As an old-school Planet of the Apes fan (yes, I am old enough to have seen all of the originals in the theaters, largely thanks to re-releases and Saturday morning matinees when I was young), I was pleasantly surprised at how much I really liked 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and how much I’m looking forward to this year’s sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Of course, there is a sense of inevitability to these movies, as we at least assume we know where they are eventually heading. Actually, however, that’s not necessarily true. The conventional thinking, at least upon the announcement of these movies was that we’d eventually see a kind of “syncing up” with the originals and that we’d get to a point where you could just slot in the 1968 original, but I’m personally no longer convinced that’s the case.
Since those involved with these new films have obviously chosen to go their own way with the introduction of the “ape virus” as opposed to a nuclear holocaust as the genesis of the overthrow of mankind. (an origin that even the original five never really explained or brought us completely around to, despite the circularity of the time-travel aspects they eventually embodied), there really is no need for them to ever really have to “remake” or “re-envision” the original. Instead, it seems that what we could eventually wind up with is an entirely different timeline without Taylor, Cornelius, Zira, and the rest of the characters that we loved in the original series.
And that’s something I think I’d actually be fine with. Yes, I do love those characters, and would in a way love to see them eventually in this new series, but the truth is that a large part of the reason for that love is not because of the characters themselves, but because of their portrayals by Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, and the rest, and those are interpretations that cannot be recaptured, nor should anyone try. We’ve already seen where that can lead, and… well, while I don’t hate the 2001 interpretation as much as some, it does show that that kind of take really is unnecessary at best.
Instead, I am perfectly content to let the original five films stand on their own, as a complete series, and to simply follow this new series out to wherever it wants to go with the material. so far, it looks like we’re off to a good start and in good hands, and there is no reason for the creators of this new series to feel constrained by a need to come into line with what we have seen before. After all, there are plenty of directions this new storyline can be taken, and no matter where they go we will always have those originals, and there’s absolutely nothing to keep me from popping in the blu-ray of one of them whenever I want.
Which is how it should be.
Okay, with all of that said, here’s what you really came for: the latest trailer for the upcoming film.
So what do you think? Should these new movies eventually try to “meet up” with the originals? Or should they go in completely new directions? Or perhaps somewhere in between? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.