War. War never changes. Well, except when the opposing army is made up of angry intelligent apes or time-warping aliens - that's a pretty big change. War is the theme of quite a few upcoming summer blockbusters, and among them are "All You Need is Kill" adaptation Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, and the highly-anticipated, verbosely-titled Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
The first of these sci-fi movies is about a rookie soldier called Bill Cage (Cruise) who is killed within a few minutes of his very first day on the battlefield, only to wake up before the battle ever takes place. Having absorbed an unusual ability from the aliens that humanity is fighting, Bill is able to repeat the same day over and over, getting slightly more skilled with each repetition, and desperately tries to find a way to win the battle and escape his own death.
A new TV spot for Edge of Tomorrow makes a decent attempt at conveying this premise in the space of half a minute, and also shows off some of the near-future technology that's featured in the movie - most notably, the military exoskeletons that allow Cage and his fellow soldiers to leap around the battlefield with ease and carry enormous weights (Blunt's character, Rita Vrataski, uses a helicopter blade as a melee weapon).
In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, hero and leader of the San Francisco ape community, Caesar (Andy Serkis), does not want to go to war. Neither does human ambassador Malcolm (Jason Clarke), who approaches the apes with the intention of creating a mutually beneficial alliance between the two species. After so many years of humans blaming apes for the manmade Simian Flu virus, however, the clash between these two tribes seems doomed to end in conflict.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes also got a new TV spot this week, and as with the most recent trailers it reinforces the idea that Caesar comes to see Malcolm in the same light as his surrogate father, Will Rodman, from Rise of the Planet of the Apes. James Franco will not return in this sequel (there's a very good chance that Will was killed off by the Simian Flu), but he does get a brief cameo in camcorder footage.
It would be nice to think that a single human-ape friendship will be powerful enough to prevent war, but given Caesar's statement - that "War has already begun" - things aren't looking that hopeful.
Edge of Tomorrow is out in theaters on June 6th, 2014, followed by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on July 11th.