Our Daily Trailer: PLANET OF THE APES (2001)

We're killing the Daily Trailer, and we're sending it off with movies that killed their franchises.

This week ends Our Daily Trailer, and it's because nobody read it. 

Now wait, this isn't going to be one of those times when a web guy excoriates the audience for not appreciating all the work he's been doing. I hate that schtick. Actually, this is the web guy waking up and realizing he branded this whole damn thing wrong. Recently I got some feedback from people that made it clear they don't read the text under the Daily Trailer, that they think this column is just an excuse to run a trailer. The reality is that the awesome team at Badass Digest has been doing smart, wonderful re-evaluations of the movies we run as Daily Trailers, but that wasn't exactly clear to the readers. 

So this week we end it, and we're going to replace it with something that is similar - but maybe not trailer-centric - that will give the BAD team the room to think about and talk about older movies. Hopefully I'll come up with packaging that makes it clearer for you, the reader, what it is we're doing and this excellent writing can reach the audience it deserves. 

Now on to the trailer!

I'm starting the week off with Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake, a movie that proved success doesn't always mean a new franchise. The film was clearly set up to start one - by 2001 franchises were the thing, and the original Apes series had five entries. It ends on a 'shocker' twist (that I actually kind of like, and that is sort of supported in the text of the movie and is faithful to the original Pierre Boulle novel), but nobody liked it. It was interesting to see - the film was #1 at the box office and did pretty well, but it was so universally disliked Fox wisely decided this was not the direction to take with the property. Instead Apes lay fallow for a few more years before first Scott Frank and then other writers took a crack at it, leading us to Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Tim Burton's film is actually horrendous, and it's miscalculated on most levels - except the make-up. The FX work by Rick Baker is next level, stuff so good it almost makes you wonder why they needed to go all CG in the next set of reboots (although once you've seen those you really get it). That's the one pleasure of this film - the work on the apes and the design of their civilization. Burton throws away most of the things that made the original films so good (and yet works in a cheap Charlton Heston cameo) and wastes an exceptional cast. Tim Roth and Paul Giamatti as apes? How great is that? 

As a major Apes fan there were few films that hurt me as deeply as the 2001 Planet of the Apes. I rewatched it a bunch, just trying to find the things to which I could cling, anything decent that would allow me to accept the film into my heart. It never worked. And since Fox happily dumped this series, I never had to worry about it.