-looking film, Planet Of The Apes does entertain. Burton knows how to give you bang for your buck, but I think we just expect so much more from him with each and every film that maybe we need to step back and just let him win us over with each individual project. If we hold him to his past, he may never live up to it. Planet isn’t just monkey business as many say; it’s a wonderful fantasy.
+ charlie craine