6 August 2017

Boning Up: Planet Of The Apes (2001)

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What's the story?

Mark Wahlberg plays a spaceman that flies his mini-rocket into some swirly space-bullshit in order to rescue his pet monkey. He crash lands on a planet that's ruled by apes and yet literally nothing interesting happens for two whole fucking hours. The apes turn him into a slave.. he decides he doesn't like being a slave and so escapes to find his spaceman friends who he thinks have come to rescue him. Based on his complete lack of personality, I'm not sure why they'd bother. He is given help in his journey by Helena Bonham Carter who has clearly undergone hours of monkey make-up in order to look exactly like Helena Bonham Carter with a tail. Eventually Wahlberg decides to go home. We all wish we'd not stayed in our own homes to watch this piece of crap on DVD. As he arrives back on Earth it turns out that his home planet is now run by monkeys too. He thinks, “What the fuck”... as do we.

What's the subtext?

There's some very minor hints towards racism, although I think that's just something that's built into the concept of Planet Of The Apes rather than something that we should credit this film for highlighting. The apes treat humans as slaves with one human-friendly monkey saying words to the effect of “It's disgusting the way we treat humans. It demeans us as much as them”. So just in case you didn't think treating minorities is bad, well, this film points out that you're also treating yourself badly too. I'm sure all of the beaten, tortured, and murdered slaves throughout history would completely agree that their rich owners where equally as demeaned as they were.

The only other subtext I could find in this was a bizarre kind of pro-bestiality attitude that it seemed to be propagating. Wahlberg's character seems pretty interested in Bonham Carter's ape with her seeming even more into him in return. I know that the very first two Planet Of The Apes films had some man-on-ape kissing but that was a kind of gratitude thing. Here we get two full hours of the two giving each other 'fuck-me eyes' whilst trying to hold their monkey-nuts steady.

What's the best bit of the film?

I honestly don't know.. maybe the closing credits because the shitty movie is finally over. Or perhaps the opening credits because you're still at a point in which you don't realise how shit the film is about to be. I mean, realistically, perhaps the only bit of the film that excels and makes it even worth considering a watch are the make-up effects by Rick Baker. Not only are they insanely good but they allow most of the actors to hide their real identities. Is it really Tim Roth in this film? Or perhaps just an acting enemy that's trying to taint Mr. Orange's career by framing him in this. I guess we'll never know!

What's the worst bit of the film?

When looking at a pile of shit it's always hard to decide which the shittiest part actually is. However in the case of this film I suppose the crappiest, most 'what the fuck' part has got to be its final scene. Wahlberg arrives back on Earth from wherever the fuck his monkey planet was only to discover that all of the humans have been turned onto apes. Or replaced by them. Or whatever the fuck we're meant to understand has happened. Either way, it reminded me of the ending to the original Planet Of The Apes but only because I was mentally screaming, “Ah damn you. Damn you all to Hell!”

What's the best line?

There isn't one, but when the text “Directed By Tim Burton” appears on screen, I remember feeling some joy that at least it was now all over. So.. that.. I guess.

Is it actually worth a watch?

No. It's completely shit. It's not so shit that it becomes funny either. Just in that shitty sweet spot of too shit too watch but not so shit that it becomes good. Nor is it connected to the previous films or any subsequent films. It's the unwanted sibling of Planet Of The Apes films. Lock it in the attic. Pretend it doesn't exist. Feed it fish heads in a fucking bucket when you have to.