A lot of Tom Hardy fans were looking forward to the new film where he plays a thickly accented schlub possessed of too much power who can’t deal with its consequences and, after leaving too much death in his wake, hits some major obstacles and faces the possibility of living out the rest of his life in powerless mediocrity. That was 2020, and we all agreed never to speak of Capone again. One year later Venom: Let There Be Carnage reminds us why Hardy rules, sometimes despite his surroundings.
While Hollywood executives and pundits rush to brainstorm excuses for this summer’s weak performance at the U.S. box office and blame anyone but themselves, too many debaters are forgetting not all the output was mediocre…which brings us at long last to War for the Planet of the Apes, a movie I liked so much that I had trouble finding anything remotely cogent to express about it beyond “It’s really good and Andy Serkis is awesome!”
Many of us here on the internet openly lament Hollywood’s fixation on sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots as their creative crutches of choice. Implicit in our grumbles is the broad assumption that all of those recycling methods are inherently bad by definition. We’re sometimes quick to forget within the space of 140 characters, for the sake of the snarky punchline, that such vehicles don’t have to be all bad. Their success rate is disappointing, but it’s far from 0%.
Last weekend, six of the top ten films on the box office chart were sequels. One was a sequel and a sort-of relaunch; one a sequel to a spinoff; one a sequel to a remake; and two were just plain sequels. And then there was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a loose do-over of 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes with the additions of one large MacGuffin and some expensive set pieces, any one of which probably cost five times Battle‘s miserly budget. Also, they smartly ditched the humans’ sci-fi B-movie costumes.
So Dawn is a sequel to a reboot and it’s a remake. Its pedigree is an anti-art hat trick. Somehow it’s also one of the best films of the summer.
Today marked the premiere of the first full-length trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the next entry in the apocalyptic series that’s so far been rebooted twice for theaters, this time with a bit more success. The new one comes from director Matt Reeves, who previously tinkered with disaster in Cloverfield; features MOCAP king Andy Serkis once again as Caesar, lord of the apes and probably their best public speaker; and includes human roles for the likes of The Gary Oldman, Fringe‘s Kirk Acevedo, and Jason Clarke, who was Zero Dark Thirty‘s friendly interrogator but seems much more stressed out here in this trailer than he was on the war front.