Making the Grades
"Never send a chimp to do a man's job" criticizes Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) as he hijacks a small shuttle from the mother ship and blasts into space to rescue an off-course chimp test pilot. Having spent the last two years of his life training the monkey, Davidson isn't prepared to lose his investment. Of course his frustration over the boredom he has endured thus far on the exploration mission may be a motivating factor too.
Attempting to navigate the electro-magnetic storm that conquered his pupil proves to be more than even his expertise can handle. The atomic clock on board his vessel also begins to behave erratically. Crash landing in an unknown place and time, Davidson's relief at still being alive is drowned by a stampede of primitive people fleeing from a sophisticated group of Ape hunters. Captured and beaten, Davidson and the other surviving humans are caged, brought to an Ape City, and sold as slaves or pets to the primate citizens.
Confused by this world where evolution has been turned upside down, Davidson's only hope is an aristocratic ape named Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), who demonstrates sympathy for Homo Sapiens. As he follows her, the other humans follow them; believing Davidson may be able to end their oppression. Before the credits roll, these two groups will engage in frequent "gorilla" warfare involving clubbing, stabbing, and using fire as a weapon.
Planet Of The Apes (2001), based on its 1968 namesake, features Charlton Heston (cast as an ape this time) along with updated special effects and make-up that convey director Tim Burton's trademark eeriness. Parents should be aware that violent depictions are more frequent and intense than in its predecessor, although this edition is softer with its criticisms of religion and animal abuse, and contains only female cleavage instead of male rear nudity.
Those familiar with the original will also find this shallow reinvention of the story lacks the powerful plot twists and accusations that continue to nag even after thirty years. Instead this new generation of Apes offers more action than satisfaction.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Planet Of The Apes (2001).
Ari claims when apes mistreat humans “it demeans us as well as them.” What does she mean by that statement?
The story briefly reflects the issues of how mankind treats animals. What responsibilities do you believe human beings have as the dominant species of our world?
Thade, a general in the Ape Army, comes from a noble family who has secret knowledge. Do you think it is right to protect others from the truth even if it is unpleasant? What dangers could result from these facts falling into the wrong hands?