i was so excited about adding some birdfeeders to the backyard this past winter. it was fun to watch birds come visit and have a free meal on me all against a background of white snow. i was helping them out, making sure they wouldn't starve during the harsh new england winter. to some extent, it was also fun battling the squirrels who came to raid the feeders on a regular basis (i can honestly say that the setups i have now are 99% squirrel proof).

came spring i was still refilling the feeders. that is until one fateful day when i came home and saw a pigeon perched on the feeder. a damn pigeon! i didn't get some fancy feeders just so i can have welfare pigeons live in my backyard! i felt betrayed by nature. when the feeders went empty, i didn't bother to refill them. after a while, i brought them in to clean and never put them back out again.

but the backyard seems empty without the birds. i heard some songbirds hidden in the trees and that's when i decided it's time for the feeders to go back into business. they went up today but i didn't get any visitors yet. it takes a while for them to realize there's free food again. i hope it remains a secret for a while, so the little birds can have their share before it becomes a widely known fact and all the bad birds -- starlings, house sparrows, pigeons -- start to show up.

did you think i wouldn't go see planet of the apes? there's so much hype and publicity and advertisement for the movie, it's hard to escape its strong gravitational pull. directed by tim burton no less, he consistently gives good film. ape makeup by rick baker, mr. ape special effects himself? so how can i not go?

my observations:

  • first, the trailers. the one starring jet li. i don't know about this one. what is it with hk action stars and making films where they star against themselves, either as twins or parallel universe doubles? it's definitely an action movie though, there can be no doubt, although i think jet li is also a fine comedic actor, which you probably won't be seeing in the one with his broken english. the count of monte cristo -- this looks like a really good movie. the story itself is failsafe, based on the classic novel, the challenge is in the production and acting, and with guy pearce and james caviezel in the cast, this movie could potentially be a really big hit. guys who love it because of the swashbuckling aspect, women will dig it because of the romance and the hot guys factor. shallow hal -- a farrelly brothers movie starring jack black? okay, i'm already counting the days until the movie starts! i am going to pee my pants with laughter!
  • sat behind these two really tall guys, so i had an obstructed view. the guy directly in front of me kept on moving too, he couldn't sit still. when the movie started though, i hardly noticed the silhouetted head moving around in front of me.
  • early on in the film you see marky mark being nice to the chimps. this was just a setup for the ironic moment when you realize the chimps aren't being so nice to marky mark! see, humans are nicer than apes (which means we're superior)! sure, both imprison the others in cages, but at least we don't beat our apes like the apes beat their human captives! we just send them out on space probes as living guinea pigs.
  • if daena and her people are living on the fringe of civilization, how come she has red lipstick on? it might not have mattered if all the human women in the movie wore lipstick, but she's the only one. that's my hollywood! an obvious ploy to sex her up a little bit more. as if the jungle outfit isn't revealing enough already!
  • why do the apes speak english? didn't marky mark suspect something was a little odd when he saw talking apes, and talking english no less? i guess you have to suspend your disbelief about the language issue. i guess an authentic planet of the apes movie where the apes speak an ape language and the audience has to read subtitles would not be as lucrative in the eyes of hollywood executives.
  • along the same note, and this probably has more to do with the original movie than this new one, but wouldn't an astronaut know they're back on earth instead of an alien planet by looking at the stars? nevermind that the plants and climate and animals are all earth-like (hmmm, coincidence?), but the fact that the constellations are all the same should've alerted them that maybe they're back on planet earth aka planet of the apes!
  • are those guide wires i see? when marky mark escapes ape town, attar (michael clarke duncan) is instruction a few apes with "you go this way" and suddenly two apes climb/jump up this wall, but i think i saw guidewires. i read that the sfx team was under the gun to get the movie finished in time for opening day, so it doesn't surprise me to see a few slips, like guide wires not removed through cgi.
  • apes are so touchy feeling, their world so sensual. there is so much touching going on. i wonder if this is true in the real ape world, and this was a conscious effort on the part of tim burton to add more real ape elements to the ape characters.
  • when marky mark is thinking of a plan to fight the oncoming ape army, why doesn't he ask krull the gorilla butler for help? wasn't krull a former general? dissed! however, marky mark's solution is definitely cooler, firing off the spaceship's engine to burn the first wave of ape soldiers. that was such a great scene, this huge gigantic explosion and all these little ape bodies tossed up into the air.
  • when i saw the ape army charging, do you know what i was thinking? that this year's ape army should fight last year's roman army! i'd pay good money to see that made into a sweet piece of cinematic reality!
  • maybe i missed it, but i didn't see general thade (tim roth) say "kill them all" like he does in the trailer. where is "kill them all"? speaking of general thade, with a mean chimpanzee makeup job like that, there is just no way he could've been a good guy. he was one ugly monkey, that's for sure!
  • the scene where attar tells thade that the humans got through the ape encampment and thade sort of goes apeshit and jumps all over the place, i saw a funny spoof of it last night on conan where they dubbed over the voices so it appears that the big gorilla is asking the chimpanzee to the prom! god, had to be seem to be believed, but i couldn't stop laughing when i saw that clip!
  • spoiler warning okay, the apes on this planet are descendents from the space apes that were on the crash landed ship. that explains the apes, but what about the humans? where did they come from? wasn't the planet suppose to be uninhabited? are we to assume that the humans are descendents from the original human crew? but wasn't the human crew murdered by the apes in some sort of hinted rebellion? this is a major plot hole that makes the ending kind of weak if you stop to think about it. and the final ending, when marky mark goes back to earth and discovers that it's the same earth but just inhabited by apes, that was weird. the movie sort of left on a sour note, like those horror movies that sort of have a happy ending but suddenly in the end you realize, hey, the monter's still alive! or hey, the killer's still out there! so what did happen? i think when he returned to earth through that wormhole, maybe he got transported to a parallel universe earth, where instead of humans it's apes. that's the only explanation. how they're going to make a sequel out of it i really don't know.
  • he chose monkey over estella warren! the audience was groaning when marky mark kissed the ape (thank god, i would've been worried if everyone was cheering for human-ape bestiality). sure, in the end he kisses both women, but he initiates the kiss with ari (helena bonham carter) while the kiss with estella, she sort of forced the kiss on him (so he probably wasn't even going to kiss her!). and what kind of guy chooses to leave estella warren, and chooses not to become the leader of the humans (and maybe the apes) on the planet, just so he can try and see if he can go back to earth? his priorities are totally screwed up.
i think if you're looking for good exotic beasts movie, i'd recommend jurassic park iii. i enjoyed planet of the apes, but it didn't knock my socks off like i thought it would. maybe all the marketing hype did in this movie, people are expecting way too much, and with the weird ending, i think audience will leave the theatre not really knowing how they feel about the movie. i think the ape costumes are interesting, definitely more apelike than the original movie, and the costumes are great too. i guess i like it more for the technical aspects rather than the story itself, which to be quite honest, there really wasn't much of a story.