Twentieth Century Fox has today released a brand new trailer for WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES which releases in cinemas July 2017. Andy Serkis returns as Caesar for the third chapter in the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise.
War For The Planet Of The Apes First Trailer
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES stars Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn and Toby Kebbell and is directed by Matt Reeves.
In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.
It is Sunday evening at 6pm, and for most of the afternoon I have been sitting uncomfortably in the Odeon Leicester Square in London watching a screening of Peter Jackson’s new LOTR movie, The Hobbit. Uncomfortably not just because the film is long (too long by far), and not just because the Odeon’s seats are ruthless on your nether regions (some padding towards the rear of the seat would be nice, guys!), but because as I watched this ‘epic’ I knew I would have to write the following words:
The Hobbit is a pretty bad film
Phew, there, I’ve said it. So, let’s start with Mr Jackson’s much vaunted 48fps HFR 3D technological breakthrough. Oh dear lordy, for all that is good in the world, let this technology die right now! I am a real fan of 3D movies, thinking they often have a certain additional depth to them that helps make the movie-going experience more immersive. But guys, what the heck went wrong with The Hobbit? Are you telling me that someone has sat down, watched the film on a big screen and signed off on it?! If they have then they deserve the sack, because this film looks bad, very bad. Now, let me discuss the 48fps issue. There have been accusations from early part-screenings that this process made the film look like an HD TV series, pristine and shiny. Jackson et al claimed this was because the film hadn’t been graded, coloured, and generally ‘film-ified’ yet. “Don’t worry” they said, “it’ll look epic and grand on final release”. Well my friends, we have been duped. It looks like the shiniest of shiny things ever. Pristine is a good word for it, but STERILE is a far better one. There is rarely a scene with any ‘filmic’ feeling to it, everything is just so goddamn clean and crisp and perfect. It really DOES look like a top end HD TV production. There are a few saving graces, such as the battle scenes and the Gollum cave sequence where things get better, mostly due to interesting lighting and darkness. But overall it is all way too clean to feel like a LOTR movie. Is this the end of the world, or the very start of a new one? Who can tell. It doesn’t destroy the movie but it does lack warmth and flavour and the heightened sense of reality forces you away from the film rather than bringing you closer to it.
But that’s not the real bugbear I have with 48fps, oh no. There was a much greater, more aggravating issue. Now, it may have been a technical fault with the Odeon’s brand spanking new equipment. Possibly they don’t have it ‘run-in’ quite correctly. But throughout the screening we were subjected to sudden and terrible speed-ups, where a person would be moving across screen and suddenly speed up for a second or two. Or when they were talking. Or during a battle scene. Or…well, so often I lost count. It was as if the film were buffering and catching up with itself. A symptom of 48fps technology and all-digital prints & projectors? I know not, but it really did destroy the film for me, it was like adding a Benny Hill sketch into an epic Western. Utter technical failure. End of story.
So what then of the Jackson claim that 48fps would enhance the Real3D experience and make the movie more immersive? Well, it might have if not for all of the above and the fact that it seems WETA allowed the work experiencers to do the CGI and blending. The Hobbit never once achieved what the previous LOTR films managed 90% of the time, and that was to blend the CG with the real and make it all seem as one. In scene after eye-sapping scene the CGI backgrounds and creatures looked like badly layered early 2000’s computer game characters. In fast moving scenes actors appeared completely disconnected from their surroundings. Feet floated above and away from CGI landscapes, and as for poorly matted and layered…don’t get me started. Who cleared this film for theatrical release? Technologically the 3D (except in close-ups and real landscape shots), looked cartoonish and low resolution. The blending of real and CGI was cringe-worthy, and the sense that you were watching a 10-15 year old computer game cut-scene built throughout the movie. If you HAVE to see this movie, see it in 2D, because the 3D print is truly lamentable.
So that is the technology considered, but what about the story, the plot, the purpose of the movie? Well, it’s not terrible. I honestly can’t say it is epic, or thrilling or life-changing. The sense of scope and proportion wanders between small and personal to grand and majestic. But it does so with stops and starts, stumbles and staggers. Rarely does The Hobbit flow from scene to scene. It is as though everything we loved about Peter Jackson’s vision and style in LOTR has been erased by The Lovely Bones and replaced by whip-pans, juddery camera moves and just-a-fraction-too-early editing style. Add in some often-wooden, occasionally forest-like acting (sorry Sir Christopher and Sir Ian!) and a dearth of believable side-characters and you are left with a movie that is an hour too long, and a soul too missing. Not to say there aren’t some good performances…Martin Freeman owns the role of Bilbo and is immediately loveable and relatable. King Thorin and a few of the dwarves are likeable and well-rounded. But Gandalf feels lacking in purpose or reason, Sir Ian offering a muted and not altogether weighty performance. Hugo Weaving appeared to have phoned his Elrond in from another film-set (while doing his best to sound like David Bowie in Labyrinth), and Sir Christopher Lee’s CGI’d in Saruman was so lacking in spirit it was a geek-tragedy. But in all this there was one shining light…the brilliant Sylvester McCoy as Radagast the Brown was pitch-perfect, mysterious and loopy yet courageous and outrageous. A true Tolkien character brought to life with flair and charm. If only the rest of the film could have been populated by such well-crafted and well-acted characters.
Once again, Andy Serkis comes to the rescue (although possibly not in his role of second-unit director). The scenes with Gollum and Bilbo under the mountain playing a game of riddles are superb. The CGI is magical, the setting exquisite, the lighting and blending spot-on. Why oh why couldn’t the rest of the film have been made with such love and care? Gollum is a whole new creature here, expressive and exciting, terrifying and unstable. You feel the threat he poses, and yet you continue to sympathise with him. His look of pain, anguish and sadness at losing his precious is heartbreaking. Congratulations to the Gollum team who produced another unsurpassed moment of movie magic.
While in no way perfect, the story is certainly interesting and stays pretty close to the book. The additions of some Dwarf/Orc history are superbly handled (with some of the better CGI work employed here). It is to the film’s credit that the backstory to the Dwarf’s quest is explained so well and so succinctly. I’m not so sure about some of the ‘fan service’ additions, such as lines repeated from the original trilogy, and knowing nods and winks. But all in all the film trots along its trail without too many stumbles. Sadly, our return to Rivendell is marred by it looking like a matte-painting taken from a late 80s kids TV show. In fact a lot of the film feels oddly akin to a Russell T Davies CBBC series…lots of running around in front of green-screen and a set of CGI backgrounds that feel like updates on the old Captain Zep early 80s technology. My over-riding thought throughout The Hobbit was that I was hankering after watching some classic Knightmare episodes, rather than wanting to keep watching the film. I might just do that, or put Labyrinth on…something with way more character, soul and sense of the epic.
I really was looking forward to The Hobbit. While the book is certainly a classic, it has never been a rip-roaring adventure tale. However, the masterpieces that were the original LOTR trilogy had me believing Peter Jackson & co would pull something special out of their knapsack. Unfortunately all they’ve done is tire my bottom out, give me a sense of loss and annoyance, and made me want to go find the person who is pushing 48fps Real3D technology and introduce them to the words ‘Over my dead body!’
With the Hobbit we return to Middle Earth, but it isn’t how we remember it. It is all shiny and computery and cut-sceney. It is full of pixels and cartoonish speed-ups. It groans with the weight of expectation and falls flat on its need for putting technology before storytelling. Please Mr Jackson, re-grade and re-colourise the film, put it in 2D and turn the volume down just a tad…cut about 40-60 mins from it and sort out the lack of scope. THEN I’ll be the first in line to buy the Blu-ray edition!
I?ll start with a confession?I, Neil Gardner enjoyed the Tim Burton remake of the original film. OK, the ending was silly, but the ape affects were good, the storyline faithful (ish) and Helena Bonham-Carter made for one curiously attractive simian (which mirrored, somewhat, the original book?s almost-relationship between man and ape) Anyway, I just wanted to say that, clear the air and now we can move on.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a very clever film indeed. Fears of remake-hell have been consigned to the rubbish-bin of internet paranoia, as Rupert Wyatt?s film is a prequel. But before you get visions of Gungans and trade disputes, this is one prequel you will be VERY happy to sit through. A superb ?how it all began? plot, with a plethora of nods to the original movie (not the Burton one, shame!) the film deals with the dual storylines of ape ascendency and the slow downfall of mankind.
As with the original film(s), there is very little of Pierre Boulle?s novel in here. Some themes do survive, including vivisection and research, inter-species relationships and superiority complexes. I for one would like to see a film version of the book, just to see what it could be like. And if anyone were to do it, Rupert Wyatt and the WETA Workshop team should do it, because with Rise of the Planet of the Apes they have brought us a masterpiece of live-action and CGI-as-reality. The motion-capture techniques WETA have been pioneering since Lord of the Rings come to the fore here, with not one, but numerous fully-rendered, stunningly realistic digital ape characters. Led by a career-defining performance by the superb Andy Serkis, the motion-capture artists are the real stars of the film. Working in concert with WETA?s animators, this team of stunt-people and performers bring to life an army of apes that at no time seem fake or plastic. This is the first CGI heavy film I have seen where the effects matte in perfectly, and where the HD nature of Blu-ray doesn?t show up the deficiencies of the CGI process.
The plot follows the birth of chimpanzee Caesar (played by Serkis), genetically altered and ?rescued? from the lab by a scientist (an underwhelming James Franco) who is trying to cure Alzheimer?s. As the ape grows and ages, his intelligence grows with him, leading Franco to try the drug out on his ill father, who rapidly recovers from his Alzheimer?s. All goes well for several years, with Franco meeting and falling in love with a ?sexy? zoo vet (Freida Pinto) and Caesar getting ever-more intelligent. But, as predictable as the pointless ?love story? is, so too is Caesar?s sudden anger management breakdown and subsequent removal to a handily local ?ape sanctuary?. The sanctuary not only recuses/imprisons chimps, gorillas and orang-utans, but also British actors, as both Brian Cox (not the nerdy physicist) and Tom Felton (being just as nasty as he was as Draco Malfoy) are pretty much locked in, not just as ape-keepers, but also as bad-guys (I do hope Felton gets to stretch himself sometime soon, I would hate for such a promising talent to be resigned to generic bad guy roles). From here on in Caesar learns about the ?plight of apes? and the story builds towards the inevitable escape and revolution. Throughout there is a subplot about how the human race is slowly being infected and wiped out by the same drug that has caused the apes? increased intelligence, as well as a brilliant but subtle nod to the original Charlton Heston film and how that movie?s events are set in motion.
So?does this ever-so-clever prequel work? Yes, it does?oh boy does it! In spades. This is one of the finest films of recent years, with an impressive merging of physical and digital effects, stunning performances from Andy Serkis and his ape troupe, and a storyline that gets just about everything right. John Lithgow gives the movie heart as the father with Alzheimer?s, and the issues surrounding animal testing are never painted as purely black and white. Does the movie need the Franco/Pinto love story?no. Are there occasional ?WHAT?!? moments?yes. But do these small mis-steps matter?no, not at all! This is a superb film that entertains from the very first minute to the closing credits (don?t miss the great use of a map over the end credits to progress the death-of-humanity plotline). I for one hope there will be a sequel to this prequel. More Andy Serkis is never a bad thing. And who knows, maybe we?ll get to see the death of sappy love sub-plots as well as the death of mankind?! We can only hope.
The Blu-ray has one of the finest images I have yet seen, with a wonderful audio track. The usual problem of HD Blu-ray showing up the matte lines with CGI is much less of an issue in this presentation (although there is a slightly dodgy helicopter shot towards the end!) The apes look real?seriously, they do. You will not be disappointed with how this film looks and sounds, and it could even become a go-to disc for showing off your system to friends and family.
The disc includes several interesting making of documentaries, including a fascinating behind the scenes look at the finale bridge scene and how WETA worked with multiple motion capture artists outside (a world first), plus a much-deserved ?The Genius of Andy Serkis? feature which, as the name suggests, waxes lyrical about what an incredible actor and performer Mr S is (and I should know, I had the pleasure of directing him in a 13-part comedy drama audio series back in 2007, and he was excellent, and yes, a very nice bloke too!)
So, if you are looking for a great film, that will suit just about anyone?s tastes, that will engage your brain and entertain the rest of your body, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one to go for. The revolution has begun, and this time it is furry with long prehensile arms.
A single act of both compassion and arrogance leads to a battle unlike any other when RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES makes its worldwide debut on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on December 13 th in North America and starting December 7 th Internationally.? From the Oscar-winning? visual effects team that brought to life the worlds of Avatar and Lord of the Rings comes revolutionary new ground – a CGI ape that delivers a dramatic performance of unprecedented emotion and intelligence, and epic battles on which rest the upended destinies of man and primate.
James Franco ( 127 Hours ) stars as Will Rodman, a neuroscientist living in ?San Francisco trying to develop a cure for Alzheimer?s disease by testing on chimpanzees, giving them a human level of intelligence.? After a test subject?s baby, Caesar, is orphaned, Will decides to raise him at home on his own with his Alzheimer-stricken father (John Lithgow; ?Dexter?).? What begins simply as a continuation of his experiment quickly turns into a problem for Will, as Caesar is taken away from him and forced to live in a primate facility.? As Caesar?s intelligence continues to grow, he begins to stake his claim as the leader of his new primate counterparts, which will ultimately lead to the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES .
Directed by Rupert Wyatt ( The Escapist ), this special effects blockbuster features fantastic supporting performances from Freida Pinto ( Slumdog Millionaire ), Brian Cox ( Red ), Tom Felton ( Harry Potter films) and Andy Serkis ( The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) in a ground-breaking performance.? The RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Blu-ray is a must-own and loaded with bonus material and behind-the-scenes features.
RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Blu-ray & DVD
UK Release date: 12 th December 2012
Running Time: 104 minutes
Format: Blu-ray Triple Play and DVD
Price (BD): ?24.99
Price (DVD): ?19.99
Planet of the Apes Evolution Collection (BD): ?79.99
Planet of the Apes Evolution Collection (DVD): ?44.99
Special Features ? DVD
? ???????? Digital Copy
? ???????? 2 Deleted Scenes
? ???????? Mythology of the Apes
? ???????? Studying the Genius of Andy Serkis
Special Features ? Blu-ray Triple Play
? ???????? Digital Copy
? ???????? 12 Deleted Scenes
? ???????? Pre-vis for The Future
? ???????? The Evolution of Apes
? ???????? Studying the Genius of Andy Serkis
? ???????? Multi-Angle: Rocket Cookie Scene
? ???????? A New Generation of Apes
? ???????? Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries
? ???????? Breaking New Sound Barriers: The Music and Sound Design of Rise of the Planet of the Apes
? ???????? Ape Facts
– ????????? Chimpanzee
– ????????? Gorilla
– ????????? Orangutan
? ???????? Audio Commentary by Director Rupert Wyatt
? ???????? Audio Commentary by Writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver