'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' Trailer: Is This the Ape v. Man Battle We've Been Waiting For?

With a new trailer wall-to-wall with looming simians, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes promises what may well be an ape-versus-man battle that's been two films in the making. Or else we're just setting ourselves up for disappointment again. 

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In the new trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, our good pal Caesar is still working on his language development, and also working on that thing where he's amassed an army of his own kind that will end up ridding the planet of humans once and for all. At least, that's where we all assume this thing is headed. What with the "Planet of the Apes" in the title and all. For now, though, it looks like Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and their band of simian-flu survivors are going to try their hand at making peace with the apes. Not if Gary Oldman has anything to say about it, of course. 

2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a surprise box-office success, and an even bigger surprise when it went over quite well with the critics (to the tune of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes). One supposes it's easier to be a surprise hit when you're not so much living up to the cult legend that is the original Apes movies and instead the abhorrent Tim Burton remake.

If there was one area where Rise disappointed, however, it was in its finale. After a whole film full of well-played setup, wherein James Franco's heedless scientist (James Franco! Scientist!) raises a supersmart ape, ignorant of the havoc he will wreak upon mankind, the payoff—when the genetically-enhanced monkeys start wrecking shit and overtaking their oppressors—felt somewhat tame. Here was where the strictures of its mass-appeal PG-13 rating was felt most strongly. Where was the blood? The gore? The occasional smashed skull? After all that buildup, watching humans cage and mistreat and humiliate these proud, ever-more-humanlike apes, was it too much to ask to actually see some people get impaled by pieces of the Golden Gate bridge? Apparently, it was.

So will Dawn bring us the wild ape-versus-man battle we've been craving? ...Maybe. The MPAA hasn't rated the film yet. Taking the trailer frame-by-frame, it looks like we might be in for another movie wherein the humans attempt to understand and peacefully co-exist with the apes. Look, even James Franco is back to serve as inspiration from beyond the grave:

Mostly, though, there's a lot of looming. Apes looming menacingly over our heroes.

Apes looming in the treetops.

Apes looming amid the ruins of human civilization.

Apes looming on horseback (a most definite callback to the glory of the original Apes films).

There's also a lot of Caesar (Andy Serkis), the lead ape or generalissimo ape or President Ape (Hail to the Chimp!) or whatever. From the looks of the trailer, Caesar spends a loooot of time keeping his troops at bay.

But certainly, this gesture ...

... the international sign language for "unleash hell," promises the beginning of some kind of battle. As does Gary Oldman and his automatic weapon fire ...

But we still end the trailer on a note of inter-species understanding and, dare I say, love.

I swear to God, if a human doesn't end up impaled on a steel beam of some kind before this thing is over ...

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.