Planet of the Apes

Rated 2.0 Director Tim Burton (Sleeping Hollow, Batman) re-imagines Pierre Boulle’s novel with a new surprise ending and spectacular special effects, but the action, humor, inter-species romance and social commentary here do not quite gel into exhilarating cinema. Mark Wahlberg stars as an astronaut who crash-lands a one-man space pod on a planet ruled by talking simians. His capture and flight for freedom are set mostly in a dark rainforest that stifles rather than enhances the intended excitement and suspense of the film as race, human rights and beast of burden themes are delivered with sledge-hammer like delicacy. The bland Wahlberg (Ray Liotta was much more charismatic in No Escape) and blander Estella Warren (think cave woman Raquel Welch as dressed by Catholic nuns) are upstaged by Tim Roth as an ape general and Helena Bonham Carter as a monkey’s cousin with a soft spot for homo sapiens.