“Batman” Tim Burton’s considerable skills are wasted in this gratuitous remake of a 1968 original that starred Charlton Heston as a stranded astronaut on a planet ruled by unreasonably cruel simians. Mark Wahlberg does the Heston honors while Helena Bonham Carter is force-fed as Ari, an “activist” and wrinkled love interest. Intergalactic fascism is an intriguing theme that Paul Verhoeven handled adroitly in “Starship Troopers.” No such luck here.
Tim Roth’s General Thade speaks English well enough to seem more like a bad-hair-day weightlifter than Chewbacca. While French novelist Pierre Boulle, who wrote “Planet,” engrossed himself in the linguistic divide between similar species, Burton makes confrontation the official language of oppressors and oppressed alike and dishes out action sequences to suit the choice. In the original, Heston relied on some “El Cid” and lots of “Ben-Hur” to make his lost astronaut both lost and amazed. Wahlberg is just a scampering hunk who scowls a lot. The kicker never changes: we’re still the monkey’s uncle.