Tim Burton's 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes was so hated that even a decade later the idea of a big-budget prequel starring James Franco opposite a motion-captured chimpanzee was met with skepticism, to say the least. Still, director Rupert Wyatt's 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes was not only a big success, but also far better - and more moving - than many were expecting.
Thus are the expectations high for next month's sequel, Dawn of the Planet of Apes, with Cloverfield director Matt Reeves stepping in for Wyatt. Set eight years after Rise, the film's final theatrical trailer gave us our best look yet at the inevitable conflict between the rapidly evolving ape population led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the desperate human population, decimated by the lab-engineered simian virus which accidentally brought humanity to its knees.
Now, two new extended television spots from the U.K. hone in on the fear and distrust of the human survivors, led by Gary Oldman's Dreyfus, and their need to project their frustration and hostility onto the only target they see: Caesar's apes. The TV spots focus on one specific human in particular: the character named Carver, played by Kirk Acevedo (Fringe, The Walking Dead).
The first spot, which you can watch above, reintroduces the apes before focusing on Acevedo as a kind of proxy for the nervous, fearful humans as a whole. The second spot (below) shows Acevedo with the humans, led by Jason Clarke and Keri Russell, who are sympathetic to the apes and understand that the devastating effect of the virus was not their fault.
For a summer blockbuster full of action and impressive spectacle, Rise of the Planet of the Apes contained an exploration of humanity and identity which was at times surprisingly subtle. Dawn appears to have significantly upped the scale of the action, but looks to explore some similarly heady themes as its predecessor.
These spots complement each other nicely, with Acevedo's Carver serving as a proxy for the distrust evident in the majority of the remaining human population.
If Rise can be seen as a metaphor for modern genetic research gone completely haywire, then perhaps Dawn's subtext will prove equally relevant, as the perennial human traits of wild distrust and the deep need to blame and lash out in the face of the unknown remain as widespread as ever.
We'll find out in just under a month.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will open in theaters on July 11th, 2014.