20th Century Fox have finally unveiled the teaser trailer for the Rise of the Planet of the Apes and provided a first glimpse of Caesar, the ape who will transform everything by evolving intellect and leading the way for his species whilst mankind spirals into barbarism.
The original Planet of the Apes (1968) remains a master class in how to combine science fiction, social commentary and good old fashioned adventure. The resulting saga, although gradually decreasing in budget, continued to provide thought provoking entertainment until Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973) brought the story full circle.
Fox attempted to revisit the franchise with Tim Burton’s lack lustre and over budgeted re-imaging of the original in 2001. His reworking of the 1968 movie and Pierre Boulle’s novel seemed thin on character and heavy on visuals leaving many feeling short changed and dreading the prospect of another movie.
Until this trailer (below) that is, so what has changed?
Although we only have a teaser it seems that director Rupert Wyatt is definitely focusing on character, the morality of science, the influence of the original series and a plot inspired by Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972).
James Franco is a clever choice to portray the “good” human who will no doubt protect Caesar from the powers that be and should hold the viewers attention.
In addition, heavyweights Brian Cox and John Lithgow will add some further substance to proceedings.
But what will make or break the movie will be the apes. The original series had make-up that still marvels but here we have CGI and character capture with Gollum himself – Any Serkis going ape.
The first glimpses are truly astonishing and Serkis will have to go a long way to top Roddy McDowall who virtually inhabited his make-up in the character’s previous incarnation.
But with a trailer that hints at a provocative, strong and thrilling narrative (with a slight hint of the X-Men films?) this movie may turn out to be the dark horse of the summer season. Judge for yourself.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is released in August.