News from Sci Fi Wire, CHUD, and Deadline Hollywood came out that director Rupert Wyatt is given the mon-KEYs (sorry for the bad humor) to the franchise to direct a prequel of Planet of the Apes. The non official working title of the film is Caesar: Rise of the Apes which ties it directly to the old original series of films itself. If you remembered your Apeology correctly, Caesar was the son of Cornelius and Zira and was born in modern times after the pair traveled back into time in the movie Escape from the Planet of the Apes in 1971 and later was featured in the movies Conquest of the Planet of the Apes as a revolutionary leader and then in Battle for the Planet of the Apes as the ape leader.
Ape fact: He was born as Milo and then later on choosing the name Caesar in defiance of human rule.
CHUD warns that this film for us that have seen the series will not be overly surprised with some of the content but offers some interesting points and hints on the film.
Caesar: Rise of the Apes is centered on genetic research. Will is a doctor trying to cure Alzheimers, a disease that afflicts his father. He’s working with monkeys to create a benign virus that can get into brain tissue and restore functionality. After his research is shut down he’s left with just one chimp, the child of his most promising subject, and Will raises him at home. Young Caesar is incredibly intelligent for an ape, and over time he continues to mutate and evolve, looking less like a chimp and moving on from sign language to actual speech. Eventually Caesar ends up leading an army of apes in an uprising just as a catastrophe strikes mankind.
Caesar: Rise of the Apes is explicitly a prequel to the real Planet of the Apes. During the course of the script TV newscasts recount the launch of a space craft called the Icarus, led by a Colonel Taylor, which eventually disappears while going around the dark side of Mars. While these aren’t the exact same situations from the original film, Planet of the Apes had CharltonHeston playing Colonel Taylor whose ship, the Icarus, crash lands on Earth in the distant future.
– The script opens with poachers capturing apes in the wild. The scene is structured to recall the apes capturing humans at the beginning of Planet of the Apes.
– Caesar’s mother is named Bright Eyes, which is what Dr. Zira called Colonel Taylor in the original film.
– There are other name homages. A female scientist is named Stewart, which was the name of the female Icarus crewmember. Dodge and Landon, also Icarus crewmembers in the original film, appear as names, but in very different roles than in Planet of the Apes. Dodge is a bad guy, in fact. There’s a chimp named Cornelia, a play on Cornelius from the original film, a chimp named Franklin, a play on Apes director Franklin Schaffner, and an orangutan named Maurice, homaging Maurice Evans, who played Dr. Zaius.
– Dodge actually hoses Caesar down in a scene that recalls the ‘It’s a madhouse!’ scene inPlanet of the Apes.
– At one point Caesar is sent to a wild animal park and lives in a monkey house. There we see that the original film’s social structure, where chimps, orangutans and gorillas have their own strata, is in place. Caesar manages to unite them all, though.
– By the end of the script humanity’s downfall, which is tied to Caesar’s origin, is in place. Caesar is presented as struggling for freedom, but he’s unwilling to be violent. This makes the ending confused, as the other apes rampage while Caesar behaves non-violently.
– In the original Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Caesar makes the other apes leap forward evolutionarily just by existing. Here there’s a more scientific explanation. Also, Caesar’s slow mutation explains why the apes in Planet of the Apes are bigger than and look nothing like modern chimps, orangutans or gorillas.
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