20th Century Fox presented footage from their summer and fall slates at Thursday’s CinemaCon, including a very awesome preview of this July’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
As you may know, the sequel takes place close to a decade after the events of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes where the remains of the human population of San Francisco have spent those years first fighting the virus that nearly led to their extinction and then a civil war amongst themselves.
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The apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis), meanwhile, have created their own primitive civilization in the Redwood forest. They ride horses, build huts, and some even carry knives and guns. They appear to be keeping to themselves, although the occasional stray human straggler will cross their paths. The apes try to avoid conflict, whereas the frightened human more often than not opts to shoot first.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Planet of the Apes movie without there being a (violent) conflict between apes and humans, and it certainly seems like humans will have to fight a third war, this one against the apes. We’re not sure what drives Caesar to abandon peace with humans, but whatever it is was enough for them to don warpaint and arm for battle.
The humans appear to be split into two factions, one led by Jason Clarke and his wife Keri Russell and the other, more militant group by Gary Oldman. Oldman’s character seemed very much in the vein of the Governor on The Walking Dead, while Clarke was like Rick Grimes. It’s an imperfect analogy, but there was definitely that type of dynamic between them.
The best part of the preview was the scene shown at the end where a pair of machine gun-toting men drinking booze in a ravaged structure encounter a lone ape. The humans are nervous but the ape approaches them doing silly rolls and hand-clapping — the sort of humorous behavior people expect from a circus ape. The ape sits down with them, makes goofy faces, even tries drinking their booze, which ends with him doing a spit take. Every Which Way But Loose this is not, though. The ape gets the drop on the men, grabbing one of their machine guns and blowing away one of the men before training the assault weapon on the surviving man. The look on the apes’ face was akin to Joe Pesci in GoodFellas barking “Funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?” Pretty chilling stuff.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens July 11.