“War has begun.”
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the most entertaining and important movies of 2011. It not only revitalized interest in a franchise that many considered to be dead, but it demonstrated once again that individuals who inhabit a digital character are just as deserving of acclaim and recognition as any actor.
Now with the final trailer released for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, my excitement for this sequel is at an all-time high. You have drama, action, and a chimp riding on a horse while firing two machine guns. What more could you possibly ask for?
Ten years after the events of the first film, Caesar, the leader of the genetically evolved apes, has established a prosperous and peaceful society for his kind. Humanity, having gone through a catastrophic plague and multiple global conflicts, is on the brink of extinction. A small colony of humans, attempting to survive in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, comes across Caesar’s community. Caesar and Malcom, one of the human leaders, work tirelessly to prevent an all-out war from breaking out between the two groups. Conflict seems inevitable though, as members on both sides attempt to escalate the growing tension.
Arriving in theatres on July 11, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) sitting in the director’s chair this time around. Andy Serkis has returned to his award winning role as Caesar, while series newcomers Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Kerry Russell and Judy Greer round out the rest of the main cast.
Taking over the reins of the Apes franchise from director Rupert Wyatt, Reeves seems to have a pretty solid grasp on what made the first film so memorable. The trailer shows some impressive acting between Serkis and Clarke, while providing plenty of glorious battle scenes. The drama in this particular trailer really ratchets up the obvious social tensions between the two societies. Yes, the trailer shows the inevitable conflict between man and ape, but it also provides hints as to what set off the powder keg.
One of the things that worked so well about Rise was the fact that Wyatt took the time to establish the personalities of Caesar and the other apes. Maurice, the gentle and intelligent orangutan, and Koba, the violent and cunning chimp, were notable stand outs. Again, this trailer shows that many of the apes not only have distinct personalities, but are also able to talk, an ability that only Caesar possessed in the original film. Koba gets a significant amount of screen time in this trailer. Being one of the more aggressive apes in the simian community, Koba is clearly being set-up as a rival to Caesar’s power.
The CGI and special effects continue to look astounding. Weta Digital, who have provided motion capture for Avatar, Lord of the Rings, King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, continue to prove themselves to be the best in business when it comes to digital effects. The slightest change of expression can be seen on Caesar’s face, and the way the rain runs down his body looks so natural. Caesar’s eyes, which always looked so expressive, look even better now. There’s almost a weariness, even a bitterness to them. I can’t think of a film that captures the emotion on a digital character’s face better than this trailer does.
With a strong cast, a more than competent director and a terrific leading man, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes might be my most anticipated movie of the summer. If they can repeat the same success that they had with the original, I would be more than satisfied. I will say that I might be slightly disappointed if at least one of apes doesn’t throw their own feces at a human. They may be evolved, but old habits tend to die hard. Until then…Hail, Caesar!
What about you reader? Excited for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? Check out the trailer and let us know in the comments below!