A sci-fi franchise about highly intelligent monkeys who enslave humans isn't something you simply cast aside and forget about.
Tim Burton's 2001 "Planet of the Apes" reboot didn't fly with audiences, both financially and critically, so it was back to the drawing boards. What Fox has whipped up for us a decade later looks... well, conceived on a drawing board.
The highly scientific trailer for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" takes us back to a time before primates walked upright and hunted down homo sapien savages with nets and rifles. The good old days, if you will.
James Franco plays the lead scientist on the development of a new drug called "The Cure," able to repair injured/infected human brains. Unfortunately, the treatment's side effect gives the test apes increased intelligence and sends them rampaging through the streets in a murderous frenzy.
Will the humans be able to stop them? See the original "Planet of the Apes" for the answer.
As with all prequels, "RotPotA" stands the chance of undermining its previous installments by awkwardly catering to the logic and plotlines presented by those originals while trying to play by its own set of rules. That can be a messy, complicated venture, but the film makes a wise choice by distancing itself (other than in name) from the '60s era films, loosing cheap callbacks or references and sticking to its own heart.
"RotPotA" doesn't look like an action movie through and through -- unless Franco's character reaches his end point early on, he'll be interacting with his test monkeys for a good portion of the film, learning what makes them tick and eventually want to rip his guts out. "RotPotA" may be the big budget medical ethics film we've all been waiting for. PETA will be thrilled.
The trailer only teases the leader monkey Caeser -- which we see Franco choose at the beginning of the spot -- but rumblings from the net (and script changes -- the film was formerly titled "Caeser") suggest he's the star of the film. The work WETA ("Avatar") has done to make him a real entity looks astounding and actor Andy Serkis, who played the motion capture character Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" films, appears to once again give a knock out performance behind the guise of computer generated imagery. The scene in which Caeser grabs food from Franco is downright chilling.
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" hits theaters August 5, 2011. Watch the trailer below or in HD on Apple.