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[Short Reviews]


Anyone expecting director Tim Burton’s trademark visionary otherworldliness will be disappointed by the standard action fare of this big-budget remake. Not that Ape-aholics will care. What they’ll want to know is:

(1) How are the monkey suits? Very convincing and individualized, thanks to make-up ace Rick Baker. (So convincing that when Helena Bonham Carter, as a sympathetic chimp, gets misty, you can see the snot in her simian nostrils.) The characters also behave more like apes than those in the 1968 film and its sequels — they sniff, screech, stoop, and swing from tree limbs.

(2) How hammy is the acting? Not bananas enough — you really need a Charlton Heston for a movie as satirical as this (he does appear in a cameo twist on his 1968 starring role). Mark Wahlberg’s astronaut hero is far too restrained, and though he and Bonham Carter do send a lot of smoldering interspecies glances each other’s way, but the production’s rumored monkey business never takes place. Only Tim Roth, as tyrannical chimp General Thade, gives his primate teeth a scenery-chewing workout.

(3) How ’bout that surprise ending? It’s a lot more ridiculous and nonsensical than the original movie’s monumental moment. Guess they had to leave room for a sequel, but in terms of plot logic, there’s a lot of missing linkin’.

By Gary Susman

Issue Date: July 26- Aug 2, 2001