Whenever director Matt Reeves first came aboard to direct Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I was less than enthused, having not been a big fan of his previous cinematic efforts. (Let Me In was pointless after the original and Cloverfield was aggravating, though admittedly well directed.) Well, he hasn’t proven himself to audiences yet, but 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment are apparently impressed with what he’s given them, because they’ve hired him to direct the third as-yet-unnamed film in the revamped Apes series. Obviously, this also means he enjoyed the experience enough to want to stick with the franchise for another year and a half or so. Let’s hope Fox doesn’t make damned dirty monkeys out of us all.
It looks like Reeves will also co-script the film with Mark Bomback, who also co-wrote Dawn with Scott Z. Burns and series rebooters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. He also took a pass on the screenplay for 50 Shades of Grey, so if we see any of these apes running around with leather attachments, we’ll know where that idea came from. Reeves last wrote Let Me In, and his first feature-length screenplay was for Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, so the guy obviously knows how to handle remakes and sequels. Why they went with some hack like Gary Oldman for Dawn, instead of Steven Seagal, I’ll never know. Gary Oldman is the greatest living actor. That fake sentence shouldn’t have been typed out.
The sequel leaves most the characters from Rise of the Planet of the Apes in the dust, save for ape leader Caesar (Andy Serkis). Dawn takes place eight years after the first film and focuses on the thin line of peace attained between Caesar’s race of gen-mod apes and the dwindling human survivors of a worldwide virus that wiped oout most of the population. But everybody knows humans and super-smart apes can’t live on the same planet; otherwise there wouldn’t be a point for one, much less two sequels. Beyond Oldman, the film also stars Jason Clarke (White House Down), Keri Russell (Felicity), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In), and Judy Greer (Carrie).
Dawn is definitely one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2014, hopefully capitalizing on the surprisingly brainy take on an action film that was Rise. As you might imagine, now that Fox has landed its director, they plan on moving forward fairly quickly, so it looks like this will indeed be Reeves’ next film. I’m all for getting a third Apes film by the fall or winter of next year, assuming I don’t walk out of this next one with a banana-sized stick up my ass. Someone call Christian Grey!
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is coo-ooh-ah-ah-ming to theaters on July 11, 2014.