Towards an Ape Theatre (Part 4) To Remake Or Not To Remake . . .
After 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes, it would be almost 30 years before Hollywood produced another feature based on Pierre Boule’s novel Les Planetes des Singes. Battle was the last of five films, (including the 1968 original), that through the use of a time travel concept comprised an imperfect circle. To some, the saga was a closed case, but after three decades a remake of the original appeared plausible. 2001 Planet Of The Apes (Tim Burton) @Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes draws much from the 1968 original as well as previously unused elements from the Boule novel. Burton, who is famous for his use of inventive costumes and scenery, was curiously unable to put much of his own imprint on this movie. His film shows much reverence for the look of the first film. The performance of Cary-Hiryuki Tagawa as Krull, a decidedly Japanese gorilla in Samurai attire, is a direct nod to the master behind the style of the 1968 film, Akira Kurosawa, as are battle scenes that borrow something from his 1985 samurai war epic Ran. The film is very light hearted at times, poking fun at many of the absurdities in the original. This is in stark contrast to one startlingly new aspect of the film–the nature of the performances by some of the ape players, particularly Tim Roth in the role of General Thade. Aided by special effects Thade’s outbursts of temper send him literally through the roof. He is in a constant state of internal conflict, of barely contained rage, as his human and ape natures battle within. In this area the film was up to the minute, reflecting recent scientific study that has begun to focus as much attention on how apes are not like us as previous research did on our similarities. Cold Souls 2009 In contrast, the dramatic structure of Planet of the Apes 2001 bears only minor resemblance to the 1968 film. The character of General Thade, being the most conflicted, needed to be central, in essence taking over the role of Taylor in order to establish a more substantial and complex link to 1968’s theatrical model. V for Vedetta 2006 Two films released after Burton’s Apes that I consider if not “remakes” at least dramatic cousins to 1968’s Planet of the Apes are Cold Souls (2009) and V for Vendetta (2006). Cold Souls written and directed by Sophie Barthes, is a dark and hilarious blend of John Frankenheimer’s 1966 film Seconds and Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973). V for Vendetta, based on a graphic novel by David Lloyd and Alan Moore, and directed by James McTeigue takes the masked super hero genre to daring and bizarre new heights. Both films rely on central characters in psychic distress in order to address social and political issues. The two films are also built on established theatre traditions, one from Chekov’s and the other Shakespeare’s. The two films also share a marked difference from Planet of the Apes in that the central characters experience a form of cultural alienation specific to the artistic mind. In this regard they are closer to Artaud than the 1968 film yet rely heavily on even earlier, pre-cinema models. by Sidrel Mundet Final Chapter comes in 2 days... (use search box in upper left of this page for other works by Mundet)