Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is still filming, but that didn’t stop director Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke and Kerri Russell from coming to San Diego to give the Comic Con audience an early preview of the movie. The film was shooting this morning until 5am, which by that time already had thousands of people sleeping in line to get into Hall H for today’s big movie day. The cast and crew hopped on a plane and brought along an early teaser trailer.

Reeves warned that it takes ten to twelve weeks for weta to create a shot featuring fully realized apes, and since they’re still in production, the teaser only featured one such shot. After the jump you can read about what we saw in the teaser trailer, our thoughts, and what else was said during the panel.

Reeves revealed that was obsessed with Star Wars and Planet of the Apes as a kid. He always wanted to become an ape, and bought the Halloween masks but it never came close to the make-up effects seen in the film. When he saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes, he felt Andy and Weta were able to make him connect with the apes in a deeper way the other films never could. He was finally able to be one of the apes, albeit without any time in the makeup chair.

Reeves says that the story is Caesar-centric, set in a grander scale. This film is about how we get from a pandemic human virus shown at the end of Rise to “the planet of the apes” as seen in the original movie.

While Rise saw Caesar grow from an infant to a leader, Dawn shows how he becomes a leader with responsibility. He is trying to bring some of the humanity that he grew up with to the ape community. It is ten years later, and Caesar is now a father, has a wife, a teenage son and an infant child. The story revolves around what happens when the a group of human survivors suddenly show up and how the apes community react.

The teaser trailer, cut specifically for Cmic Con, features shots of the surviving human resistance entering the apes’ forrest community, cut with voiceover from Gary Oldman’s character talking about how they are on a mission to reclaim the land humans lost to the apes. Cut to an xtreme close up of Caesar’s eyes. It is immediately clear he is older, wiser, and very unhappy.

The camera pulls back to reveal he is wearing war paint, angrily waiting. The camera pulls back even more to reveal an army of apes hanging out in the trees behind Caesar, all of them getting ready for the moment, the moment to attack. In Caesar’s left hand is a weapon, and his right is raised to signal the army to hold in place. Finally he scowls more deeply, drops his hand, and we see the apes blur into movement. Cut to black and a reveal of title “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and a plug for theApes2014.com website. (That site features images such as the art seen above.)

I didn’t see enough of the human story to really form any opinions, but what seemed most obvious is that Caesar looks even more realistic and far more threatening than the last time we saw him in Rise. It’s an exciting tease, and I can’t wait to see more.

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