If you can somehow insulate yourself from the social and political commentary (er, gibberish) of its makers, you might find something of interest in "The Planet of the Apes."
In an era of special effects, this is the rare Hollywood high-budget film that pays homage to great costuming, casting and acting. Computer-generated images are kept to a minimum, despite the film's $100 million price tag.
In this remake of the 1968 blockbuster by the same name, the hero for some will be Capt. Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg), who leads a rebellion of human slaves against their masters, the apes.
He's an American astronaut in the year 2029 who skips a few centuries and planetary systems in an attempt to rescue a lab chimp dispatched from a space lab to probe a mysterious electronic disturbance.
Davidson lands on a strange planet where the apes hold all the cards, a place where humans are considered soulless and stupid.
In keeping with the film's overstated reverse-discrimination themes, the first words the good captain hears from the planet's primates is "take your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty human!"
Fans of the original film -- and the many sequels and television shows that followed -- will remember that Charlton Heston uttered similar comments in his role as the marooned American pilot: "Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!" he screamed.
In the latest version, the female ape Ari (Helena Bonham Carter) uses her political and social connections to advocate the cause of human freedom and respect, suggesting that "it's disgusting the way we treat humans. It demeans us as much as it does them."
Her views run counter to just about every other ape in the kingdom, including those of General Thade (Tim Roth), who reflects his and his associates' point of view when he says, "Extremism in defense of apes (i.e. your own kind) is no vice," although you wouldn't know it by how Director Tim Burton deals with the character.
Ironically, Burton somehow recruits Heston for a cameo role as the dying father of the ferocious, evil general, handing him lines that suggest handguns are one of the world's greatest evils. In real life, Heston is president of the National Rifle Association.
Even Capt. Davidson laments the dangers of technology and the way history rewards cruelty with power and influence and wealth.
OK, by now you understand the necessity of bracing yourself against the social and political messages of the Hollywood Left. Take solace, maybe even enjoyment, in the visual spectacle and acting direction that are Burton's real strengths.
The costuming and makeup are so good you'll have no trouble believing in the film's premise, that apes have evolved into human-like creatures.
Roth and Bonham Carter turn in sterling performances, although Wahlberg seems to underplay the captain's role, which could have been better cast with any number of other leading men.
Much has been made about the film's controversial ending and there's no reason to spoil it here. Let it be said, however, that it's consistent with all the other slams against American culture, which are inherent in the film.
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