“There are times when it is necessary to abandon our humanity to save humanity.”
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes set a bold new tone for the long-running franchise, recasting the early days of the primate apocalypse as a bleak treatise on the zero-sum game of war. On both sides, Dawn did a phenomenal job of capturing how wars start, as a series of ego plays and grudges and misunderstandings that build on one another until one tragedy or another sets off the entire powder keg. But, y’know, with apes. A marvel of modern Hollywood filmmaking and motion-capture performances alike, Dawn managed to answer the question “what if a Planet of the Apes movie was made so well that Andy Serkis would draw genuine Oscar buzz?”
There was nowhere to go but down for humanity from where Dawn left off, and the latest War for the Planet of the Apes trailer suggests that things have only grown more dire for what’s left of mankind. The trailer offers a better look at Woody Harrelson’s desperate colonel, who amasses a merciless army to attempt a final stand against Caesar (Serkis) and the increasingly dominant ape population. Caesar, meanwhile, has to struggle with his beliefs of a united society in the face of war’s horrors, as he’s forced into doing the things that every general eventually has to do to win, and survive.
It says quite a bit about the state of the modern world when such a grim, fatalistic sci-fi saga can become one of Hollywood’s best-reviewed and most popular franchises, but that’s another op-ed for another time. War for the Planet of the Apes will be waged in theaters on July 14th, and director Matt Reeves will then move straight from one franchise to another as the new filmmaker behind The Batman.