Tim Burton visits the ‘Planet of the Apes’ on Hulu

Tim Burton goes ape in Planet of the Apes (2001), his remake of the 1968 cult classic.

In this version Mark Wahlberg is the American astronaut sucked through a spatial distortion and spit out on a planet where apes rule and humans drool. Helena Bonham Carter (under plenty of fur) is the human-rights activist who helps them escape the tyranny of her people, and feels just a little jungle love for hunky human rebel Wahlberg.

Burton’s strength, of course, is his imagination and his imagery. These apes rock and rule, but their gymnastic antics don’t cover-up a thin script and a plot that feels thrown together, and the so-called twist ending feels more like a bad joke someone in production took way too seriously.

Tim Roth is downright feral as a scheming General, Michael Clarke Duncan towers over everyone as the loyal Lieutenant, Paul Giamatti cracks jokes as a cowardly slave trader, Estella Warren is the supermodel slave in animal skins, and Charlton Heston makes a marvelous cameo where he gets to parody one of his own most famous lines from the original.

Ostensibly based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, this version is more Burton than Boulle and is scripted by William Broyles Jr. and Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal. Burton regular Danny Elfman provides the score.

Rated PG-13

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Planet of the Apes (2001) [Blu-ray]
Planet of the Apes (2001) [DVD]

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On Blu-ray and DVD. The two-disc set features commentary by composer Danny Elfman, an “enhanced viewing mode” supplement with behind the scenes footage of make-up, special effects, cast/crew, and location shooting details, seven featurettes, plus extended scenes, interactive multi-angle sequences, and other supplements.


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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