The sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one of our most anticipated movies of the year. Director Matt Reeves will take a stab at the rebooted film franchise with an approach that should be emotionally satisfying and action packed. Now Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is generating some good buzz after Twentieth Century Fox screened footage from the film and a brand-new extended trailer at this year’s CinemaCon in Las Vegas.
Eric Eisenberg from our sister site Cinema Blend got a first look at the footage, and based on his glowing words, it sounds like Dawn might be even better than its predecessor. With three years between movies, CGI and filmmaking technology has grown to a point where the motion-capture apes featured in the new movie look more realistic and livelier than they did the first time around. It sounds like you can now actually tell what the apes are thinking about through their body language alone.
As for the footage screened, the scene featured two humans making sweeps of a checkpoint near San Francisco. The pair comes across an ape — believed to be Koba, played by Toby Kebbell — between the Muir Forest and the city. The confrontation is awkward at first, then strangely accepting, and then terrifyingly intense. Eisenberg writes:
The footage ended with an extended scene featuring two men who are hanging out together next to a building when an ape approaches them. At first they seem scared and grab their guns telling it to go, but the ape plays friendly and begins to clap and do [somersaults]. The humans begin to let their guard down and the ape gets up next to them, grabbing a bottle of alcohol and swigging it (before spitting it out in disgust). The men laugh at the ape’s antics, but things get serious when the ape grabs a gun and starts playing with it… and then shoots one of the men. It’s incredible how quick the tone of the scene changes, and it’s terrifying when a wide smile breaks across the ape’s face.
Meanwhile, the extended trailer also features more of the apes’ habitat in the Muir Forest. We get a better look at the ape’s fort (fort!) and see how the apes interact with each other. Caesar speaks, but it’s unclear if the other apes will be verbal or not. We also get a look at how the human population is living, and it sounds like the apes got the better end of the evolutionary stick.
It appears that some of the in-fighting with the humans stem from who is actually responsible for the Simian Flu that wiped out a majority of the population. There are some, like Keri Russell’s character Ellie, who believes that the apes had nothing to do with the virus, while others, like Gary Oldman’s Dreyfus, believe that they are. It looks like Oldman’s character lost his family when the apes ran amok in San Francisco, and he wants revenge. Eisenberg continues:
From there we got a better sense of the dichotomy being created amongst the human survivors. In some kind of encampment we see Gary Oldman’s character — clearly very pro-human/anti-ape — speaking to a group about the struggles that have been experienced over the last few years. We also see Keri Russell’s character saying that the apes can’t be blamed for what happened, given that the virus was actually created by humans. Clarke also seems to be more on the pro-ape side, explaining that they should give the apes a chance and that they ‘want what we want’ — an idea that Oldman outright rejects saying that the primates will eventually turn on them.
The second film in the Planet of the Apes reboot series takes place 10 years after the events of Rise, in the year 2026. The film’s structure will feature two storylines: one involving a small group of human survivalists trying to find a cure, and the other focusing on Caesar’s dominance over the apes. It’s believed the two storylines will come together for an explosive and thrilling climax.
Dawn stars Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Nick Thurston, Toby Kebbell, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Judy Greer, and Andy Serkis as Caesar. Matt Reeves (Let Me In, Cloverfield) and screenwriter Mark Bomback (The Wolverine) re-wrote Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver’s original script.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will hit theaters everywhere on July 11, 2014, in 3D.