Planet of the Apes (2001)

planet of the apes poster 2001 movie tim burton
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Some decent ape effects

Bad sets, bad script, poor acting

Movie Info

Movie Name: Planet of the Apes

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Genre(s): Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): July 27, 2001

MPAA Rating: PG-13


Admit it human…This movie is a big disappointment!

Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) pursues a trained chimpanzee named Pericles into an electric storm in space and finds himself transported to a strange world ruled by apes. While trying to get back to his ship, Wahlberg encounters others humans led by Karubi (Kris Kristofferson). When Leo, Karubi, and his daughter Daena (Estella Warren) are captured by Limbo (Paul Giamatti) and his slavers, Leo and Daena are sold to a human sympathizer named Ari (Helena Bohnam Carter). Leo stages an escape to find his ship and is forced to take Daena, Ari, Limbo, and her servant General Krull (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) with him to escape General Thad (Tim Roth) and his lackey Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan). What Leo finds in the wasteland will change how humans and apes view each other forever.

Directed by Tim Burton, Planet of the Apes revisits Pierre Boulle’s original novel. It was met with harsh criticism from viewers and critics and contains one of the most confusing endings of all time.

I love Tim Burton and I love Planet of the Apes, but this movie just doesn’t work. The sets look like sets (and sets is one of the best thing Tim Burton does) and they all have a very claustrophobic feel when it is supposed to be a big open world. The script is messy and the acting is also all over the place.


I’ve got a secret…The apes are planning to overthrow Burton!

Planet of the Apes tried to change the original movie by almost advancing the story. Humans are no longer considered unable to learn, but untrustworthy and savage. This feels like it is trying to mirror issues that have marred race relations for years. The humans in the new Planet of the Apes can talk and have a culture but aren’t considered equal to the apes. This change might modernize the story a bit, but it also takes away from the uniqueness of Leo. The idea of religion and evolution really doesn’t come up much, and that was the fun of the original.

The next problem with the movie is the ending. ****Spoiler Alert**** When Leo returns to Earth he finds it transformed into a world ruled by Thad. The idea that it is same world can be eliminated since the Ape world had multiple moons. There was meant to be a sequel to Planet of the Apes, and I assume they would have explained it, but there are many theories on what happened.


To ape or not to ape…that is the question!

The best one I have seen involves how the warp hole transports Mark Walhberg to the planet of the apes. When Pericles enters the warp first, he is the last one spit out, Leo entered second and came out second, and his ship the Oberon entered last, but came out first…thousands of years before Leo. If the wormhole works like this Leo could have entered the wormhole to return to Earth, and Thad (who is still alive) could have entered the wormhole after him…arriving on Earth thousands of years before Leo, hence Earth’s transformation into a planet ruled by apes. (I have to admit, this isn’t my theory…saw it and believed it was a good assumption). This still is stupid in the fact that it isn’t a parallel world scenario as much as a altered history…and apparently history altered so the apes constructed a world with matching cities and monuments.

With the ending and the fact that the movie is kind of boring, this is my least favorite of all the Planet of the Apes films. I know that the last two movies of the original series were kind of weak, but the fact that good people were tied to this film and it turned out poorly makes it even worse. An interesting note is an uncredited appearance by Charlton Heston (in one of his last films) as Zaius and an appearance by Linda Harrison to tie it back to the original films. Fortunately, this Planet of the Apes was shelved and the superior Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released in 2011 to relaunch the series again.

Related Links:

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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