Planet of the Apes is a 2001 science fiction film and remake of the 1968 film of the same name. Tim Burton directed the film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti and Estella Warren. Planet of the Apes tells the story of astronaut Leo Davidson landing on a planet inhabited by intelligent humanoid apes. The apes treat humans as slaves, but with the help of a female ape named Ari, Leo starts a rebellion.
Development for a remake of Planet of the Apes started as far back as 1988 with Adam Rifkin. Rifkin’s project almost commenced pre-production before it was cancelled. Terry Hayes’s script titled Return of the Apes had Oliver Stone, Don Murphy and Jane Hamsher as producers and Phillip Noyce as director with Arnold Schwarzenegger set to star. Creative differences ensued between Hayes and financier/distributor 20th Century Fox. Chris Columbus, Sam Hamm, James Cameron, Peter Jackson and the Hughes Brothers later became involved.
With William Broyles, Jr.’s script, Tim Burton was hired as director, and the film was put into active development. Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal rewrote the script, and filming took place from November 2000 to April 2001. Planet of the Apes was released to mixed reviews, but was a financial success. Much criticism focused on the confusing ending, although Rick Baker’s prosthetic makeup designs were praised. Despite its financial success, Fox chose not to produce a sequel.
In the year 2029, aboard the United States Air Force space station Oberon, Leo Davidson works closely with primates who are trained for space missions. His favorite simian co-worker is a chimpanzee named Pericles. With a fatal electromagnetic storm approaching the station, a small space pod piloted by Pericles is used to probe the storm. Pericles’ pod heads into the storm and disappears. Against his commanding officer’s orders, Leo takes a second pod and goes in pursuit of Pericles. Entering the storm, Leo loses contact with the Oberon and crashes on a planet in the year 3002. He discovers that the world is ruled by humanoid apes who can speak human language and treat human beings as slaves.
Leo comes across a female chimpanzee named Ari, who protests the awful treatment humans receive. Ari decides to buy Leo and a female slave named Daena to have them work as servants in the house of her father, Senator Sandar. Leo escapes his cage and frees other humans. Ari sees them, but Leo manages to convince Ari to join their cause. Leo forms a human rebellion against the apes and develops a love triangle with Ari and Daena. General Thade and Colonel Attar march ape warriors in pursuit of the humans. Leo discovers Calima (the temple of “Semos”), a forbidden but holy site for the apes.
Calima turns out to be the remains of the Oberon, his former space station, which has crashed on the planet’s surface and looks ancient (the name Calima coming from the sign “CAution LIve aniMAls”, the relevant letters being the only ones not covered in dust). According to the computer logs, the station has been there for thousands of years. Leo deduces that when he entered the vortex he was pushed forward in time, while the Oberon, searching after him, was not, crashing on the planet long before he did.
The Oberon’s log reveals that the apes on board, led by Semos, organized a mutiny and took control of the vessel after it crashed. The human and ape survivors of the struggle left the ship and their descendants are the people Leo has encountered since landing. A battle ensues between the humans and the apes. A familiar vehicle descends from the sky and is identified immediately by Leo. It is the pod piloted by Pericles, the chimp astronaut. Pericles was pushed forward in time as Leo was, and had just now found his way to the planet. When Pericles lands, the apes interpret his landing as the return arrival of Semos, the first ape, who is their god. They bow, and hostilities between humans and apes disappear.
General Thade chases Leo into the Oberon, where he attacks Pericles and breaks his leg. Thade becomes trapped in the pilot’s deck and last seen huddled under a control panel, still alive. Leo decides it is time for him to leave the Planet of the Apes, after he says goodbye to Daena and kisses Ari. Leo climbs aboard Pericles’ pod, which is undamaged, and uses it to travel back in time through the same electromagnetic storm. Leo crashes in what appears to be Washington, D.C. on Earth in 2029. He looks up to see the Lincoln Memorial is now a monument in honor of General Thade. A swarm of ape police officers descend on the confused Leo, who is left to wonder what Thade has done to this world.