Friday, 7 May 2010

Planet of the CGI apes

Planet of the Apes 40 anniver AP Mary Altaffer
Fox has released more details regarding the Planet Of The Apes prequel/reboot, which was originally called Caesar when Scott Frank was attached to write and direct, but which they're now tentatively calling Rise Of The Apes.

Here's the press release:

"Twentieth Century Fox has set a June 24, 2011 release for RISE OF THE APES, a completely new take on one of the Studio’s most beloved and successful franchises. Oscar®-winning visual effects house WETA Digital – employing certain of the groundbreaking technologies developed for AVATAR – will render, for the first time ever in the film series, photo-realistic apes rather than costumed actors.

Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark will produce for Chernin Entertainment under its new pact with Fox. Acclaimed filmmaker Rupert Wyatt (“The Escapist”) is directing from a screenplay by Amanda Silver & Rick Jaffa, who also are producing.

RISE OF THE APES (tentative title) is an origin story in the truest sense of the term. Set in present day San Francisco, the film is a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy."

Now, I thought Wyatt's debut feature The Escapist was pretty damn good, and I wish him luck with this, but I'm not sure about CGI apes. The series has always relied on actors in makeup, and whatever you think of Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes, it features terrific work from Rick Baker and his team.

This move signifies a major departure for the Apes films. Is it the right one? Only time will tell...


J.D. said...

Oh man, does THIS sound like a bad idea...

Mark Salisbury said...

My thoughts exactly.

Hal Gracie said...

Having just bought Mark's Planet of The Apes book, and given the film another viewing this morning as a result, the only thing the 2001 film got 100% right was putting actors in Ape costumes. It was superb make-up work which somehow didn't stop the actors putting their own stamp on their characters. Not to mention the fact that Helena somehow looks very delectable even under all that make-up.

I still hated the film though. But given the poor hit rate many 'great' directors actually have, I can allow Burton this one minor disaster. There were just so many bad ideas and bizarrely thought out moments. Thade kills two guards who show him the crashed pod. And he does this by repeatedly punching their armoured back plates?!?! And the moment Whalberg is asked who he is and answers 'Leo Davidson, US Air Force' it was pure 'Flash Gordon, Quarterback, New York Jets' without the wit or self awareness. Even the lighting and production design gave the film an odd, cheap look like a jungle porn film (not helped by the 'humans', especially Estella Warren who looks like she's actually in a jungle porn film).

The book was very interesting though, especially as the film wasn't well received in the end. (I also managed to find the Corpse Bride book which is a beautiful thing indeed).