Planet of the Apes (2001 film)
|Planet of the Apes|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tim Burton|
|Produced by||Richard D. Zanuck
|Screenplay by||William Broyles, Jr.
|Based on||Planet of the Apes
by Pierre Boulle
Helena Bonham Carter
Michael Clarke Duncan
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Editing by||Chris Lebenzon
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||119 minutes|
Planet of the Apes is a 2001 American science fiction film, based on Pierre Boulle's novel and a loose remake of the 1968 film of the same name. Tim Burton directed the film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, and Estella Warren. It tells the story of astronaut Leo Davidson crash-landing on a planet inhabited by intelligent apes. The apes treat humans as slaves, but with the help of an ape named Ari, Leo starts a rebellion.
Development for a Planet of the Apes remake started as far back as 1988 with Adam Rifkin. His project nearly reached the pre-production stage before being cancelled. Terry Hayes's script, titled Return of the Apes, would have starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, under the direction of Phillip Noyce. Oliver Stone, Don Murphy, and Jane Hamsher were set to produce. Creative differences ensued between Hayes and financier/distributor 20th Century Fox. Chris Columbus, Sam Hamm, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, and the Hughes brothers later became involved.
With William Broyles, Jr.'s script, Tim Burton was hired as director, and the film was put into active development. Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal rewrote the script, and filming took place from November 2000 to April 2001. Planet of the Apes was released to mixed reviews, but was a financial success. Much criticism focused on the confusing plot and ending, although Rick Baker's prosthetic makeup designs were praised. Despite the film's financial success, Fox chose not to produce a sequel, and instead rebooted the Apes franchise altogether in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
In 2029, aboard the United States Air Force space station Oberon, Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) works closely with primates who are trained for space missions. His favorite simian co-worker is a chimpanzee named Pericles. With a deadly electromagnetic storm approaching the station, a small space pod piloted by Pericles is used to probe the storm. Pericles's pod heads into the storm and disappears. Against his commanding officer's orders, Leo takes a second pod and goes in pursuit of Pericles. Entering the storm, Leo loses contact with the Oberon and crashes on a planet called Ashlar in the year 5021. He discovers that the world is ruled by humanoid apes who can speak human language and treat human beings as slaves.
Leo comes across a female chimpanzee named Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), who protests the awful treatment humans receive. Ari decides to buy Leo and a female slave named Daena (Estella Warren) to have them work as servants in the house of her father, Senator Sandar (David Warner). Leo escapes his cage and frees other humans. Ari sees them, but Leo manages to convince Ari to join a human rebellion against the apes. General Thade (Tim Roth) and Colonel Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan) march ape warriors in pursuit of the humans. Leo discovers Calima (the temple of "Semos"), a forbidden, but holy, site for the apes.
Calima turns out to be the remains of the Oberon, Leo's space station, which has crashed on the planet's surface and looks ancient (the name Calima coming from the sign "CAution LIve aniMAls", the relevant letters being the only ones not covered in dust). According to the computer logs, the station has been there for thousands of years. Leo deduces that when he entered the vortex he was pushed forward in time, while the Oberon, searching after him, was not, crashing on the planet long before he did.
The Oberon's log reveals that the apes on board, led by Semos, organized a mutiny and took control of the vessel after it crashed. The human and ape survivors of the struggle left the ship and their descendants are the people Leo has encountered since landing. In the present, a battle ensues between the humans and the apes. A familiar vehicle descends from the sky and is identified immediately by Leo as the pod piloted by Pericles, the chimp astronaut. Pericles was pushed forward in time as Leo was, and had just now found his way to the planet. When Pericles lands, the apes interpret his landing as the return arrival of Semos, the first ape, who is their god. They bow, and hostilities between humans and apes disappear.
Pericles then runs into the Oberon and Leo runs after him, followed by General Thade. Inside, Thade and Leo wrestle, with Pericles trying to help Leo, only to be thrown hard against a wall. Thade gets hold of Leo's gun, trying to figure out how to discharge the gun and appears to want to shoot Leo. Seeing that Thade is in the pilot's deck, Leo closes the automatic door of the entrance, trapping Thade as he shoots the gun, the bullets ricocheting off harmlessly. Leo decides it is time for him to leave the Planet of the Apes, so he gives Pericles to Ari, with her promising to look after him, also saying farewell to Daena. Leo climbs aboard Pericles's undamaged pod and uses it to travel back in time through the same electromagnetic storm. Leo crashes in Washington, D.C. on Earth in his own time. He looks up to see the Lincoln Memorial is now a monument in honor of General Thade. A swarm of police officers, firefighters, and news reporters descend on Leo, but on closer inspection, they are all apes.
- Mark Wahlberg as Capt. Leo Davidson
A United States Air Force astronaut who accidentally opens a portal to another world inhabited by talking human-like apes. Leo leads a rebellion as leader of the humans. Wahlberg dropped out of Ocean's Eleven in favor of Planet of the Apes. Matt Damon was eventually cast in his role. Other actors who were in contention for Leo Davidson wanted to see the script before signing a contract. Wahlberg signed on after a five-minute meeting with Burton. Due to his past association modeling underwear, Wahlberg did not want to wear a loincloth, which Heston wore in the original film.
- Tim Roth as General Thade
A sadistic chimpanzee military commander who wants control over the ape civilization. Thade also intends to marry Ari, but she dismisses him. Roth turned down the role of Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone because of his commitment to Planet of the Apes. Alan Rickman was eventually cast as Snape. Roth rewrote some scenes to give his character a more frightening presence.
- Helena Bonham Carter as Ari
A female chimpanzee who protests the way humans are treated. She helps Leo lead the rebellion, and also forms a romantic attraction towards him.
- Michael Clarke Duncan as Colonal Attar
A gorilla military officer and Thade's closest associate and second-in-command. Djimon Hounsou turned down the role because of scheduling conflicts with The Four Feathers.
- Paul Giamatti as Limbo
A comical orangutan who works in the trade business of human slaves. Limbo is caught in the conflict between humans and apes and tries his best to simply survive. Giamatti took inspiration from W. C. Fields for his performance. While his prosthetic makeup was being applied, Giamatti watched episodes of Ultraman and various Japanese Godzilla films.
- Estella Warren as Daena
A curvaceous female slave who, along with Ari, forms a romantic attraction with Leo.
- Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Gen. Krull
A gorilla and former military leader whose career was destroyed by Thade. Krull became a servant for Senator Sandar and assisted the humans in their rebellion.
- Kris Kristofferson as Karubi
Daena's father. Karubi is killed by Thade when trying to escape. Kristofferson immediately agreed to be cast. "The director Tim Burton is a hero of mine. I have eight kids and we've seen all of his films from Pee-wee's Big Adventure to Sleepy Hollow many times."
Small roles include David Warner (Senator Sandar), Lisa Marie (Nova), Erick Avari (Tival), Luke Eberl (Birn), Evan Parke (Gunnar), Glenn Shadix (Senator Nado), Freda Foh Shen (Bon), and Chris Ellis (Lt. Gen. Karl Vasich).
- There are also cameo appearances of Charlton Heston (uncredited) as Zaius, Thade's father, and Linda Harrison (the woman in the cart). Both participated in the two original films in the series, Planet of the Apes (1968) and Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), respectively as George Taylor and Nova.
- Jonah as Pericles (uncredited)
A chimp student trained by Leo at the US Air Force space station training other chimps and orangutans to fly space pods. He is launched on a mission through an electronic storm. He was not shot in many scenes. He mainly interacted with Leo and at the ending scene with Ari.
Late 1980s 
20th Century Fox president Craig Baumgarten was impressed with Adam Rifkin's filmmaking with Never on Tuesday. In 1988, Rifkin was brought in the studio to pitch ideas for films. Rifkin, being a fan of the 1968 Planet of the Apes felt it was best to continue the film series. "Having independent film experience, I promised I could write and direct a huge-looking film for a reasonable price and budget, like Aliens." Fox commissioned Rifkin to write what amounted to a sequel, "but not a sequel to the fifth film, an alternate sequel to the first film." He took influences from Spartacus, with the storyline being "the ape empire had reached its Roman era. A descendant of Charlton Heston's character named Duke would eventually lead a human slave revolt against the oppressive Roman-esque apes, led by General Izan. A real sword and sandal spectacular, monkey style. Gladiator did the same movie without the ape costumes."
Titled Return to the Planet of the Apes, the project was put on fast track and almost entered pre-production. Rick Baker was hired to design the prosthetic makeup with Danny Elfman composing the film score. Tom Cruise and Charlie Sheen were in contention for the lead role. "I can't accurately describe in words the utter euphoria I felt knowing that I, Adam Rifkin, was going to be resurrecting the Planet of the Apes. It all seemed too good to be true. I soon found out it was." Days before the film was to commence pre-production, new studio executives arrived at Fox, which caused creative differences between Rifkin and the studio. Rifkin was commissioned to rewrite the script through various drafts. The project was abandoned until Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh pitched their own idea, with the apes going through a Renaissance. In the story, the ape government becomes concerned over the new art works, the humans are revolting and the liberal apes shelter a half-human, half-ape from the gorillas. Roddy McDowall was enthusiastic about their proposal and agreed to play the Leonardo da Vinci-type character they had written for him. However, the executive Jackson spoke to was not a fan of the series and seemingly unaware of McDowall's involvement in the series, and Jackson turned his attention back to Heavenly Creatures.
Oliver Stone 
By 1993, Fox hired Don Murphy and Jane Hamsher as producers. Sam Raimi and Oliver Stone were being considered as possible directors, though Stone signed on as executive producer/co-writer with a $1 million salary. On the storyline, Stone explained in December 1993, "It has the discovery of cryogenically frozen Vedic Apes who hold the secret numeric codes to the Bible that foretold the end of civilizations. It deals with past versus the future. My concept is that there's a code inscribed in the Bible that predicts all historical events. The apes were there at the beginning and figured it all out."
Stone brought Terry Hayes to write the screenplay entitled Return of the Apes. Set in the near future, a plague is making humans extinct. Geneticist Will Robinson discovers the plague is a genetic time bomb embedded in the Stone Age. He time travels with a pregnant colleague named Billie Rae Diamond to a time when Palaeolithic humans were at war for the future of the planet with highly-evolved apes. The apes' supreme commander is a gorilla named Drak. Robinson and Billie Rae discover a young human girl named Aiv (pronounced Eve) to be the next step in evolution. It is revealed that it was the apes that created the virus to destroy the human race. They protect her from the virus, thus ensuring the survival of the human race 102,000 years later. Billie Rae gives birth to a baby boy named Adam.
Fox president Peter Chernin called Return of the Apes "one of the best scripts I ever read". Chernin was hoping Hayes' script would create a franchise that included sequels, spin-off television shows and merchandise. In March 1994, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed on as Will Robinson with the condition he had approval of director. Chuck Russell was considered as a possible director before Phillip Noyce was hired in January 1995, while pre-production was nearing commencement with a $100 million budget. Stone first approached Rick Baker, who worked on Adam Rifkin's failed remake, to design the prosthetic makeup, but eventually hired Stan Winston.
Fox became frustrated by the distance between their approach and Hayes' interpretation of Stone's ideas, as producer Don Murphy put it, "Terry wrote a Terminator and Fox wanted The Flintstones". Fox studio executive Dylan Sellers felt the script could be improved by comedy. "What if Robinson finds himself in Ape land and the Apes are trying to play baseball? But they're missing one element, like the pitcher or something." Sellers continued. "Robinson knows what they're missing and he shows them, and they all start playing." Sellers refused to give up his baseball scene, and when Hayes turned in the next script, sans baseball, Sellers fired him. Dissatisfied with Sellers' decision to fire Hayes, Noyce left Return of the Apes in February 1995 to work on The Saint.
Columbus and Cameron 
Oliver Stone pursued other films of his own, Peter Chernin was replaced by Thomas Rothman, and a drunken Dylan Sellers crashed his car, killing a much-loved colleague and earning jail time, while producers Don Murphy and Jane Hamsher were paid off. "After they got rid of us, they brought on Chris Columbus," Murphy stated. "Then I heard they did tests of apes skiing, which didn't make much sense." Stan Winston was still working on the makeup designs. Columbus brought Sam Hamm, his co-writer on an unproduced Fantastic Four script, to write the screenplay. "We tried to do a story that was simultaneously a homage to the elements we liked from the five films, and would also incorporate a lot of material [from Pierre Boulle's novel] that had been jettisoned from the earlier production," Hamm continued. "The first half of the script bore little resemblance to the book, but a lot of the stuff in the second half comes directly from it, or directly inspired by it."
Hamm's script had an ape astronaut from another planet crash-landing in New York Harbor, launching a virus that will make human beings extinct. Dr. Susan Landis, who works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Alexander Troy, an Area 51 scientist, use the ape's spacecraft to return to the virus' planet of origin, hoping to find an antidote. They find an urban environment where apes armed with heavy weapons hunt humans. The main villains were Lord Zaius and Colonel Ursus; in contrast to Dr. Zaius, Lord Zaius was very cruel to the humans. Landis and Troy discover the antidote and return to Earth, only to find in their 74-year absence that apes have taken over the planet. "The Statue of Liberty's once proud porcelain features have been crudely chiseled into the grotesque likeness of a great grinning ape".
Arnold Schwarzenegger remained attached, but Fox had mixed emotions with Hamm's script. When Columbus dropped out in late 1995 to work on Jingle All the Way, Fox offered the director's position to Roland Emmerich in January 1996. James Cameron was in talks during the filming of Titanic as writer and producer. Cameron's version would have drawn elements from the original film and its sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes. After the financial and critical success of Titanic, Cameron dropped out. After learning about his previous involvement, Chernin and Rothman met with Peter Jackson to learn about his original Renaissance idea. Jackson turned down directing the film with Schwarzenegger and Cameron as his producer, recognizing they would probably conflict over the direction. Schwarzenegger left to work on Eraser. Michael Bay then turned down the director's position. Jackson again turned down the project while facing the possible cancellation of The Lord of the Rings in 1998, because he was unenthusiastic following Roddy McDowall's death. In mid-1999, the Hughes brothers were interested in directing but were committed to From Hell.
In 1999, William Broyles, Jr. turned down the chance to write the script, but decided to sign on "when I found out I could have an extensive amount of creative control". Fox projected the release date for July 2001, while Broyles sent the studio an outline and a chronicle of the fictional planet "Aschlar". Entitled The Visitor and billed as "episode one in the Chronicles of Aschlar", Broyles' script caught the attention of director Tim Burton, who was hired in February 2000. "I wasn't interested in doing a remake or a sequel of the original Planet of the Apes film," Burton said later. "But I was intrigued by the idea of revisiting that world. Like a lot of people, I was affected by the original film. I wanted to do a 're-imagining'." Richard D. Zanuck signed on as producer in March. "This is a very emotional film for me. I greenlighted the original Apes when I was the head of Fox in 1967."
Under Burton's direction, Broyles wrote another draft, but his script was projected at a $200 million budget. Fox wanted to cut it to $100 million. In August 2000, two months before principal photography, Fox brought Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal for rewrites. Broyles "had a lot of respect with the work they [Konner and Rosenthal] did. And to think that given what I'd done and given what Tim wanted, they navigated the right course." One of the considered endings had Leo Davidson crash-landing at Yankee Stadium, witnessing apes playing baseball. Various alternatives were considered before the filmmakers decided on the final one. The production of Planet of the Apes was a difficult experience for Burton. This was largely contributed by Fox's adamant release date (July 2001), which meant that everything from pre-production to editing and visual effects work was rushed.
Konner and Rosenthal were rewriting the script even as sets were being constructed. Ari, Helena Bonham Carter's character, was originally a princess. She was changed to "a Senator's daughter with a liberal mentality". One of the drafts had General Thade, Tim Roth's character, as an albino gorilla, but Burton felt chimpanzees were more frightening. Limbo, Paul Giamatti's character "was supposed to turn into a good guy. There was supposed to be this touching personal growth thing at the end," Giamatti reflected. "But Tim [Burton] and I both thought that was kind of lame so we decided to just leave him as a jerk into the end."
Burton wanted to begin filming in October 2000, but it was pushed back to November 6, 2000 and ended in April 2001. Filming for Planet of the Apes began at Lake Powell, where parts of the original film were shot. Due to a local drought, production crews had to pump in extra water. The film was mostly shot at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, while other filming locations included lava plains in Hawaii and Trona Pinnacles at Ridgecrest. To preserve secrecy, the shooting script did not include the ending. Stan Winston was the original makeup designer but left because of creative differences. Fox considered using computer-generated imagery to create the apes, but Burton insisted on using prosthetic makeup designed by Rick Baker. Baker was previously involved with Adam Rifkin's unproduced remake. Burton commented, "I have a relationship with both of them [Winston and Baker], so that decision was hard," he says. "Stan worked on Edward Scissorhands and Baker did Martin Landau's makeup [as Béla Lugosi in Ed Wood]".
On his hiring, Baker explained, "I did the Dino De Laurentiis version of King Kong in 1976 and was always disappointed because I wasn't able to do it as realistically as I wanted. I thought Apes would be a good way to make up for that." In addition to King Kong, Baker previously worked with designing ape makeup on Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey, and the 1998 remake of Mighty Joe Young. The makeup took 4.5 hours to apply and 1.5 hours to remove. Burton explained, "it's like going to the dentist at two in the morning and having people poke at you for hours. Then you wear an ape costume until nine at night." Burton was adamant that the apes should be substantially "more animal-like; flying through trees, climb walls, swing out of windows, and go ape shit when angry." For a month and a half before shooting started, the actors who portrayed apes attended "ape school". Industrial Light & Magic, Rhythm and Hues Studios and Animal Logic were commissioned for the visual effects sequences. Rick Heinrichs served as the production designer and Colleen Atwood did costume design.
To compose the film score, Burton hired regular collaborator Danny Elfman. Elfman had previously been set as composer when Adam Rifkin was to do his remake in 1989. Elfman noted that his work on Planet of the Apes contained more percussion instruments than usual.
Box office 
To help market Planet of the Apes, Fox commissioned an Internet marketing campaign that also involved geocaching. Hasbro released a toy line, while Dark Horse Comics published a comic book adaptation. The original release date for the film was July 4, 2001. Planet of the Apes was released on July 27, 2001 in 3,500 theaters across North America, earning $68,532,960 in its opening weekend. This was the second-highest opening weekend of 2001, behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The film went on to gross $180,011,740 in North America and $182,200,000 elsewhere, for a worldwide total of $362,211,740. Planet of the Apes was the tenth-highest grossing film in North America, and ninth-highest worldwide, of 2001.
Critical reception 
The film received mixed reviews. Based on 155 reviews collected by the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 45% of the critics enjoyed Planet of the Apes, with the site's consensus stating [that] "This remake of Planet of the Apes can't compare to the original in some critics' minds, but the striking visuals and B-movie charms may win you over." By comparison, Metacritic calculated an average score of 50 out of 34 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Prominent critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2½ stars; he praised the twist ending, but felt the film lacked a balanced story structure. "The movie is great-looking. Rick Baker's makeup is convincing even in the extreme closeups, and his apes sparkle with personality and presence. The sets and locations give us a proper sense of alien awe," Ebert commented. "Tim Burton made a film that's respectful to the original, and respectable in itself, but that's not enough. Ten years from now, it will be the 1968 version that people are still renting." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave a negative review. "Call it a letdown, worsened by the forces of shoddy screenwriting. To quote Heston in both films, 'Damn them, damn them all'."
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times believed "the actors in the nonhuman roles are mostly too buried by makeup to make strong impressions. Unfortunately, none of the good work counts as much as you'd think it would," Turan said. "Planet of the Apes shows that taking material too seriously can be as much of a handicap as not taking it seriously at all." Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times gave a more favorable review, feeling the script was balanced and the film served its purpose as "pure entertainment". Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today enjoyed Planet of the Apes, feeling most of the credit should go to prosthetic makeup designer Rick Baker.
Much criticism was leveled against the ambiguous ending. Tim Roth, who portrayed General Thade, said "I cannot explain that ending. I have seen it twice and I don't understand anything." Helena Bonham Carter, who played Ari, said, "I thought it made sense, kind of. I don't understand why everyone went, 'Huh?' It's all a time warp thing. He's gone back and he realizes Thade's beat him there." Burton claimed the ending was not supposed to make any sense, but it was more of a cliffhanger to be explained in a possible sequel. "It was a reasonable cliffhanger that could be used in case Fox or another filmmaker wanted to do another movie," he explained.
The film was nominated for two BAFTA Awards, one for Best Make-up held by Rick Baker, the other for Best Costume Design. Roth (Supporting Actor), Carter (Supporting Actress), Colleen Atwood (Costume), and Rick Baker (Make-up) received nominations at the Saturn Awards. Atwood and Baker were nominated at the 55th British Academy Film Awards, while music composer Danny Elfman was nominated for his work at the 43rd Grammy Awards. Planet of the Apes won Worst Remake at the 22nd Golden Raspberry Awards, while Heston (Worst Supporting Actor) and Estella Warren (Worst Supporting Actress) also won awards.
Fox stated that if Planet of the Apes was a financial success, then a sequel would be commissioned. Although the film was indeed a financial success, Fox decided not to proceed with a sequel. When asked whether he would be interested in working on a follow-up, director Tim Burton replied, "I'd rather jump out a window." Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter would have returned if Burton had decided to make another Apes film. Paul Giamatti had been interested in reprising his role. "I think it'd be great to have apes driving cars, smoking cigars," Giamatti said. "Wearing glasses, sitting in a board room, stuff like that." Planet of the Apes was the last film Burton worked on with his former fiancée Lisa Marie. After their relationship broke up, Burton started a relationship with Helena Bonham Carter, who portrayed Ari. Planet of the Apes was also Burton's first collaboration with producer Richard D. Zanuck.
Video game 
Fox Interactive produced a video game adaptation which, despite significant delays, was released for Windows, PlayStation, and Game Boy Advance. The PC and PlayStation version was created by Visiware Studios and published by Ubisoft and Fox Interactive on Windows and PlayStation respectively. The protagonist is Ulysses, an astronaut from present-day Earth who crash lands on the Planet of the Apes. The Windows version was released on 19 September 2001 and the PS1 version on June 28, 2002. It is a 3d Action-Adventure and Puzzle game. The PlayStation version is a little different from the PC version as it contains lower quality graphics and the area of visibility is greatly reduced.
The GBA and GBC versions were developed by Torus Studios and released by Ubisoft on December 5, 2001 for GBA and on December 31, 2002 for GBC. They are different from the PC and PlayStation version as both of these are 2d side-scrolling adventure games and the protagonist is different, a space astronaut named Ben.
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Further reading 
- William Thomas Quick (31 July 2001). Planet of the Apes (Mass Market Paperback ). Novelization of the film. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-107635-0.
- Mark Salisbury (27 July 2001). Planet of the Apes: Reimagined by Tim Burton (HardcoverNewmarket Press. ISBN 978-1-55704-487-7.). A detailed analysis of the making of the film.
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