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Planet of the Apes (**)
Directed by Tim Burton
William Broyles Jr., Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal (based loosely on the novel by Pierre Boulle)
Principal Cast
Mark Wahlberg -- Leo Davidson
Tim Roth -- General Thade
Helena Bonham Carter -- Ari
Michael Clarke Duncan -- Attar
Kris Kristofferson -- Karubi
Estella Warren -- Daena
Paul Giamatti -- Limbo
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa -- Krull
Erick Avari -- Tival
Luke Eberl -- Birn
Evan Dexter Parke -- Gunnar
Freda Foh Shen -- Bon
David Warner -- Senator Sandar
Glenn Shadix -- Senator Nado
Lisa Marie -- Nova
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Planet of the Apes Numbskull! Idiot! Nincompoop!

It makes me angry that Tim Burton assembled so much talent in the form of costumers, set designers, and choreographers and blew it all away on a deeply, deeply stupid script. William Broyles Jr. is a good writer -- he wrote Apollo 13 -- but Mark Rosenthal has written a dozen bad movies, including The Beverly Hillbillies and Superman IV. Why would anyone allow him to write again?

My reaction to just the first few minutes of Planet of the Apes:
Astronauts do not steal spaceships. If they did, they would be court-martialled and never fly again.
Any physical process that would make clocks fast-forward would also cause the astronaut to age rapidly.
Probes designed for deep space would burn up in a planetary atmosphere.
Nobody could survive the crash we see in the film. If you think they could, try driving your car into a tree at, say, fifteen mph, and then tell me about the experience.
A space capsule full of air would float, not sink. (Battleships float!)

I could go on at the rate of one really stupid thing per minute throughout the rest of the movie, but I'll spare you.

Even if you don't mind a stupid plot, the characters are equally hopeless. The hero is so dumb he thinks the best way to sneak through an enemy camp is to make himself as conspicuous as possible knocking things over and setting things on fire. The girl is so dumb she falls in love with the dumb hero at first sight. The boy is so dumb he tries to ride a horse, when he has never ridden a horse before in his life. (Don't ask where horses came from, or how they can carry an 800 pound gorilla on their back.) And the only black guy among the humans is so dumb he doesn't know that the black guy always gets killed.

The Charlton Heston cameo is cool, as is the visual quote from 2001 - A Space Odyssey right after the villain pointlessly kills his two most loyal henchmen. The apes are marvellous -- not only the costumes -- their movements are magical. And the design of the ape city is brilliant. But when anyone opens his mouth, dialogue come out that sounds as if had been written for Cheeta.

Bad Tim Burton! Bad, bad director!

I never thought I would say this, but bring a cell phone to this movie, so you'll have something to do during the long boring parts.

Copyright © 2001 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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