- Awesome Music:
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Despite being the Big Bad and a crooked opportunist respectively, Thade and Limbo are usually considered the most enjoyable characters in the whole movie.
- Fridge Logic:
- Nothing explains how the horses came to the planet in the 2001 remake.
- Or, for that matter, how the ape population grew as large as it did when there are relatively few apes on Leo's ship. However, it's implied from the ship's log that the surviving scientists used genetic manipulation to make the apes what they became in the film. It's possible they increased the breeding process as well.
- Even that wouldn't account for the presence of gorillas and orangutans, which are substantially larger than chimps and thus, a very poor choice for a space mission where food, water, oxygen and living space are all at a premium. Not to mention that sending apes to space is already Zeerust, as NASA quit using non-human primates as soon as they were sure it was feasible to bring humans back safely.
- Ham and Cheese: Thade, to the point where there's compilation videos of his over the top acting.
- Many of the apes' antics, which are a little too much like those of the real deal.
- The scene in which Leo returns to a present-day Earth where everybody is an ape otherwise dressing and acting in every way like humans is impossible to take seriously.
- Never Live It Down: The twist ending, namely for the sheer absurdity behind it.
- Older Than They Think: The infamous twist ending was inspired by the original novel by Pierre Boulle, where Ulysse escapes from Soror (the literal eponymous planet) and returns to the Earth, but during the time which passed, Earth was taken over by apes as well.
- Rooting for the Empire: Sure, General Thade is a right bastard who tries to wipe out humanity, but it's easy to admire him for his martial prowess and Authority Equals Asskicking status, devotion to his father's legacy, and ability to actually get shit done compared to the sleazy ape politicians. Plus, unlike the dull-eyed hero Leo he's at least displaying some enjoyable pathos.
- Signature Scene: The twist ending.
- Signature Line: "Take your stinking hands off me, you damn dirty human!"
- Shocking Swerve: The ending of the 2001 film, where Lincoln's Memorial is one of Thade, and apes rule the Earth in the present day. Helena Bonham-Carter has said she pointed out to Tim Burton that the ending made no sense after reading the script, to which he grinned and said, "I know, isn't it great?" Although impressively, Carter herself was later able to come up with an explanation that actually makes sense.
- Squick: Leo the human kissing Ari the chimpanzee on the lips. Granted she's not exactly a mindless animal, but still...
- Tearjerker: Thade's moments with his dying father, Zaius. Rather than telling his son that he loves and is proud of him, Zaius wastes his last words cursing humanity.
- They Copied It, So It Sucks!: Kevin Smith famously (and half-jokingly) accused Tim Burton of plagiarizing the infamous scene of the monkey's head on the Lincoln memorial from a parody he did of the original Apes movie in his comic Chasing Dogma (it also appeared in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, released the same year as this film). When asked for comment, Burton gave the uncharacteristically nasty response of "Anyone who knows me knows I've never read a comic book and anyone who really knows me knows I would never read anything by Kevin Smith." Smith put the second half of this quote on the back of his autobiography.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The only aspect of the movie that exceeds the 1968 one, particularly regarding make-up.
- What an Idiot!: When Leo is fighting Thade, he notices his gun which is a few feet away.
You'd Expect: Leo to immediately to go get his gun.
Instead: He waits until Thade sees the gun, then he starts to go for it. Thade shoves him down and goes right for the gun.
YMMV / Planet of the Apes (2001)