20th Century Fox released a new featurette for the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes recapping the journey of Caesar and the human race thus far. It also reminds you of James Franco’s role in the downfall of civilization.
I have always been a big Planet of the Apes fan from the time AMC aired all five of the original films on holiday weekends. They range from thought-provoking to cheesy. Even uninspired ideas — like casting James Franciscus to stand in for Charleton Heston in Beneath the Planet of the Apes — made for a fun afternoon at the movies. Sadly, the 2001 Tim Burton Planet of the Apes remake was neither thought-provoking nor cheesy despite some of the best ape makeup ever realized. It seemed the franchise had met a mediocre end. But this recent series, initiated by 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, took the best of the original series and created a shockingly great on-going tale of early Ape society.
And while I might kid about James Franco’s role in the rise of the apes, this featurette reminded me that Caesar’s story began with a child’s wish to save his father. That surprising depth is one of the great hallmarks of the Apes films, all the way back to the 1968 original. In fact, it makes me wonder how much of a callback War will have to Franco’s character. In the last film, it nearly stopped the war from happening at all.
War for the Planet of the Apes opens on July 14th