Planet of the Apes: Re-imagined by Tim Burton

Review by Jack Foley

IT'S been a good year for movie tie-in book releases, what with Pearl Harbor and Captain Corelli leading the way in producing very good literary companions to their on-screen counterparts.

Planet of the Apes: Reimagined by Tim Burton is, I'm pleased to be able to say, a book that not only does justice to the movie, but also stands out as a fascinating and intelligent read in its own right.

Packed with stills (both from the film and during filming), the book is divided into several chapters, beginning with a look at the original movie (starring Charlton Heston) and concluding with the screenplay for Burton's latest revamp.

It also features interviews with the cast and crew (as we have come to expect); artists' impressions of some of the more lavish sets (such as the crashed spaceship); and a look at how each of the central players was transformed from a human to an ape (the make-up process was painstaking but the final results impressive). Needless to say, the likes of Tim Roth and Helena Bonham Carter are virtually unrecognisable beneath monkey masks.

Planet of the Apes delighted studio execs by becoming the third highest opening of all time when it debuted in America in July (the third film to achieve such lofty heights this summer!) and, no doubt, this companion will appeal to its many fans (of which I'm sure there will be many).

But it is probably worth waiting to see the movie before splashing out on the book, in my opinion, in case Burton's interpretation fails to live up to the hype or the original's giddy heights (I have seen it and can predict that many will feel let down by the new ending). 

That said, however, the book is one of the better film tie-ins on the market in recent years and is worth owning for the variety of stills it provides, as well as the genuine insight into how Burton enabled apes to rule the planet once again.

It is hardly surprising to find Burton's name among its authors - the book seems as much a labour of love as the production of the film itself.