The 2001 remake
of this film will now be reviewed by someone who has never seen the original.
The plot is awful.
For some reason humans in 2038 are using Apes
as test subjects to fly spacecraft
into dangerous "electrical disturbances" so as to avoid risking human life. One would think that if humans are so advanced as to have orbiting space stations they should be able to design a spacecraft that could be controlled safely from the bridge
. Of course this would make a dull film ("Planet of the unmanned probes"?), but I feel it worth pointing out that the rise of an entire race of Apes and thus the main plot element
of the film is based on a very shaky premise.
So anyway, a probe piloted by a Marky Mark's pet chimpanzee is sent to investigate an electrical disturbance. The probe disappears without a trace.
Marky Mark steals a pod from the mother ship and follows his ape friend into the storm. He crash lands in a pond and gets captured by some pretty aggressive apes. Of course, he manages a daring escape from the ape's citadel with a couple of trusty sidekicks in tow. Once back into the forest we learn that Apes are afraid of water. This will be important later on. He manages to retrieve some weapons and an amazing (and decidely convenient) multi-purpose homing beacon / spaceship remote control from his crashed pod.
Still with me? Ok. We discover signals being emitted by what appears to be the Marky Mark rescue team, and follow the team on their journey toward it. Oh no! There's an ape army camped out right between them and their destination. What's the Marky Mark solution? Simple, we'll just steal their horses and ride right through the camp by nightfall and swim across the river! Remember, Apes are scared of water. Wow!.
Hooray! The signal is coming from the Mothership! But don't get too excited, it's crashed. The wreck has been there for the thousands of years that Marky Mark was propelled forward in time. Despite the total wreckage of the exterior of the ship, we discover that it has a nuclear power source which "lasts forever". Marky Mark can activate all the ship's systems which are merely a bit dusty after a couple of millennea. Here we get to view the ship's log and finally discover the truth about the rise of the apes.
By now we have martial law and the entire ape population appear to be descending on the couple of hundred remaining humans camped out by the crashed spaceship. Did I mention that the wreckage is a significant sacred site to the Apes? One which they are supposed never to visit? Well, despite that about forty battalions of apes descend on the site and prepare to rid the planet of humans once and for all.
But Marky Mark has a plan! There's one fuel cell left alive in the wreck. You know, the one with the eternal nuclear power source? Right, so it has one fuel cell left. Using some of his sidekicks as "bait", the apes are lured toward the wreckage where Marky Mark deploys his truly remarkable remote control device to fire the ships thrusters, enveloping the first wave of apes in a spetacular fireball...
...Which merely knocks them over and singes them a little bit. The humans then set about beating the utter crap out of the stunned infantrymen until the rest of the Army decides to attack.
Despite the amazing agility of the apes and the fact that the rest of the humans are being handed a resounding ass kicking Marky Mark is happily despatching apes two at a time without breaking a sweat. Just when it seems that the Humans are about to be defeated (and there's really no escape at all, given the size of the army) the plot takes another turn!
Yep, despite being launched first, Marky Mark's pet monkey now chooses this moment to gently pilot the other lost spacecraft to the planet and pop out to say "hi!". The apes think that this is the second coming of their God. Magically they realise that humans can coexist with apes quite happily. Except for one, who goes apeshit and tries to kill everyone.
Now of course Marky Mark has a live spacecraft, and the instruments appear to be picking up an electrical disturbance not unlike the one that put him there in the first place. So taking a whole thirty seconds to bid farewell to his friends and aimlessly french the scantily clad token blonde, he hops in and pilots his craft back into the storm.
The same storm that propelled him forward in time now appears to propel him backward in time to what we think is home. We come to the Lincoln memorial, but old Abe has a decidely ape-like nose... "Bugger," thinks Marky Mark as the cops surround him.
Fade to black
The special effects
in this film were truly magnificent, but they really couldn't save a total stinker of a film. Sure, maybe it was a hats off
to the originals, but I think they'd have been better served paying attention to the plot
There aren't too many films with a cringe factor approaching Battlefield Earth, but this is indeed one of them. Star Trek episodes have more plausible finales.