Thursday, April 14, 2011

APES Trailer Rises!

Yes, the day is finally upon us. After months of incessant whining from me for the Fox marketing gurus to get the lead out, the first teaser trailer is here for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the studio's attempted re-reinvention of the classic Apes brand after the failed Tim Burton reboot of ten years ago. Check out the embed below, or the HD version over at Apple. My thoughts after watching it through a couple of times now: though cautious, I'm also optimistic. The motion capture ape effects are pretty darn impressive, and it's easy to see why the digital wizards at WETA get the marquee namecheck as opposed to the director, writers, or stars. Also, though the trope of "Man meddles in things he shouldn't, pays the price" isn't exactly new, it's also what the entire original Planet of the Apes cycle is built on so, it's at least of a piece with its predecessors.

I'm genuinely curious to see how much the film ties in, if at all, with the extant Apes canon, but I think the teaser does do a very nice job of infusing a feeling of foreboding and building dread (not unlike a Romero Dead flick) as it slowly reveals the hordes of super-intelligent simians that'll eventually hunt Charlton Heston in a cornfield two-thousand years hence (and forty-three years ago). I'm down for this, but then I was always going to be down for it. The real question is how effectively it plays with mainstream auds, and that's something over which I still have some concerns. On the eve of an exceptionally busy summer movie season that has would-be blockbusters piled practically end-to-end, Rise doesn't have very much juice going for it, but this is one instance (like my hope for X-Men: First Class) where lowered or non-existent expectations might work in its favor.


Abdul-Halim V. said...

Nice trailer. I'll probably see it but it seems as if the apes don't talk so instead of being a thoughtful social commentary or some kind of allegory for race relations or other sorts of political upheavals it will probably come off as a monster movie (a la the birds, jurassic park, etc.)

by the way, I've gotten my latest Planet of the Apes franchise fix from comic book stores. There was actually a miniseries called Revolution on the Planet of the Apes which was mostly a sequel to Conquest of the Planet of the Apes which does a decent job of fleshing out some of the
continuity issues which were left by the films.

Have you read the original novel?

Zaki said...

I'm guessing that the focus in this one is more on the "Frankenstein" idea of man meddling with things he's not supposed to. My understanding is that Andy Serkis as Caesar is the co-lead along with Franco, so my hope is that they do a little more to develop the other apes rather than just have them glower and throw poop at people.

The REVOLUTION mini was outstanding. I was pleasantly surprised at how good at it was, as I haven't ever really been blown away by any APES comics in the past. It fits seamlessly between the movies and actually makes some of the stupider things about BATTLE slightly less so. I'm very excited to see what Boom! Studios does with the APES comics license.

I have indeed read the Boulle novel. I think the original movie is one of those rare instances where the movie adaptation of a literary work ends up surpassing it. Not to say the novel is bad, but I think the film version overcomes many of its structural problems, and is overall more engaging.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

The things I liked most about the comic are how at acknowledged the inconsistent continuities across the movies by saying explicitly that people keep going back in time and changing things. And although it was weird, I liked how they explicitly said that Ceasar somehow had mental powers which evolved the other apes around him (otherwise it would have been hard to explain how that female ape was able to talk by the end of Conquest...)

Regarding the novel, the thing I liked about it was the fact that they explicitly had Taylor / Ulysses learning the Ape language which was different from his own.

One of my pet peeves about the Planet of the Apes movie was that Heston lands on a planet where the Apes apparently speak American English but he doesn't realize that he's on earth till he sees the Statue of Liberty. And I actually kind of liked the cynicism of the original novel where human supremacy is apparently a rare thing and the law of the universe seems to be ape dominance.

Zaki said...

The language thing is a pretty tough not to crack. Of all the complaints that people have about the original movie, I think that's the one with the most foundation. Maybe a scene like in THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR where you slowly see Taylor learning the ape language and then using it could have worked. Not sure how effective that would have been either, though...