5 Ways to Prep: War for the Planet of the Apes
By George Rose
July 16, 2017
What a franchise the Planet of the Apes has turned out to be. In 2000, not even 20 years ago, NOBODY cared about those darn, dirty apes. Growing up, Apes was one of those franchises my father would talk about that I would ignore completely. In the 199’s, modern day computer technology took special effects to a whole new level and tried to make “ancient” franchises relevant again. In the 90s, teenage brats like me needed CGI, explosions, IMAX and all the things that made spending money on the big screen experience worthwhile. Most films without CGI are just as enjoyable from the small screen comfort of your home and Apes always had a low budget look in my eyes, so low that I didn’t even care to watch it for free at home. I ignored the series, prayed to the gods Hollywood would keep making special effects extravaganzas, and then in 2001 something heard my prayers.
What heard my prayers? Well, it wasn’t God. It wasn’t even A god. Nope, not a friendly spirit. Was it a demon? No, not yet. His name was Tim Burton and in 2000 I worshiped the ground he walked on. Since my birth in 1985, Burton has brought me Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice (1988), Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Batman Returns (1992), Mars Attacks! (1996) and Sleepy Hollow(1999). This stellar decade-plus long run of funny, awkward, gothic, and action-packed blockbusters was right up my alley. I was that tortured little whiny teen that begged his parents to see these movies and I was 100% ready to jump on the Apes bandwagon once I heard Tim Burton was behind it. I mean, what could go wrong?
1) Planet of the Apes (2001)
2001 was actually a great time for a movie-loving kid like me. I had been following box office statistics online for years and The Mummy Returns (the first movie I saw twice on opening day) just debuted to $68.1 million in the first weekend of May. I was obsessed with the movie, loved that it took the title of “largest non holiday opening weekend” and decided to give classic monster movies my dad rambled on about another chance. One of my favorite directors was about to release the remake of the Planet of the Apes and I was soooo excited.
On July 27, 2001 Planet of the Apes was released. On July 28, I was confused. Sure, my hatred of the Apes franchise was unfair since I had never seen the originals. but if they were anything like this reboot than I don’t know why anyone ever cared in the first place. The movie was crap and I, being the doe-eyed Bambi with nothing but hopes and dreams and love for Hollywood, saw my mommy deer-est (aka Burton) get shot in the face. Was I to understand that “good, classic” franchises I had never seen were all actually crap? Are you telling me that a beloved director with only great movies in his filmography can sell his soul to the big studios? To make matters worse, on July 29th, it was announced the film had a $68.5 million opening weekend, taking the “biggest non holiday weekend” crown away from The Mummy Returns.