New Planet of the Apes Movie

Just returned from watching Planet of the Apes, and I was disappointed at being left hanging with a blatant segue-to-sequel ending, without sufficient background to explain why, if Earth has suddenly been overrun by apes, their civilization’s monuments so closely resemble our own. And it’ll take a rather large leap of plot logic to get General Thade to historical Earth from the future of the Ape Planet. I must say, from Star Trek: Generations, to Lost in Space, to Tomb Raider, to Planet of the Apes, time travel has become a much-abused plot device.

Speaking of time-travel, why is it that, after twice seeing the time-vortex send humans and chimps far into the future, Mark Wahlberg’s character so readily assumes that his next trip through it will send him into the past? And after arriving in the past, how does he get to Earth so quickly? Do little pods like that have warp-drive in 2029? Will we even have little space pods, space stations, and genetically engineered chimps by 2029? Somehow I doubt it.

Funny, how an astronaut who says, “Never trust a chimp to do a man’s job,” manages to botch up two planetary landings after emerging from a time vortex; while the chimp, after emerging from said vortex, executes a flawless landing in the middle of a huge human-ape battle.

I also find it unbelievable that enslaved humans — who are intelligent enough to speak English, learn to ride horses, and swim better than apes — still haven’t mustered up the intelligence to launch an organized revolt? (Well, to the movie’s credit, humans don’t seem to have discovered fire yet; none of the tribals carry torches.)

And whenever we heard the male apes talk, why were Tiff and I constantly reminded of Klingons?

Still, all things considered, it was at least worth seeing Charlton Heston’s cameo, where he gets to repeat his classic line from the 1968 movie — only with a pronoun changed. And that inter-species kiss, though brief, is sweet and classic. Helena Bonham Carter’s talent shines right through the ape makeup — which, by the way, is as superb to this 2001 movie as the old makeup was to the original 1968 film. Writing notes with opposable toes is also very cool.

All in all, Ebert echoes my feelings: “Ten years from now, it will be the 1968 version that people are still renting.

Update: Hee hee, did I sound too harsh, Ching? Don’t worry, I’m usually cynical about most movies — even the ones I like! I did enjoy myself, despite my heartless nitpicking. And speaking of nitpicking… ;)