I am going to be perfectly honest with you folks. I have never seen today’s movie in it’s entirety. That being said, this movie used to play on FX so many times that it feels like I have. Now I honestly had no intention of buying this movie for the longest time. The only reason I did was because I tend to be a completionist with some things, primarily movie franchises. So yeh, I bought it and now I will finally be able to watch today’s movie in it’s entirety. So here is today’s movie, Planet Of The Apes (2001).
The plot: In the year 2029, Leo Davidson works on training primates for space flight onboard the USAF Space Station Oberon, which is in orbit around Saturn. After finishing a training mission with his favorite chimpanzee named Pericles, Leo goes to watch a video he received when the stations power starts flickering. When the power stabilizes, Leo heads to the bridge and is told there is a massive electro-magnetic storm nearby. Despite Leo’s objections, the station commander wants to send Pericles out to get some readings of the storm so Leo gets him ready in the pod. When Pericles’ pod goes off course and they lose contact with it, Leo gets in a second pod to see what might have gone wrong. When the commander says they won’t send a rescue for Pericles, Leo defies orders and heads out after him. Leo catches sight of the pod Pericles is in but it suddenly disappears through a strange rift and as Leo gets sucked through a rift himself, the Oberon receives a strange S.O.S. signal. Leo crash lands in a pond in the middle of a jungle and quickly swims free from the wreckage. As he looks around, he is surprised to see some people running through the jungle but as he realizes they are being chased, he starts running too. The people start getting attacked by armor-wearing apes, with Leo being struck by a gorilla at one point but he still keeps running until he is eventually captured. Leo is taken to the ape’s city and, along with the other captured humans, is placed into a slave pen owned by an orangutan named Limbo. General Thade, a violent chimpanzee that leads the ape army, along with a gorilla, Colonel Attar, show up so that Thade can buy a pet human for his niece, Attar warns Limbo to watch out for Leo. As Limbo starts branding the humans, a female chimpanzee named Ari shows up to stop them, throwing the branding iron to the floor. Leo grabs it and uses it to hold Ari hostage but he whispers to her to help him so she offers to buy him, as well as a female human named Daena. Ari takes the two humans to her house, where she has them work as servants while her father hosts a political dinner, which Thade and Attar attend. That night, Leo picks the lock on his cage and escapes with Daena and another human. Meanwhile, two gorilla soldiers take Thade out into the jungle, telling him of something falling from the sky and show him the path of the falling object. When Thade asks if they told anyone about it and they say no, Thade kills them both. Back in Ape city, Leo and the others head back to Limbo’s shop and free Daena’s family and some other humans and they all try to escape, grabbing the little girl back from Thade’s niece along the way. When Ari and her butler, Krull, run into them, Leo convinces her to help them out of the city in exchange for showing her something. Ari agrees and takes them to a tunnel that leads out of the city but when Attar spots them, Daena’s father sacrifices himself to allow them to escape and ends up being killed by Thade. Daena leads Leo and the others to the lake where his ship crashed and Leo dives into the water to retrieve his supply pack. Inside he finds a signal beacon which indicates that the Oberon is on the planet and Leo plans on meeting up with them and leaving the planet. As he and the others start to head out, Limbo and two of his men show up to recapture the humans but Leo uses a laser gun from his pack to scare off the guards and captures Limbo. Back in Ape City, Thade is given authority to kill the humans and he starts to organize his troops when he is summoned to his dying father’s bed. When he is there, his father gets Thade to admit that Leo is not from this planet and so he tells him that humans once ruled over apes and that if one human comes from the stars, more will follow, revealing an old machine gun that was hidden as proof of the danger humans possess. Back in the jungle, Leo and the others see some scarecrow like figures and Ari explains that beyond there is Calima, a holy site that is supposedly where creation started. Continuing on, they find an ape encampment, where Attar has arrived and taken command, and Leo decides to sneak through it at night and cross the river, using the apes’ fear of water against them. That night, Leo uses a flare to distract the apes and his group steals their horses and ride towards the river but Leo and Ari are thrown from their horses and Leo is forced to carry Ari across the river. Continuing on, they come across some ruins but no sign of Leo’s friends until Leo realizes the ruins are the Oberon and Calima is merely what was visible from a sign saying “Caution: Live Animals”. Leo is able to access the station’s logs and learns that the Oberon was searching for Leo when they crashed and the rest of the test apes, led by an ape named Semos, revolted against the crew and killed them. The next day, Leo discovers that more humans from all over have shown up to be with him and he tries to get them to leave, knowing Thade and his troops will soon be there but they refuse to leave. Ari and Krull go to see Thade and try to get him to leave the humans alone but Thade marks Ari with the human’s slave brand and sends her back to the humans. Back at the Oberon, Leo notices Ari’s hand when she returns, then comes up with a plan to help fight Thade’s army. The next day, Leo lures Thade’s army towards the ship then uses the last of the fuel to start the engines, causing the approaching soldiers to be burned or tossed when they ignite. Leo then leads the humans to attack the stunned apes and the battle begins. During the course of the battle, Krull is killed by Attar while Ari helps save Daena, who sees the mark on Ari’s hand. Thade goes after Leo and attempts to kill him but stops, as does the rest of the fighting, when a sonic boom is heard and a ship lands nearby. When the cockpit opens, Pericles is seen inside and the apes all drop to their knees, believing it to be Semos returned from the sky. Leo goes to Pericles and walks with him towards Oberon when Pericles runs off and Leo goes to follow but Thade attacks him. Ari goes to help Leo but Thade knocks her aside and continues attacking Leo inside the ship. When Pericles tries to help, Thade tosses him into a wall but it allows Leo to grab the gun from the survival kit he grabbed from Pericles’ ship. Leo tries to shoot Thade but Thade is able to knock him down and grab the gun but as he figures out how to use it, Leo manages to lock him in the pilot’s chamber, where the bullet’s ricochet off of the glass and walls. As Ari, Daena, and Attar enter, Leo explains to Attar that the apes came to the planet from this ship and Semos killed all the humans, causing Attar to turn on Thade. As the dead are buried, Leo grabs an injured Pericles and gives him to Ari to tend to, then gets into the ship and takes off, hoping he is able to return back to his time. After passing through the portal, he appears to be headed for Earth and crash lands in Washington DC but as he looks around, he realizes the Lincoln Monument is actually a monument to Thade, as police, firemen, and reporters show up, all of them apes.
Planet Of The Apes (2001) met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “This remake of Planet of the Apes can’t compare to the original in some critics’ mind, but the striking visuals and B-movie charms may win you over.” In 1988, a continuation of the Planet Of The Apes franchise was pitched but it would wind up spending 12 years bouncing between studios, directors, and producers before Tim Burton finally got attached to it. The movie was a success at the box office, earning $362.2 million off of a $100 million.
This was an interesting movie, I will say that. The acting was good, with Mark Wahlberg (Leo), Tim Roth (Thade), Helena Bonham Carter (Ari) all doing great jobs in their respective roles. The story was an interesting mix of aspects from the original movie as well as the original novel that it was based on. I know plenty of people were confused by the ending but that was almost exactly how the original novel ended. I think most people figured this would be exactly like the original movie, which is why so many people didn’t like it. The special effects were really good, especially the make-up, and actually did a good job of making the apes appear more human like in their facial appearance, which would make sense since the apes in Oberon had been gene spliced with human DNA. It is not the best movie in the franchise, but it is definitely not as bad as some people make it out to be.
Rating: 3 out of 5