Trailer Tueday: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

There have been so many pointless reboots and reimaginings that it's easy to forget the few that have actually got things right. Star Trek, Batman Begins, the Noughties' Battlestar Galactica TV series...

Well I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the above trailer for the new Planet of the Apes franchise entry: reboot and origin tale Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Ignoring the stupid and clunky title - the film was previously known as Caesar and Rise of the Apes - Rise has rapidly shot up in my estimation. The film has gone from something I automatically dismissed as an attempt to milk an out-of-date, silly sci-fi series (I really hated Tim Burton's soulless 2001 film) to something I would be happy to seek out on opening night. Again, that has a lot to do with the international feature trailer above.

Whereas the first trailer made the film look more like a horror/disaster film, with apes replacing zombies (admittedly something I wasn't expecting), the new trailer completely surprised me with its emotional focus. Rise looks nothing like what I was expecting, and I suspect I'm going to be as upset by this film as I was by Peter Jackson's King Kong.

Set in our contemporary reality, Rise of the Planet of the Apes sees brilliant young San Francisco scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) devise a brain stimulating cure for Alzheimer's Disease... no doubt motivated by his father's (John Lithgow) deteriorating condition. The drug, however, has an unexpected effect on chimpanzee test subject Caesar - portrayed by Gollum's Andy Serkis, in another motion-captured role. Caesar develops human-like intelligence, and, distrusted by his human handlers, finds himself frustratingly trapped between the worlds of ape and man. Revenge and revolution are the result.

For the record, rounding out Rise's mostly British cast are Freida Pinto, Brian Cox, Tom Felton and David Oyelowo.

Rise has already been announced as the intended starting point of a whole new Planet of the Apes series. However, regardless of anything else, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is going to be yet another mind-blowing showcase for special effects company WETA Digital. All the apes in Rise are, for the first time in a Planet of the Apes film, photo-realistic and computer generated, as opposed to simply being actors in costumes. If this new film is a box office hit, I think we can expect some more silverware in WETA's awards cabinet.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes opens in North America on 5 August. The film will release in South Africa a week later, on 12 August.


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