Caesar and his ape allies encounter a possible new friend in the form of "Bade Ape" in a new clip from War for the Planet of the Apes. With the film reaching theaters in a month (as of this writing), 20th Century Fox has gone into marketing overdrive to promote their latest summer blockbuster. Trailers and TV spots so far have done an excellent job setting up an epic conflict between simians and humans for the fate of the world, as Caesar matches wits with the Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson. The franchise has become known for its moral ambiguity (where even the "villains" have a point), and hopefully that continues in this third installment.
As advertising chugs along, fans have gotten a look at Caesar's fateful first meeting with the young human girl Nova - a character poised to have a meaningful role in the story. While War continues the series tradition of filling out its human roles with new faces, the sequel is also adding some new chimps to the mix. In the footage you can watch above, Caesar discovers a frail ape referred to as "Bad Ape" living by himself in the wilderness.
During their conversation, Caesar learns that Bad Ape was originally from a zoo and has been on his own for a "long time." It seems that all the other primates from there were killed by humans after the effects caused by the medication in Rise of the Planet of the Apes caused people to get sick while increasing the apes' intelligence. It's difficult to say for sure, but this clip appears to come from a crucial moment in the film, given that Caesar discovers Bad Ape has escaped from a "human zoo" where the Colonel's soldiers presumably are. Caesar asks to be taken there, but Bad Ape refuses since it's much safer where they are. After years of isolation, Bad Ape is just happy to be in the company of friends again.
Actor Steve Zahn, who plays Bad Ape in the movie, has said in the past the character is meant to be comic relief. That's illustrated here by his tripping over himself as he runs to get food for his newfound companions. War is designed as a serious sci-fi drama with heavy themes, but it's nice to see director Matt Reeves inject some levity throughout. The Bad Ape character doesn't clash tonally with the rest of the movie, as his characterization is subtle enough to not stand out like a sore thumb. He's a broken and beaten survivor who's excited to be part of a group again. It's also worth pointing out that Bad Ape's name stems from his human "caretakers" at the zoo reprimanding him. He's not an antagonist - unless the filmmakers have a twist up their sleeves.
With few exceptions like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman, this summer movie season has been defined by one disappointment after another - whether they be critical or commercial (and in some cases, both). As viewers look ahead to the next couple of months, War for the Planet of the Apes is certainly one of the more anticipated titles, and many are hopeful it can round out Caesar's story on a high note. The previous two entries in this series have done quite well, setting the stage for what should be a thrilling finale. Time will tell how critics respond to it, but War looks to deliver an emotionally engaging blockbuster.
Source: 20th Century Fox
- War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) release date: Jul 14, 2017