A few months ago I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes with a couple of friends. It was entertaining, I think due mostly to Andy Serkis’ excellent motion capture performance (if he’s not careful, we might never see his face again on screen!). Never having seen the original Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston, I decided to check it out. It too was entertaining and I now feel that I can fully appreciate the end of Spaceballs. (If you haven’t see Spaceballs yet, you need to do that tonight.)
So the other day, I found that we have the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes at the library. I knew enough about it that it had Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter in it and was directed by Tim Burton. For me, these were points in its’ favor. Unfortunately the movie did not live up to my expectations.
In fact, the movie was awful. The Charlton Heston version was at least trying to say something. Burton’s version was nothing more than a mindless action remake. The makeup was a bit more realistic looking, although oddly enough I had a much harder time understanding the actors. The story was fundamentally changed too. The big kick at the end of the original was discovering that what we thought was another planet was actually Earth in the future. Scary, right? Well in Burton’s version, who knows where we are. Wahlberg’s character has gone through an electrical storm in space and crash lands on the ape planet.
I could have accepted all that though and appreciated the movie as the mindless entertainment it is if it hadn’t been for the ending. (Um spoiler warning here I guess, although it’s hardly worth it.) Mark Wahlberg gets the opportunity to travel back through the electrical storm, which he does, and heads straight for Earth. He somehow manages to land right in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. which turns out to actually be a memorial to the evil ape General Wahlberg thought he had just defeated before leaving the ape planet (surprise!). The movie ends with Wahlberg being surround by police and firetrucks all driven by apes. WHAT. I have no idea what that means. Is he back on Earth? Earth in the future? Or is he back on the ape planet? It was such a frustrating and nonsensical ending that I felt like throwing something through the TV.