Most of the footage so far unveiled from Rise of the Planet of the Apes has focused on the darker twists and turns the sci-fi drama/thriller takes as it builds towards the eventual collapse of human society. That strategy has allowed 20th Century Fox to show off the state-of-the-art motion-capture effects that WETA Workshop developed in order to bring the rebellious non-human primates to life.
The Planet of the Apes prequel looks to have its share of melodrama as well - and not only due to the eventual (presumably, third act) plot twist where the titular simians revolt against their captors, but also because of the character arc undergone by the leader of the rebellion, Caesar (played by Andy Serkis).
Part of the official description of Rise of the Planet of the Apes reveals that the plot is really set in motion when "a single act of both compassion and arrogance leads to a war unlike any other." The deed in question is presumably performed by protagonist, Will Rodman (James Franco) - a scientist who tests the effectiveness of his cure for Alzheimer's disease on Caesar, with unexpected results.
As revealed in this new international Apes trailer, Will and his father (John Lithgow) actually begin to care for Caesar when he is just an infant, on through to his time as an adult. Caesar clearly forms a strong emotional bond to both his foster father and grandfather - even as things take a turn for the tragic, and the intellectually-advanced ape is imprisoned and abused by a different, cruel father-son duo (Brian Cox and Tom Felton).
Find out where that leads by watching the international Rise of the Planet of the Apes trailer below:
Caesar and his CGI ape compatriots may not always look completely convincing, but they're just as facially expressive and naturally mobile as WETA's other most famous mo-cap creation: the Na'vi in Avatar. That actually lends a more moving emotional undercurrent to the endearing and heart-felt moments involving Caesar, Will, and his father alike - which is good, since a story about a chimpanzee (even a genetically-altered one) bonding with humans could easily descend into schmaltzy territory. Fortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case here so far.
While there's also the risk that Rise of the Planet of the Apes could devolve into a conventional sci-fi cautionary tale, the biggest issue most people seem to have with the film is the idea that somehow Apes could actually overthrow contemporary human society. Apes director Rupert Wyatt has already spoken out about how the film is primarily focused on "leveling the playing field" to account for how the primate revolution eventually succeeds. Now we just have to wait and see the movie itself to find out if Wyatt and Co. can convincingly pull that act off.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes will hit theaters this summer on August 5th, 2011.
Source: 20th Century Fox