Hot Reels Section: Planet of the Apes
August 2001
Photography Director: Susan White

Primate Instincts
Cari-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Planet of the Apes inhabitant Krull, photographed by Mary Ellen Mark.

Trailer of the month: Planet of the Apes. Directed by: Tim Burton. Starring: Mark
Wahlberg, Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Roth. Coming to a theater near you: July 27.
The skinny: In this high‑dollar remake of the low‑rent 1968 classic, a generic Homo sapiens white male (Wahlberg) crash‑lands a spacecraft on another world, teaming up with a tawny blonde Ur‑female (Estella Warren) to battle a race of monkey men on horseback. Why this version's better than the first: Curious George, meet Furious George! These apes are scarier, fiercer, and more expressive, and their torchlit, medieval‑looking cities appear to have been constructed from actual rock rather than lightweight polystyrene rock substitute. Crouching mandrill, hidden orangutan: Supernaturally agile simians backflip, leap, and somersault like mad, yet can't outmaneuver Wahlberg's opposable thumbs. Where the budget went: Hyperrealistic ape suits featuring convincing yellow teeth, seamless eyeholes, supple latex jowls, and natural hair composed of separate strands instead of epoxied‑together synthetic swatches. The anxiety of influence: Though no one wears a loincloth like Charlton Heston, who originated the role, Wahlberg is suitably hunky, expressionless, and comfortable waging battle clad in just a tattered space suit. (Rating: ****) ‑WALTER KIRN