Tim Burton is an odd fellow who makes peculiar films. We all know this. Burton does not make everyday movies. He’s a creative fellow, I don’t argue that, but Tim Burton makes one kind of film and one kind of film only: a Tim Burton film. When Burton doesn’t have a strong hand in the creative process, the story goes down the tubes and that’s what you see here. A film that was begging for a serious undertone, the producers for this Planet of the Apes remake picked this guy as the director. I’m sorry but does he look like a serious fellow to you?
There’s only one correct answer here: no, plain and simple. Now, he’s behind the camera so he doesn’t have to look serious, I know that, but the guy’s work says, “Why so serious?” all over it and not with the Joker saying it. It has a mysterious, puzzling touch and that’s just what Burton’s good at. There’s nothing wrong with that, but this is not the guy you want to direct a Star Trek film, a Die Hard film or any action film that you want audiences to watch with a straight face.
That’s one of the biggest blunders of this film and the sad thing is that it happened before the film even started. This film wasn’t asking for a creative mastermind like Burton. It was asking for someone who knew how to direct some action sequences and how to make a story flow with some originality but not be overly complicated or utterly boring. Something in the middle of the road would do. Instead we get Burton and an extreme option: unnecessarily complicated AND utterly boring.
Adding insult to injury, Mark Wahlberg was brought in for our lead role. As I’ve mentioned countless times, Wahlberg is low on my acting totem pole. However, I don’t think it would have mattered who they got to play the role of Captain Leo Davidson. There’s no character development and the characters are so poorly written. What should have been an all-star cast of Tim Roth, Michael Clarke Duncan and the Burton must-have Helena Bonham Carter ends up to be a list of wasted talent. Pondering with how to make useless characters useful, our trio gives it the old college try but can’t cover the amount of mistakes in this script with any of the weapons in their arsenal. It’s an impossible task and part of me feels like they all knew their efforts were feeble compared to the size of the problem. The characters are trite and succeed only at leaving grins of pathetic sympathy on the faces of its viewers. Tim Roth’s General Slade, our antagonist, is especially dreadful, with grunts and shrieks being his most meaningful lines of dialogue. No development at all.
Character development should not even be a topic in this review. It shouldn’t play a major role in my enjoyment of the film either, but it does because there’s nothing else to look at. It’s a barren landscape with only one moving figure. The environment is devoid of life and has no attention-grabbing elements aside from this moving figure. This moving figure is our film and this moving figure has the physical capability of a snail. Drooling across the sands in front of me, I’m thinking about almost anything but this visual bewilderment. I’m thinking about why they made this, why they made the decisions they made in the production of this film, why no one could foresee the disjointed material in front of their own eyes.
Our human role players have blank grimaces on their faces the whole movie and act like cavemen rather than futuristic homo-sapiens. They look totally clueless and oblivious and I don’t know why this is the case. They should have a basic idea of what is going on, some comprehension, something. Estella Warren’s mouth-breathing face is chiefly mind-numbing and of no benefit to this film or anything else.
The action is incredibly disappointing and displays special effects and green screen of the lowest platitude. Wahlberg is thrown twenty feet in the air by a swing of ONE arm more than once but gets up with no injuries and that’s not even mentioning the fact that such a thing is physically impossible.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the Sun, Edge of Tomorrow, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Young Guns, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Starving Games, You’re Next, Thor, Full Metal Jacket, Alien Resurrection)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Billy Madison, A Haunted House, 300: Rise of an Empire, Cowboys and Aliens, Serendipity)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Stonados, Redemption, Pride and Prejudice, The Contract)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (A Haunted House 2, Open Grave, Alien 3, Dark Fury, Midnight Cowboy)
My score for Planet of the Apes: 36.
A predetermined fate that should have drawn audiences away from the get-go, Burton’s Planet of the Apes is lackluster in so many ways that it’s not hard to see why so many people were disgusted with this film and why so many are excited for the reboot because it’ll be hard to get much worse than this.