Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Info on New APES

The last time we talked about Fox's upcoming Planet of the Apes franchise revival Rise of the Apes was way back in June, when I noted that actor James Franco had been retained as "the human," and Andy Serkis (recently signed to revive his signature role of Gollum in Peter Jackson's Hobbit movie duo) was onboard to provide motion-capture for chimp revolutionary Caesar.  Since then, John Lithgow and Brian Cox and others joined the Rupert Wyatt-directed film, principal photography was completed, and still there wasn't much mention of the project in the mainstream or genre circles -- speaking to either a general lack of awareness or a general lack of interest (hopefully the former, possibly the latter).

The media blackout appears to be lifting somewhat however as we head towards Rise's summer launch, starting with this piece over at "Hero Complex" featuring an interview with Tom Felton, best known as Harry Potter's nemesis Draco Malfoy, now the human baddie in the new Apes.  In addition to Felton gushing about the script, the article also sheds some light on the new movie's marching orders, including its role as a prequel to the 1968 classic.  What's interesting about this, and I'm about to go way into the fanboy weeds here, is that the original series, which spanned five features, was built on a circular chronology, with the first two, Planet of the Apes and 1970's Beneath the Planet of the Apes set in a far flung future where apes are the dominant species and humans lowly animals.

I can feel your eyes rolling into the back of your head, but stay with me on this.  A time trip in movie three, Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971), sent two ape protagonists into their past (and our then-present), thus allowing the rest of the series (1972's Conquest of and 1973's Battle for) to close the loop on how the whole magilla (gorilla) started.  Thus, the fact that Rise, set in present day San Francisco, is set up as a prequel essentially makes it the "real" story of what happened on the monkey planet before all the time travel shenanigans unfolded in the latter sequels.  Yes, I'm fully aware that I'm probably the only person on Earth who that matters to.  Shut up.  Anyway, Rise of the Apes is scheduled to hit theaters in late June, so let's see what additional info we get between now and then.

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