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Film / Planet of the Apes (2001)

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"Take your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty human!"

Tim Burton's 2001 remake of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

An astronaut, Leo (Mark Wahlberg), works in a space station where genetically enhanced apes have been trained to pilot space pods, to search and study a strange electromagnetic storm phenomenon. When it's found a chimpanzee flies into it and after his signal's cut, Leo chases it in another pod against orders, to save the chimp. The storm makes him travel in time, after which he crashes on the planet below, encounters some humans and is captured by highly evolved apes. He is enslaved with the rest of the humans. He is tortured by the apes until one (Helena Bonham Carter) takes pity on him and helps the humans escape. He goes to the apes' Forbidden Zone Calima to discover the crashed space station, which apparently has been there for thousands of years.

There, the hero plays a recording made by the ship crew, which tells they decided to go after Leo, crashed, and the apes rebelled and killed most of them. An army of apes attacks and the astronaut responds by hitting them with the fuel from the station's tanks. When the ape army recovers, a large battle occurs until the original chimp returns in its space pod. It remembers Leo and shows affection towards him; the apes revere it as a God, thus they stop fighting and treat the humans fairly. Having achieved peace and become a hero, the astronaut decides to return home through the same electric spacestorm. He goes back to Earth... and discovers the civilization he used to know is now inhabited by talking apes.

Previews: Trailer.

This movie contains example of:

  • 24-Hour Armor: Thade and Attar pretty much wear their plate armor throughout the whole movie.
  • Actor Allusion: Charlton Heston is an ape (whose dying words mirror the closing line of the original movie), and Linda Harrison (Nova) also cameos. Heston's character bemoaning the human invention of guns is really ironic given this was near the end of Heston's tenure as president of the National Rifle Association.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The entire ape society. In the original movies, they evolved from slave apes who Turned Against Their Masters. In the remake, there's no sign that the apes were oppressed in any meaningful way but still rebel against humans due to a particular power-hungry ape among them (from whom General Thade descended). Also, the humans they have currently enslaved themselves are shown to possess actual sapience, whereas Nova and her people were mute and had an intellect on par with cows. Finally, Thade's reasons for wanting to exterminate all humans are driven more by bigotry and lust for power compared to Dr. Zaius' genuine worry about the inherent destructiveness of humankind since he's actually seen the results of their atomic war. Zaius would certainly never consider casually murdering another apenote  to advance his own plans like Thade did. However, Thade behaves just as how a real chimpanzee would.
  • Adaptation Distillation: It actually takes much more from Pierre Boulle's novel than the 1968 movie (for starters, the planet is not the humans' own and the protagonist finds an ape-ruled Earth in the end).
  • All There in the Manual
    • The ending only makes sense if you read the explanation on the movie's (now defunct) website.
    • The novelization reveals that Leo Davidson entered the electromagnetic storm a week after a message for him was recorded on February 7, 2029.
    • When Leo reaches the Oberon, now the Temple of Calima, the date on the chronometer reads 5021.946.
    • In regards to the novelization, this trope is somewhat averted when you take into account that it ends with Leo leaving Ashlar and entering the electromagnetic storm, not detailing his return to Earth that happens afterward.
  • All There in the Script: Most humans of the planet end up not being named on-screen.
  • Ape Jews: Limbo, a money-grubbing dealer.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Subverted by General Thade. He claims that apes are morally superior to humans because humans are inherently savage compared to their "more cultured" kind, but he has no problem with killing any apes who are opposed to his plans to wipe out mankind. Or even because they've seen too much.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Oberon reports.
  • Artistic License Biology: Done intentionally in the case of female apes. In order to make them seem more attractive, they were given eyebrows, something real apes do not have. And human-sized breasts, evident when the female ape is being "sexy" for the Senator Nado. Note that female apes do have breasts, just not as "perky" as human females.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: At the end of the desert climax, General Thade is locked up and Leo is finally able to return to Earth. However, due to a Timey-Wimey Ball, Thade managed to make it to Earth before Leo and reshaped it in his image.
  • Big Bad: General Thade.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: As noted above, male apes look more like their Real Life counterparts than the female ones.
  • Cargo Cult: Leo's chimp is confused with the apes' God, Semos.
  • Cliffhanger: The film ended with the human in a modern world where all people are apes. And it ended up also being Left Hanging given the lack of sequel (there was a comic following up on the planet where Leo crashed, rather than this new Earth).
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: A particularly lazy one from Dark Horse Comics where everything before Leo lands on the planet is explained in a Wall of Text. Though they did write more stories continuing what happened on the planet after Leo left.
  • Continuity Nod: So, Zaius, you go from being Minister of Science, proclaiming that apes and humans have nothing in common biologically, declaring that the principles of science and theology work side-by-side, and those who go against it are instant heretics to a senator who constantly reminds those of humanity's destructive nature? No wonder Thade closely followed, and even amplified, your ideals.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: Leo flies to Earth from wherever the space station was (either Jupiter or Saturnnote ) in that tiny little spaceship. It can't have been very far in that ship with no toilet or way to get up and move around - or that craft could really book it.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The apes' religion. Though unlike Jesus, Semos is belligerent...
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the original films and under Burton's direction, it automatically stands out as the most gothic out of all the entries in the franchise.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Leo spends the entire movie trying to escape and then stop General Thade before returning to his own time, only to find that Thade has somehow taken over Planet Earth in his absence.
  • Dull Surprise: Leo doesn't seem nearly as surprised to be on a planet of talking apes as you'd think he would, but does wonder how it happened. Estella Warren's Daena isn't much expressive either.
  • Expy:
    • Leo (Taylor and thus Ulysse from the original novel)
    • Thade (Ursus and Urko)
    • Ari (Zira)
    • Daena (Nova)
    • Semos could be considered one to Caesar (or Aldo, according to the Sacred Scrolls in the original movies), who led the ape uprising against their human masters.
    • In light of the original novel, Pericles is one to Hector.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Thade spends a lot of time visiting his dying father, and also buys a pet (ie a human child) for his niece.
  • Fantastic Racism: Apes despise and look down on humans and use them as slave labor (though with even less justification than in the original, since humans are shown to be fully sapient in the remake) while Thade thinks they should be straight-up exterminated for the good of apekind.
  • Fantasy Landmark Equivalent: Played for Drama at the ending of the movie, where Leo encounters ape police at the foot of what appears to be the Lincoln Memorial, but is in fact a memorial to Thade.
  • Gainax Ending: It is pretty vague, although not necessarily in a bad way. Not in a good one, either.
  • General Ripper: General Thade, an ape commander who is obsessed with destroying humans once and for all.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: The two ape soldiers who found Leo's pod. Thade promptly kills them both.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: Limbo retains his greedy qualities, even seeing the peace as a "new era of trade with the humans."
  • Humanoid Female Animal: The female apes were designed to look more like humans than their male counterparts, including larger breasts and eyebrows, neither of which non-human female apes possess. Presumably to make the main character's attraction to one of them somewhat less disturbing.
  • I Choose to Stay: Inverted with Pericles, as Leo believes he belongs with the apes. Ari promises Leo she'll take care of him.
  • Ignore The Fan Service: Leo pays absolutely no attention at all to the drop dead gorgeous Daena.
  • Interspecies Romance: Leo and the female ape Ari are clearly attracted to each other, and he kisses her.
  • In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves: Thade's father Zaius gives him a human energy weapon, which he says is a relic to their former masters' destructive nature. This is a subversion, since humans were not actually responsible for the current state of the world. Thade and his father are just driven by Fantastic Racism.
  • Irony: A funny version. Limbo disregards Leo's description of zoos with "Apes in cages, right..." Later on, he hides himself in one of the Oberon's cages to avoid the fighting.
  • It Only Works Once: During the final battle, Leo exhausts the remaining fuel in the Oberon to fire a massive burst from its engines, knocking down the first wave of attacking apes so that the humans can gain an advantage in the fight.
  • Jerkass: General Thade.
  • Kick the Dog: General Thade knocks the human-friendly (and unevolved) chimp Pericles against a wall, breaking the chimp's leg; thus cowed, Pericles crawls pathetically back into the safety of his cage.
  • Killer Gorilla: While the gorillas are still soldiers, that stereotype is actually applied to the chimpanzees, specially Thade.
  • Last Request: General Thade visits the deathbed of his father Zaius, who asks him to wipe out all humans before providing him with a human relic: a Ray Gun.
  • Leave No Witnesses: When Thade inspects Leo's crashed space ship, he murders the two ape soldiers who found it and reported it to him.
  • Love Triangle: Between Leo, Ari, and Daena.
  • Mind Screw: The ending. Which amusingly is Truer to the Text, namely the original novel, where Ulysse encounters sentient apes at Orly Airport, only now Leo encounters ape police at the foot of what appears to be the Lincoln Memorial, but is in fact a memorial to Thade.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The first line in the film spoken by an ape to an human (right after Thade notes "this one's looking at me" is the page quote, just like the first thing Taylor says to an ape is "Take your stinkin' paws off me, you damn dirty APE!"
    • Senator Nado's wife is named Nova, and Thade's father is named Zaius.
    • Thade's father, played by Charlton Heston, repeats Taylor's famous "damn you all to hell..." line as he lies dying.
    • The shot of the group arriving at the Calima ruins is the same way as Taylor and Nova arriving at the Statue of Liberty in the original film.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: General Thade, especially in how he talks about "the human problem." Tim Roth even described him as a Nazi in interviews.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The space electromagnetic storm that even causes spacetime interference to whoever enters it.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: In the trailers, Attar shouts, "BOW YOUR HEAD!", which, given the series' theme, would imply that he's telling a human to be subservient. In the actual film, however, Attar wants everyone to pray before their meal.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Even though the entire point of having a chimp astronaut is because they're expendable if something goes wrong, Leo goes after him when something goes wrong. This causes both the deaths of his workmates, the creation of the ape society, and dooms the human race.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Nice job, Thade. Pericles was seen as the arrival of apes' god, Semos. Now that you wounded him, your "friend" Attar felt betrayed and refused to give you any more help when you needed it.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Exaggerated. The protagonist attempts to pull it off on a trained chimp. The scene can be only compared to dog outrunning the fireball in dramatic slow-motion in Independence Day.
  • Novelization: It got two, an adult novelization by William Thomas Quick and John Whitman wrote a junior novel.
  • Now Do It Again, Backwards: Going through a storm pushes you ahead in time, and going through it again in the opposite direction...
  • Nubile Savage: Daena, played by Estella Warren, sort-of being the remake's Nova.
  • Obviously Evil: Seriously, just look at Thade's face and listen to his voice.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Done while inspecting Leo's ship that crashed.
  • Profane Last Words: As General Thade's father is dying Thade promises him he'll capture the human rebel. Thade's father's last words: "Damn them...damn them all to hell." Doubles as a Mythology Gag since Thade's father is played by Charlton Heston.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Attar was a pupil of former military leader Krull, until he was disgraced by Thade for questioning his family, descendants of Semos, of whom Attar is a devoted follower.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: There's tension between Krull and Attar, which only escalated when Krull and Ari helped the humans.
  • Remake Cameo: Linda Harrison (Nova) as a human slave; Charlton Heston as Thade's father.
  • Rock Beats Laser: A technologically advanced society is implied to be inferior to a simple, agrarian one.
  • Science Is Bad: Just one example: genetically enhancing apes to make them more suitable for work makes them later rebellious.
  • Sequel Hook: The ending with Leo landing in a modern day Earth ruled by Apes.
  • Shout-Out: At one point it is suggested a solution to the human problem is to sterilize them all, similar to the fate of Yahoos in Gulliver's Travels.
  • Shown Their Work: The evolved apes certainly look more like real apes do than in the original, especially the orangutans.
  • Significant Anagram: Thade rearranged spells 'hated' or 'death'.
  • Super Drowning Skills: The evolved apes are hydrophobic because they have no ability to swim (similar to actual apes).
    Ari: We can't go in the water! We'll drown!
    Daena: That is why, every day, we pray for rain.
  • Sympathetic Slave Owner: Limbo, the orangutan slave trader dealing in humans, goes from Affably Evil to being on the side of good over the course of the movie.
  • Tie-In Novel: The authors of both novelizations each wrote two prequels:
    • William Thomas Quick wrote Planet Of The Apes: The Fall and Planet Of The Apes: Colony about the survivors of the crashed Oberon starting a colony and competing against local aliens.
    • John Whitman wrote Planet Of The Apes: Force and Planet Of The Apes: Resistance focusing on the inhabitants of the planet in the years before Leo landed.
    • J.E. Bright was supposed to continue Whitman's novels with Planet Of The Apes: Extinction but it was cancelled due to poor sales of the previous books.
  • Time Travel: Although how long it varies - the space station arrives either at the past or right away, Leo thousands of years after that (long enough for the apes there to become humanized) and his ape Pericles a few days after him.
  • A Truce While We Gawk: Everyone stops fighting the moment Pericles' ship lands.
  • Truer to the Text: A minor case but the planet is not Earth, making it more truer to the Boulle novel. The Twist Ending also resembles the one in the novel.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Semos, son of Pericles and ancestor of Thade, lead an ape revolt against the stranded human astronauts.
  • Villain World: Thade somehow managed to escape, made it back to Earth before Leo did, and conquered the planet in his absence. Leo is horrified upon seeing a statue of Thade celebrating him as the beloved founder of the American Ape Republic.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Thade degenerates into a screeching beast when he is trapped and beaten.
  • Villainous Crush: Thade toward Ari. She believes that he's only interested in her because of her father's influence as a senator, but the leaked script suggests that he genuinely has feelings for her. Doesn't make him any less of a Jerkass.
  • Villainous Friendship: Thade and Attar are this, until the truth as well as Thade's treachery is revealed, at which point Attar refuses to help him anymore.
  • Villain Has a Point: Limbo (a slave trader dealing in humans) points out that while other apes look down on his distasteful work, he's doing a job that no one else wants to do and other apes benefit from his services. Thade also falls into this category, as the ape politicians send him to do the dirty work. It also established that humans have attacked and stolen from apes on numerous occasions and his job is to protect other apes.
  • Visual Pun: When Leo walks up to the Lincoln memorial and realizes it's an ape... it can be inferred that it's a memorial of Aperaham Lincoln.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: General Thade visits his father's death bed, and promises to enact his wishes to wipe out all humans once and for all.


Video Example(s):


Planet of the Apes (2001)

Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes ends with Mark Wahlberg returning to a (seemingly) modern-day Earth ... that is now run by apes ... somehow ...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / GainaxEnding

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