***SPOLIERS*** Okay, I don’t usually reveal any major plot points in my movie rants, but this one deserves to be ripped apart from the ground up. First off, let me say that I love Tim Burton. His creepy, dark loner movies are some of my favorites. This was hardly a Tim Burton movie, and was therefore extremely disappointing from the get-go. I’m going to ignore some of the smaller plot problems and just concentrate on the stuff that makes no sense.
First off, on the spaceship before they crash, the only kind of monkeys we see are chimps. On the planet of the apes, what do have? We have chimps, orangutans and f’ing gorillas. Are you trying to tell me that there were gorillas somewhere hidden on that ship? Not buying it. Second: where the hell did the horses come from? Where there also horses hidden on that ship? God knows horses are helpful to space exploration. Third, and lastly (for the purposes of this rant) what the hell was with the end of the movie? I’ve heard theories that General Thade somehow got out of the ship, rebuilt it and flew back to the beginning of time with the help of the computer that had every recorded historical event in its memory banks. Problem number 1: how did Thade get out of the ship? Second problem: the apes had no knowledge of how to build ships, and even if they did, the ship was beyond repair and all the fuel cells were used up after Mark Wahlberg blasted the monkey army with the engines. Third: people claim that the apes learned the history of the planet by watching the broadcasts on the computer — presumably going back before the time of Abraham Lincoln — to change American history. Um, let’s remember that there were no broadcasts before the invention of television. So much for the apes learning American history (or world history for that matter) by watching the old broadcasts. I’m not even going to mention the issue of the apes not knowing how to fly a ship, where Earth is, not being able to control where in space/time they’d come out, and the myriad other issues that go along with this…
The worst part is that I enjoy a nice space/time continuum movie as much as the next guy, but the shite should make sense. I thought myself into circles after watching Back to the Future, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and especially 12 Monkeys, but at least these had a plot line that worked if you thought about it hard enough. This movie is a disaster, and that should have been evident when editing wasn’t finished something like two weeks before the movie was to come out.
Now, back to the lack of Tim Burton in this movie. I wanted dark. I wanted eerie. I wanted mysterious. I got bright, goofy and obvious. The only thing in the entire movie that was telltale Burton were the creepy human scarecrows perched on the hills before the group headed out to find the ship. They were probably right out of his sketchbook (like the wonderful Edward Scissorhands). Otherwise, the directing in this was a bit of a hatchet job. The sets looked fake and silly and the mood anything but ominous. The lightness not only of the filming but of the script made it feel more like a parody than a “re-telling.” “Take your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty human!” Ha-ha, I get it, you switched it around. Then having Monkey Heston utter his famous line, “Damn them… damn them all to hell!” It’s almost as predictable as a Three’s Company episode. Ugh.
Then the script heavy-handedly interjects the whole slave connection as if the audience wasn’t bright enough to get the connection. One human prisoner accuses another of being a “house-human.” Wow, that’s really deep. Don’t even get me started on Helena Bonham Carter’s unmonkey monkey. Let’s see, Estella Warren or a skinny English chick in a bad monkey mask? Please. I’m still having a hard time digesting how awful the script was for this movie. It’s as if Hollywood hasn’t figured out how to mix special effects with good writing. You’d figure when the studio is spending all this money on hundreds of extras, explosions, fake worlds, etc., they’d at least want to shell out the extra couple thousand for a decent scriptwriter. We should have known the dialogue would be no good when they hired a guy who’s last movie has not a single dialogue for two hours of the film (Cast Away). The funniest part is that two of the other screenwriters wrote another awful monkey movie, Mighty Joe Young, and a remake of an atrocious old sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies. Let’s just hope that Burton doesn’t let someone else dictate his directing style the next time out.