On an outer space research station in 2029, Leo (Mark Wahlberg) is grooming Pericles, a chimp, to make his first voyage into an electrical storm. When they lose contact with his pod, this impulsive astronaut goes after him and suddenly finds himself catapulted into the future to a planet ruled by apes.
Leo is captured along with Karubi (Kris Kristofferson), his daughter Daena (Estella Warren), and a group of other humans trying to stage a rebellion against their simian overlords. Limbo (Paul Giamatti) is a wily wheeler-dealer who decides which humans are suitable for pets, slaves, or grooming as servants. Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), the daughter of Sandar (David Warner), a respected senator, has a soft spot in her heart for humans, who are treated like dirt by most of the ape community. She believes they have souls and yearns for a world where the two species get along with each other peacefully.<>P>General Thade (Tim Roth), on the other hand, wants to wipe out all humans, viewing them as smelly, stupid, and worthless. Although he's attracted to Ari, she wants nothing to do with this self-centered and power-hungry warrior whose father (Charlton Heston) is dying. When Leo convinces Ari to accompany him into the wilderness for a rendezvous with his spaceship, he tells her: "I will show you something that will change your world forever." Thade sends Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan) after them. The ultimate confrontation between the apes and the humans takes place in a desert stretch of land believed to be a sacred site for the apes.
Director Tim Burton's (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow) re-imagining of the 1968 science fiction classic, based on a novel by Pierre Boulle, hits the bull's eye with its thematically relevant portrait of the clash between hostility and hospitality as the major challenge facing humans in the twenty-first century. The creation of an upside-down world of an ape planet brings home the destructiveness of prejudice and hatred of the "other." Ari's vision of a world of cross-species respect and love is the way to go in the future. It, in fact, has a far greater potential for the renewal of the planet than the technology and firepower Leo so admires. Similar in spirit to A. I., this science fiction drama posits sacred feminine values as the hope for humanity.