Even though the (now, undeniable) blockbuster event of the summer, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, has opened, there are still several promising features on the immediate horizon – including the sci-fi prequel, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

There are three new TV spots, a “story” featurette, and a new international poster for the Planet of the Apes flick that you can check out. Before we do, though, this all begs the question: Is the new Apes movie poised to become the dark horse hit of the summer?

Considering what little fanfare surrounded Rise of the Planet of the Apes before the official teaser trailer was unveiled about two months back, it’s near impossible to deny that, for a long time, this was one franchise title that (frankly) most people were either apathetic or only mildly interested in, at best. That was also before Fox revealed the first (impressive) look at Andy Serkis’ latest motion-capture character: The revolution-leading chimp, Caesar.

For those who are late to the game, here is the official studio synopsis for the film:

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES combines fantastic storytelling with the next leap in Visual Effects for an emotional and action-packed motion picture experience unlike any other. Man’s arrogance sets off a chain of events that leads to intelligence in apes and a challenge to our place as the dominant species on the planet. Caesar, the first intelligent ape, is betrayed by humans and rises up to lead his species’ spectacular race to freedom and the ultimate showdown with Man.

The previously-released UK Apes trailer in particular not only painted Caesar’s journey as being a genuinely moving and tragic tale, it also continued to show off the film’s various mo-cap simian creations (chimps, gorillas, orangutans, etc.). By and large, WETA Digital (Avatar) appears to have come as close to creating expressive and realistic CGI animals as anyone else has before.

For more on all that, check out the Rise of the Planet of the Apes TV spots, featurette, and poster below:

At this point, there appear to be two big questions concerning potential pitfalls that Rise of the Planet of the Apes could fall into:

  1. WIll the main storyline of the film (ie. the sci-fi cautionary tale) feel too cliché or contrived for its own good?
  2. Can director Rupert Wyatt really fulfill his promise that the Apes prequel convincingly sets the stage for the downfall of humanity at the (fuzzy) hands of Caesar and his fellow revolutionaries?

So far, it seems like the “heart” of the film (the relationship between Caesar and his surrogate human family) will be key to the success of Apes. Going off how emotionally expressive and naturalistic Caesar appears to be (especially with regards to his eyes), it seems like the movie as a whole could work quite well – possibly, resulting in some nice business at the box office, too.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes hits U.S. theaters on August 5th, 2011.

Source: 20th Century Fox