Get ready, sci-fi fans, Caesar, leader of simian kind, is coming back to theaters. From 20th Century Fox, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which debuted in August 5, 2011, was a runaway smash hit. Popular drama The Help premiered around the same time, and even though it went on to earn Oscar nominations, the buzz over Apes nearly drowned out the other film. And The Wolverine scribe, Mark Bomback, is now on the job.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a re-boot of the classic science fiction series of Apes films. The first appeared in 1968, starring Charlton Heston as an astronaut who believes he has crash landed on a strange alien planet where apes are intelligent and capable of speech and rule over dimwitted humans. Of course the infamous twist comes at the end when he spies the Statue of Liberty and realized he’s standing on earth, in the distant future. There were four sequels to the original Planet of the Apes, and I love them all so much that I think I can give you a short summary.
Let’s see… We meet some intelligent and even frightening humans remaining on the Planet of the Apes. They are definitely odd, and they worship a nuclear bomb. They set it off at the end of film two and Taylor and Nova die. In film three, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Taylor’s intelligent ape pals, Cornelius and Zira, whose most remembered line from film one is, “I’d kiss you, but your so damned ugly,” escape the bombing of their planet by hopping into Taylor’s restored space ship. They end up in our modern-day, which at the time was 1973 (though the picture premiered in ’71). They become instant celebrities.
Cornelius and Zira have a child, which they name Milo, and Ricardo Montalbán hides him when his parents are tragically murdered. In film four, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, it is ten years later and Montalbán’s character Armando has re-named Milo with the familiar moniker, Caesar. He tries to protect Caesar, but a strange disease has killed off all of earth’s cats and dogs, so humans have adopted apes as pets. Of course, the apes get smarter and smarter and are becoming valets and personal assistants to the humans. Caesar ends up in the training facility, destined to become a servant and play dumb. As he is found out, he rebels, and then turns the world upside down by leading the rest of the apes to overthrow mankind.
That film was the closest to the 2011 revamp, which starred
Finally, in 1973, came film five, Battle for the Planet of the Apes. It is about twelve years later and Caesar is still in charge. He struggles to keep power away from the humans, while grappling with feelings of empathy for them.
The important news; however, is that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is coming on May 23rd, 2014. Andy Serkis is returning as Caesar. You know the drill. He wears all those sensors on his face and those translate into the finished product as Caesar emoting. I was amazed at how easy it was to connect with the digitally rendered ape in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
In this version of the mythology, in hunting for a cure for Alzheimer’s, Caesar, a regular ol’ chimp, is injected with a serum that makes him smarter than the average jungle dweller. He then leads a rebellion for his kind against mankind. Matt Reeves will direct the sequel and a screenwriter has just signed on. That’s Mark Bomback. He also wrote for Live Free or Die Hard as well as the Total Recall remake. Bomback knows action!
What an exciting job he has! The story will depict the fall of human civilization. There’s so many terrible things that can help tip the scales in ape favor. Which do you think he’ll choose?
All Ape films, including the latest re-boots, credit the book, Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle as their inspiration. Oops. I failed to mention Mark Wahlberg’s previous franchise re-boot. Oh yeah, that’s because I didn’t like it very much. Sorry!