If Franklin Schaffner's rather prosaic 1968 adaptation of Pierre Boulle's novel now appears as an iconic allegory of its time, it's worth remembering that, along with four sequels and a live action TV series, it also spawned a cartoon series, Halloween masks, bubblegum cards and a patina of self-parody. Burton's facetious and forgettable remake - 're-imagining' if you must - owes as much to such pop ephemera as it does to woolly liberal sentiments. It's a cliché to praise Burton's visual élan and bemoan his lack of narrative sophistication, but these attributes are all part of the same sketchy, knowing and naive aesthetic. The film's jerky B-movie theatricality is as integral to Burton's peculiar design as Rick Baker's incredibly lifelike apes: part of the intermittent joy of the movie is to recognise the stars underneath their costumes, and a lot of the comedy is impish caricature of human vanities reflected through the crazy mirror of gorilla affectation. Naturally the best performances come from the hairier cast members, notably Roth as the dyslexic Gen Thade. Burton is understandably unimpressed by Wahlberg's astronaut and utterly bored by the human slaves he encounters - which may explain the slapdash, outrageous and irrational climax.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||William Broyles Jr, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal|
|Cast:||Michael Clarke Duncan
Helena Bonham Carter