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Planet of the Apes: The Empire Cut

Heavisyde

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16 June 2020
The 2001 reboot of Planet of the Apes received mixed reviews. I recently watched the film for the first time and actually thought it was quite good as a stand-alone film, with a decent plot, some good performances, and great visuals and art. I imagine people were comparing it to the original, which was better. There were also some weaker parts of the film, and some strange scenes, as well as poor acting from the human characters. Most of the ape characters did a great job though. Tim Roth (General Thade) does overact at times but despite this he still does a great job, and his character actually seems to care about what’s going on in the film, unlike Mark Wahlberg (Leo).

I decided I'd make a fairly light edit of the film to remove some of the weaker parts of the film. The film would focus more on the ape characters, with the human characters being reduced along with the orangutan slaver, Limbo. I couldn’t really cut most of Leo’s scenes since he’s the lead. Many minor cuts were made to improve on the tone and pace of the film, and remove some of the comedic & B-side elements.

Here are all the changes made:
  • Added brief intro credits explaining the cut, and brief outro credits
  • Cut "Never send a monkey to do a man's job"
  • Throughout the film, humans (and 1 ape) fly through the air when hit by apes. I have tried to eliminate every instance of this, with the characters landing much more quickly when struck.
  • The first line of the film, spoken by General Thade (“This one looked at me”), is cut. Instead, the first line of the film is now spoken by Colonel Attar: “Take your stinkin' hands off me, you damn dirty human!”, which is symbolic as it is a call-back to first line spoken by Taylor following his capture in the original film.
  • The romance between Leo & Ari is mostly kept, whilst the romance between Leo & Daena is mostly cut, as is the love triangle subplot.
  • Mentions of free speech, welfare state and diversity are cut. The whole idea is that the Ape leadership don't see the humans as another equal species but rather simply as animals below them – just as humans today see apes. So, a welfare state for what the apes view as animals makes no sense. This seems like an attempt to insert modern politics into the film, and doesn’t fit.
  • General Thade's random snarling and aggression is cut throughout the film. Some of his aggression makes sense, but other times it seems triggered by nothing. Later on, Thade's over-reactions when receiving news of the humans passing through the Ape outpost, and when trapped in the ship, are kept but reduced.
  • Leo threatening Ari with a poker whilst asking for help is cut. It doesn't make much sense to threaten the ape that is about to release you from your cage. Instead, Leo grabs Ari when she comes near and asks for help, and she obliges. There is no threat of the poker.
  • Cut General Thade asking for a towel after looking for Leo’s soul.
  • The two Gorillas alerting Thade of the crashed ship, Thade killing them, Leo & Daena seeing their drowned bodies, and then mentioning it to the rest of the group, are all cut. This subplot seemed unnecessary and never went anywhere.
  • When Leo and his group escape, they pass teenage apes listening to rock music, a female ape performing some kind of...ritual, and an old ape removing his wig and teeth. This is all cut.
  • Following his capture by Leo’s group, Limbo the Slaver is largely cut, including his one-liners and comedy relief.
  • Ari & Krull’s fake defection from the humans to General Thade is cut. It was pretty obvious to both the viewer and the antagonist that this was not genuine. It seems the betrayal was motivated by Ari being jealous of romance between Leo & Daena, which I cut, and so this had to be cut as well. Besides, why would General Thade allow the daughter of a senator and a skilled ape fighter back into the army of the humans? Why not detain them, or kill them right there and then? Additionally, all later mentions of Ari’s marked hand are cut.
  • The character of Birn (Daena’s younger brother) is almost entirely cut. His main appearance is when he falls off his horse and Leo has to rescue him. Which was pretty much his sole purpose in the original film.
  • Some shots during the battle at Calima are cut to improve the pace.
  • General Thade gets Leo’s gun more quickly, instead of both of them waiting around.
  • General Thade fires the gun much more quickly. Upon being trapped, he still freaks out but does not appeal to Ari for help, and gives up on firing on the barrier sooner.
  • The film ends with Leo greeting Ari and leaving the planet. There is no return to an Ape-controlled Earth. The reason for this is that the original film was supposed to be the first of 2-3 films, meaning that the next film would pick up from the ending of this film. However, since this never happened, it made more sense to me to end the story here with the Apes & Humans resolving their differences, and Leo leaving the planet to return home.  Without a follow-up film, the original ending is unnecessary.
 
Let me know what people think of the cut-list, if there’s anything else you think I should cut/should keep. In total, 18 minutes were cut from the 1hr 46mins runtime (excluding credits). The first draft render is complete, DM me if you’re interested in watching. I’m currently working on a second draft.


Update, 19 June 2020
An additional 4 minutes has been cut, bring run-time down to 1hr 28mins from the theatrical 1hr 50mins. (both excluding intro & outro credits).
Additional cuts:
  • Cut one of Anne’s lines early on the ship
  • Cut video message that Leo receives
  • Cut “every transmission in human history” as a result of the storm
  • Cut the date changing as a result of Leo’s ship passing through the storm. This keeps the reveal later, that the ship is thousands of years old, as more of a surprise.
  • Improving several cuts involving flying humans and other scenes
  • Cut “he’s feisty” reference to Leo.
  • Cut additional shots of side characters that slowed the pace of scenes (Limbo, Daena, the kid, Gunnar)
  • Cut the kid getting hits off on Limbo before being captured (outside the city)
  • Cut “are you sure they’re afraid of the water”
  • Cut Daena massaging Leo
  • Cut the entire scene where Attar’s army returns to Ape City and Thade goes crazy and breaks some stuff. Only the very end of that scene is kept, showing the Ape army marching out of the city, is kept.
  • Cut “Go where?” from Daena after Leo wants the humans to go home.
  • The rocket engine turns on more quickly
  • The apes don’t fall to the ground twice after the engine turns on
  • Cut Pericles’ hand appearing before his reveal after landing on the planet
  • General improvements to audio fading and mixing


Update, 05 July 2020
A few additional changes were made. The final version is available by DM. Submitted to the IFDb for review.
 

Heavisyde

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Malthus said:
Heavysyde said:
My attempt at a Plex style poster:


The poster looks good from a design perspective but there is a hard straight edge on the ape's right arm which looks unnatural.

I see. I think that's supposed to be his hair. I can improve that, you're right it is too hard. Thanks for spotting it.
 

Heavisyde

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v2:


The straight edge was because that's where the original picture ended, didn't realise that though:

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ad/9f/96/ad9f9691f06786e53431e2df558b683f.jpg

EDIT:
v5:

m8BnfXY.png
 

Heavisyde

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I'd like to post some clips of of the edit. I've noticed people mostly use vimeo with a password protected link, but I'd rather not pay for that service. Does this site allow posting clips in threads via Dropbox or Google Drive links?
 

Malthus

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Heavysyde said:
I'd like to post some clips of of the edit. I've noticed people mostly use vimeo with a password protected link, but I'd rather not pay for that service. Does this site allow posting clips in threads via Dropbox or Google Drive links?

FYI you can use Vimeo for free with limitations. If you make a free account there's a 500mb upload limit per week and a 5gb storage limit but for short video samples that should be plenty.
 

Dawnrazor

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Heavysyde said:
I'd like to post some clips of of the edit. I've noticed people mostly use vimeo with a password protected link, but I'd rather not pay for that service. Does this site allow posting clips in threads via Dropbox or Google Drive links?

Vimeo basic is Free!
But there’s a 500MB limit/week to upload/storage
So if you just upload smaller clips it Will be ok!
 

Heavisyde

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Malthus said:
Heavysyde said:
I'd like to post some clips of of the edit. I've noticed people mostly use vimeo with a password protected link, but I'd rather not pay for that service. Does this site allow posting clips in threads via Dropbox or Google Drive links?

FYI you can use Vimeo for free with limitations. If you make a free account there's a 500mb upload limit per week and a 5gb storage limit but for short video samples that should be plenty.

I tried uploading a clip to Vimeo but my account was disabled due to violating their ToS/Guidelines. I imagine due to a copyright strike. I've uploaded entire fanedits to Google Drive before so I know that would work, just don't want to break any rules.
 

Jrzag42

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Google Drive is fine if you disable downloads.
 

Heavisyde

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jrWHAG42 said:
Google Drive is fine if you disable downloads.

Thanks. I tried disabling downloads, no luck though. For now, if anyone wants clips, or the whole render, send me a message.
 

Heavisyde

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Clip 1:
Cuts out Thade's agrression towards Limbo.

Clip 2.1:
Leo does not threaten Ari with the hot poker and instead just asks for help.

Clip 4:
No dead gorillas underwater or any mention of them.
 

Heavisyde

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The latest version of this edit (20GB) is available on MEGA. PM me for a link.

EDIT: Compressed version (3GB) is now available on Google Drive.
 

Heavisyde

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v4 is now available. Submitted to the IFDb.
 

TM2YC

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This is now on ifdb. Thread moved.
 
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