Everyone hates a remake. At least when some hack decides to remake a bonified classic. Fortunately, Tim Burton is no hack and for perhaps the first time in history, someone has managed to "re-en vision" a classic film without leaving an oily, grimy taste in moviegoers mouths.
Planet of the Apes stars Mark Wahlberg as Capt. Leo Davidson of the US Air force, lost in space and time, stranded on a strange planet where Apes have become the dominant life form and humans their slaves. The original Planet of the Apes, since hallowed as a classic of the sci-fi genre, starred Charlton Heston in a similar setting.
But, true to his word, Burton has not created a remake. His claims of creating a "re-en visioning" were not just half-assed monkey malarkey. This new Apes vision takes the bare bones of that original vision, and creates something entirely new. Yet it does so without offense to those that came before, taking care to pay homage to its predecessor, while at the same time diverging off onto its own new pathways.
True, Mark Wahlberg is no Charlton Heston. Politics or no, Heston was in his time, one of the "Gods" of the silver screen. His Planet of the Apes performance shall forever be hallowed as one of the great movie moments of our time and is certainly in no danger of being eclipsed by the occasionally awkward efforts of young Mark Wahlberg. Adequacy is the key word here, but fortunately for him, little more is required in this directorial tour de force.
The screen belongs to Burton, as it always does, whenever he steps behind the camera. He molds the story with an eye towards the unbelievable, and a love of rich colors and characters. Burton has managed not only to successfully re-en vision one of the greatest Science Fiction films of all time, but to create something entirely new as well.
Apes is more than just good fun summer fare, its an homage to great Sci-fi of the past, and perhaps a window into Sci-fi future. On every level, Burton has presented us a wonderful film. Whether looking for mindless summer fun, or intriguing brain teasers that keep you rehashing scenes with your friends, Planet of the Apes fits the bill.
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