During a recent showcase of its 2017 movies, 20th Century Fox revealed footage for War for the Planet of the Apes, Logan, Alien: Covenant, and A Cure for Wellness. We’ll have details on each in the weeks ahead based on what we saw, starting today with the next Apes film.
Director Matt Reeves showed different scenes from the movie in various stages of production. There may be some minor spoilers below. If you haven’t seen it already, check out the latest trailer for the movie.
War takes place two years after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The apes have gone deep into the woods as their war continues due to the actions of Koba. What remains of the US Army won’t forgive Koba’s actions. In the first clip we saw, the army heads into the woods in full force. They’ve heard of the “legend” of Caesar. It’s believed he is commanding the apes from somewhere in the woods, but they’ve been searching for him the last two years. Some don’t believe he exists, but Woody Harrelson’s character, a ruthless colonel, believes he does.
It’s clear from this scene we’re getting a heavy war film. When the humans find the apes, it’s a brutal attack. They’ve brought in as much firepower as they can while the apes simply have spears and other handmade weapons. The fight soon changes as ape reinforcements arrive to turn the tides.
In the second scene, the movie seems to shift a little. Caesar feels guilty for not seeing Koba’s darkness. After all the losses the apes have suffered in this war, he has to start turning against humans for the first time. As Caesar and three other apes head into the Sierras in pursuit of Harrelson’s men, they come across a human. When he pulls a gun, Caesar has no choice but to shoot and kill him. It turns out the man had a daughter who can’t take care of herself. Maurice, the orangutan, convinces Caesar to bring her with them. Reeves mentioned the girl is critical to the movie. She could be the key in helping Caesar find out more about humanity and shed his desire for revenge.
The third scene introduces Steve Zahn’s character, a chimp from the Sierra Zoo. New tones are being explored in this installment. While there are dark moments with the war aspect, Zahn allows humor to come in. His character is both heartbreaking and funny. When humans became sick and monkeys became more intelligent, people killed all of the apes in the zoo. Zahn’s character was able to escape and found a human quarantine facility. Caesar thinks that could be where the army has retreated.
Reeves talked about how the technology used to create the apes’ animations has changed with each movie. They can now film and do motion capture in different locations. Weta has improved the way it captures the expressions for the apes. With the various footage shown, we were able to see some side-by-side shots of the actors portraying the apes.
The world in this movie gets larger. It will be a mix of a war movie, a western, a mystery, and battle of wills. War for the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters on July 14, 2017.