Among the movies that will be releasing in 2014 are new installments in decades-old franchises once thought dead (after they jumped off the diving board into self-parody), in addition to a slate of Biblical epics and re-tellings for the new century. Indeed, while some genre properties are getting fresh reboots (see: Godzilla), others are striving to build on the momentum of their restart from just a couple years back.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one such film, as the followup to the acclaimed 2011 Apes installment, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. That film took in $482 million worldwide, and while the sequel features new faces behind the scenes and in front of the camera, it still includes the main attraction - Andy Serkis, putting his motion-capture performance talents to use to reprise as the genetically-engineered chimp leader, Caesar.
Meanwhile, the parade of Biblical blockbusters in 2014 will conclude with Exodus, a new rendition of the Moses story directed by Ridley Scott (back on his Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven playground). Headlining Scott's film is Christian Bale - having shed the 40 pounds that he gained for American Hustle - with a supporting cast that includes Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Scott's Alien star Sigourney Weaver - among others.
Empire has debuted a new image of Serkis in his mo-cap gear on the Apes set, in addition to the first still of Bale as the prophet Moses. Check them out, below:
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Anticipation for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is pretty high right now, following an initial trailer that teases a human/apes war following the collapse of human civilization, as envisioned by director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield). The original script draft was penned by Rise of the Planet of the Apes duo Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (before revisions were made by Mark Bomback (The Wolverine)), so to some degree the sequel ought to be a logical extension of the previous installment's narrative/themes.
Moreover, as discussed on a recent episode of the Screen Rant Underground Podcast, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes onscreen human star Jason Clarke is poised to breakout as a leading man, after years of shining bright as a supporting character actor (see: Zero Dark Thirty, Great Gatsby, etc.) - as we've seen evidence of already, with him being in talks for the Terminator reboot.
By comparison, Scott's recent output has fueled many an intense film geek debate (see Prometheus and The Counselor), but the subject matter, cast and December release position ought to serve Exodus well at the box office.
Darren Aronofsky's Noah will be first to test the waters (har, har), but pre-release buzz and the trailers make it clear that this project is foremost the Black Swan director's unique vision. Scott's movie, on the other hand, looks and sounds like a Hollywood take on the Bible in the more traditional sense, albeit molded with a budget far north of $100 million and a sensibility befitting the modern-day - hence, big set pieces, thousands of extras, and a star with emotional grit and presence like Bale.
Are both, either, or neither of the films discussed here on your must-see list for 2014? Let us know in the comments section!
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens in U.S. theaters on July 11th, 2014.
Exodus opens in theaters on December 12th, 2014.