With remakes and reboots clogging up the majority of what’s in production in Hollywood these days its no surprise that 20th Century Fox would go to the well once again with a new Planet of the Apes movie. This one, titled Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a new variation of the 4th entry in the original classic series Conquest, and it stars the worst host of the Oscars ever – James Franco. While it’s hard to pass judgment on this first footage (I’m not jumping up and down just yet) I know I’ll be on line opening weekend because I find the concept fascinating; although its unlikely that anyone could truly recapture what made the originals so appealing.
I think what made the first film in the series that starred Charlton Heston in 1968 so great was that Director Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton) clearly was a great storyteller and had tremendous patience in his filmmaking, something clearly lacking in many of today’s movie makers.
Actually, after recently re-watching all five films in the original series, I found myself hooked once again. This is as good as it gets when you’re talking science fiction. It’s really interesting how the writers were able to interconnect each installment and keep the series thought-provoking throughout. Although Battle for the Planet of the Apes is by far the weakest in the series, I’m still amazed how bleak the second installment, Beneath the Planet of the Apes. You rarely ever see both main stars killed off in any mainstream films; one of my all time favorite movie endings.
As for Tim Burton’s remake of the origianal, I never thought he would be a good fit for this genre and he clearly was not. While the film has its bright spots, including the terrific performance by Tim Roth as General Thade, overall it was a huge letdown compared to the classic 1968 original. I hated the fact that Burton decided to film most of it on soundstages instead of on location which would have given the movie a more authentic feel. Considering how many ideas, scripts and talent (Oliver Stone, Philip Noyce, James Cameron, Peter Jackson and Arnold Schwarzenegger (who was slated to star at one time) that had been attached to the project before Burton stepped in, it’s hard to believe that this re-boot of the famed franchise crashed and burned in reviews. Despite being a financial winner, in retrospect Burton never should have taken on this project. It was like mixing oil and water.
Rise of the Palnet of the Apes swings into theaters August 5th 2011. Take a look at the trailer: