When “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” premiered on August 5, 2011 it caught everyone off guard who was expecting a cynical attempt to cash in on a dormant franchise with golden brand name recognition. Instead of an exploitive popcorn flick, director Rupert Wyatt and screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver delivered an instant, modern classic featuring an unforgettable main character, Caesar, brought to life in a knockout performance by Andy Serkis, with flawless special effects by Weta Digital of “Avatar” and “Lord of the Rings” fame.
Despite the state of the art (and stunning) visuals, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was a throwback film. It was under two hours long, an extreme rarity in today’s marketplace of bloated, over stuffed movies with multiple false endings. On the contrary, “Rise” was a tight, fast paced beautifully shot and staged film. It was an emotionally rich, character driven story that harkened back to the days of Spielberg’s humanistic approach to science fiction in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977) and “E.T.” (1982).
“Rise” opened to strong reviews reminiscent of 2009’s equally innovative “District 9” and fans appreciated the new age approach as well as the various homages to the original classic franchise.
But sequels to great films often bear the greatest of burdens. There is a whole new set of challenges to overcome and expectations to meet, so when word got out that director Rupert Wyatt would not be on board, fans understandably became nervous. After all, with the exception of “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” (1972) (which “Rise” was sort of based on), the sequels in the classic franchise were vastly inferior to the original masterpiece.
Then new director Matt Reeves did various interviews where he talked about how much he admired the emotional richness of Rupert Wyatt’s approach to “Rise” and wanted to keep that intact in the sequel. And now, fans who were swept up in the emotional drama and action of “Rise” can breathe a sigh of relief because the new full trailer to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is out and it looks fantastic. It confirms that Reeves has indeed kept the emotional intensity intact and the story focus on Caesar.
The new trailer has been very well received and it appears 20th Century Fox Films is excited about the film as well, moving its release date up to July 11th.