It's been quite a long journey back to the planet of the apes. After Tim Burton and Mark Wahlberg's 2001 remake failed to set hearts ablaze, talk of new entries in the storied franchise quickly fizzled out. Maybe public interest in the movies had waned; maybe, gasp, people no longer found super intelligent apes to be that scary anymore. There were rumors of a new "Apes" project as far back as 2008, but of course, rumors have to be taken with a grain of salt.
But there'll be no more monkeying around: after months of buildup (and one heck of a tease), the first trailer for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" debuted this morning on Apple. Helmed by "The Escapist" director Rupert Wyatt and dropping this summer, the prequel will show how Earth went from civilization to Charlton Heston in chains. Apparently, it only takes two hours.
After the jump, see what we picked out from the trailer, what we liked and why we'll be in line in our Dr. Zaius costumes come August 5.
Over the last few years James Franco has proved himself quite the Renaissance man, whether taking a stab at being a short story writer (last year's "Palo Alto"), hosting the Oscars or doing a decidedly camp guest appearance on "General Hospital." But in "Apes," Franco seizes the role that makes or breaks male actors: the action blockbuster leading man. While the trailer didn't show too many shots of Franco in action, it looks like he'll play a huge role as his hubris leads to the test apes going, well, ape.
Not that shiny things dazzle us, but it seems like CGI has taken a cosmic leap in quality over the last year. Witness the special effects in "Apes," created by WETA Digital ("Avatar," "King Kong") -- we've never seen monkeys so emotive, not even the ones at the zoo trying to get your attention.
The Science Fiction
Would an attempt at curing Alzheimer's really lead to super apes? Probably not! But it looks like the movie will ground the explanation for the apes' sudden evolution in modern science for the best type of sci-fi premise: how our world could drastically change in the blink of an eye.
The Supporting Cast
Summer blockbusters are still movies--they rely on their cast, not just the special effects budget. So it's refreshing to see "Apes" filled with quality supporting actors like Freida Pinto ("Slumdog Millionaire"), Tom Felton ("Harry Potter") and Brian Cox (just about everything).
And, Of Course, The Apes!
There's nothing scarier than contemplating what would happen if the animals wised up and realized that humans are soft, weak flesh bags. The quick glimpses of the superintelligent apes breaking into people's homes, menacingly surrounding that poor scientist, and actually jumping off a bridge onto a freaking helicopter perfectly show how much havoc they could wreak if this movie actually played out in real life. Yikes. Let's stop animal testing forever.
Tell us what you thought of the "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" trailer in the comments section and on Twitter!