Keeping in mind just how different 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ended up looking and feeling from its 2011 predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I approached Thursday night’s New York Comic Con presentation of the forthcoming threequel War for the Planet of the Apes with no shortage of curiosity. How much will Caesar’s world have changed since we last saw him take up arms in the Muir Woods?
Although, as director Matt Reeves mentioned, War takes place a paltry two years after Dawn (which had trailed the franchise’s first chapter by an in-universe decade), the evening’s serving of world premiere footage from the 2017 film suggests that our hero and the neo-ape world’s alpha prime has brought his civilization quite a ways since our last check-in.
Reeves, producer Dylan Clark, and star Andy Serkis bequeathed unto a crowd of Con-goers a yet unfinished seven-minute sequence from War, and one depicting what appears to be a pivotal moment for Caesar and his inner circle.
Caesar and recognizable cronies Rocket (a fellow chimpanzee whose principal claim to fame, at least as far as my memory will carry, is having been cookied back in the pre-revolution days of Rise) and Maurice (the kindhearted orangutan with a soft-spot for youngsters and bookworms) close in, on horseback, on a human-occupied oyster shack on the California coast, taking out an armed adult man before he could get the drop on the bunch of them.
The trio explores the deceased man’s shack, finding, in addition to a fair helping of supplies and resources, a small child. While Caesar and Rocket survey the residence for whatever they can carry, Maurice takes note of the young girl’s apparent poor health, managing to comfort her by stroking her stuffed animal.
Although Caesar insists that she is not their burden—moreover, he implies she has no place among apekind—Maurice lets his intentions known: he cannot and will not leave her to suffer alone. The next thing we know, the silent child is riding backseat to Maurice as the apes trek the beach, presumably headed back home.
The scene cuts out there, espousing a good deal of excitement for what Caesar’s army is up to this time around. It’s worth nothing that the sequence hadn’t been completely translated into proper computer animation prior to its showcase. To clarify, where we’re expected to see fully formed apes come the movie’s theatrical release in July, we instead saw (at many, though not all points) colorless ape-shaped alien beings or, somewhat comically, human actors draped in cumbersome mo-cap suits.
On the other hand, the first full trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes offered a bona fide glimpse at what is yet to come. Caesar lays waste to encroaching enemy (human) soldiers before squaring off with head honcho of the homo sapiens: Woody Harrelson, a former U.S. Army ripped straight from Apocalypse Now, complete with full-on face paint and a head-shaving scene.
If there’s one overarching takeaway from the footage and trailer shared with us at the Con, it’s that War for the Planet of the Apes should indeed live up to its militant title.
Are you excited for the third chapter in this increasingly interesting franchise? Let us know!
And if you want, check out Clarke’s interview with Matt Reeves, Andy Serkis, and Toby Kebbell about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:[brightcove video_id=”4112795138001″ brightcove_account_id=”3653334524001″ brightcove_player_id=”2bfa565b-5412-4cfd-9211-6269880b8a5e”]
Images: 20th Century Fox