Tag Archives: Andy Serkis

War For The Planet of the Apes; What We Know Thus Far

The third installment of the Planet of the Apes reboot, War for the Planet of the Apes, started filming last month and director Matt Reeves tweeted out a set photo to mark the beginning of principal photography. Based on the motion capture suits worn by the actors in the shot points to them being apes, an apparent inverse of Charles Heston on the beach in Planet of the Apes back in 1968. Take a look.

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New Star Wars International Trailer Gives Sneak Peek at the Empires Power

Winter can’t get here fast enough for fans of the epic Star Wars saga. It will be a happy holiday indeed for all when Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII) premieres on December 18, but until then check out this new footage from the movie’s first international spot.

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CCI 2012: Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” Panel Creates Anticipation for December

Those Lord of the Rings fans who went there and back again to Comic-Con International were rewarded for their line-waiting devotion.

This past weekend Peter Jackson took to the Hall H stage with screenwriter Philippa Boyens and actors Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen (it should be noted he received a standing ovation), Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis, and Elijah Wood, who was a surprise guest.  The panel started with a showing of the latest behind-the-scenes video blog that Jackson has been faithfully providing fans via the official Facebook fan page.  Then Jackson revealed a full 12 and a half minutes scenes from both parts of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey (out this December) and There and Back Again (December 2013).  A detailed description of each scene revealed can be found at Cinemablend.com or on Entertainment Weekly’s Inside Movies site.

Several seemingly minor yet key announcements and decisions rolled out during the panel.

First, Jackson chose to avoid screening his clips using 3D and 48 frames per second, a decision most likely based on the mixed reaction he received when he did this at Cinema-Con; this may have been in his best interest as the scenes were welcomed far more openly than they were at the previous convention.

Also, Jackson noted that he had shot enough footage to create extended editions of the films or possibly produce a third film.  The Internet has been filled with these speculations for the last few days, but Variety says otherwise.  A studio representative said there was no “planned surprise,” and that “The plan was always for two” (Variety.com).  Time will reveal how this pans out, but Jackson may have to just settle with some whopping extended editions.

A third announcement that should excite the women (or invoke the wrath of LotR die-hards) comes in the form of another female elf named Tauriel played by Evangeline Lilly.  Philippa Boyens wanted more “feminine energy” in the films: “We believe it’s completely within the spirit of Tolkien” (Wall Street Journal).  Come December, we’ll see whether or not this is true.

Finally, a fan questioned Jackson on his intentions for a Silmarillion movie.  Entertainment Weekly reported that Jackson said he wouldn’t live long enough to pull it off, and he hinted that the Tolkien estate, owning the rights to the Silmarillion, does not like his movies (Entertainment Weekly).  Despite being some of the biggest films of all time, The Lord of the Rings films do not always stay true to Tolkien’s books, and this has apparently been scorned by not only the books’ fans but also by the author’s estate itself.  Here, too, is a situation that will undoubtedly unfold more clearly the closer we get to December.

Despite my chagrin at the inclusion of a previously unwritten female character (yes, I did just say that, and I support strong women in movies and everything), and my distaste for Jackson’s occasional twisting of Tolkien’s stories, I feel that audiences will have a lot to look forward to in terms of cinematography, acting, and yes, even script adaptation for the two Hobbit installments.  The films previous to these have always provided pure entertainment, stunning visuals, powerful themes and messages, incredible scores, and unforgettable interpretations of long-loved characters (remember Ian McKellen’s standing ovation?).  I don’t doubt that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and There and Back Again will meet these expectations, and frankly, I just want to see Smaug interpreted on the big screen.

If this article wasn’t enough for you, you can view the majority of the panel on YouTube.  Though several users have already uploaded their videos, this one seems to be the best quality overall.  Don’t expect to see the clips from the upcoming films; Comic-Con is very strict about not allowing attendees to videotape or post film clips.  If you want to be that impatient, go google it yourself.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our Comic Con coverage. Big shoutouts to all of you who read the articles. I know it sounds corny but you are the reason why we’re doing this. We don’t get paid. Please keep following us on Facebook or Twitter (or start now if you haven’t already done so) for more pop culture opinions.

Trailer Roundup: Safety Not Guaranteed, On The Road, House at the End of the Street & More!

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Peter Jackson and His ‘Hobbit’ Video Blogs

Just watched another riveting behind the scenes video of The Hobbit franchise as Peter Jackson gave us his 6th installment, and the first we’ve seen in quite some time.  After the longest 12 minutes I’ve experienced since right before I walked out of Star Wars: Episode One, I learned virtually nothing about the film, but a lot about New Zealand.  Like they have thorn bushes.  And floods.  And everything is pretty.  It kind of felt like I was watching a really boring old dude’s vacation with his family Dungeons and Dragons buddies.

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Grizzly Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Tonight I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Unfortunately, it’s not often anymore that I leave the theater feeling anything but disappointed. From Pirates 4 to Green Lantern to Cowboys & Aliens, I’ve handed MJR theaters more than my share of wasted income this summer. Tonight however, well – I haven’t been so pleasantly surprised by a movie in a long time. I love the original Planet of the Apes, but I thought the Tim Burton crapfest had killed any hopes for a series revival. That was until tonight, when I saw Rupert Wyatt‘s take on the rise of Caesar. Here is a movie that had everything going against it and still found a way to come out looking respectable. In a market severely over saturated with sequels, prequels, and remakes, they took a series that already had 5 movies, a TV show, a cartoon, and most recently – 2001’s universally panned remake – and they produced something not only watchable, but dare I say ‘Good’?

For those who don’t know, this is the story of Caesar. He is the chimp that would eventually lead his kind out of captivity and change the course of the Earth forever. Basically, he’s like the Spartacus of Apes, but smarter…and more important. The reason he is smarter is because his mother was used in a lab to test a new drug, which was meant to repair brain function in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Turns out that the drug not only repaired brain function, but actually improved it. So when ‘Bright Eyes’ gave birth to a baby chimp, she passed the cognitive ability onto her offspring.

Now I don’t want to write a synopsis or anything here, but there are a couple of things I’d like to comment on…

First, Andy Serkis. You might not know his name, but I bet you’re familiar with his work. He played ‘Gollum’ in The Lord of the Rings and will reprise that role in the upcoming The Hobbit movies. He was ‘Kong’ in King Kong, and now he is Caesar. This guy is – simply put – awesome. But for some reason, he seldom gets the credit he deserves. He does all the movements, expressions, and speaking, but because you don’t see his face people don’t appreciate what he does. So I just wanted to say that I do. I bring it up mainly though, because much like in LOTR, he stole the show. The rest of the cast was good enough, but there really wasn’t a scene with Caesar where he wasn’t the focal point, and Serkis couldn’t have done a better job.

Speaking of the rest of the cast, they are all recognizable to film and TV fans, much like the casts in earlier versions which boasted names like Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Clarke Duncan, Paul Giamatti, Kris Kristofferson, Roddy McDowall, Ricardo Montalban, Sal Mineo, M. Emmet Walsh, John Randolph, and of course – Charlton Heston. And while it’s not what would be considered a cast that is guaranteed to put butts in the seats, it is a cast I liked.

James-FrancoIn addition to Serkis, our other lead is one of my favorite actors working today – James Franco. He’s the adoptive father to ‘Caesar’. Playing Franco’s ailing father, fresh off a real career resurgence, thanks to Dexter is John Lithgow. Lithgow’s character is actually the catalyst for the drug’s development, as well as the one who inadvertently starts the ball rolling for the eventual ape uprising. Perhaps the next biggest name is also the actor who was probably most underused – Brian Cox. The love interest is Freida Pinto and as the A-Hole, fittingly so, is Harry Potter’s own Draco Malfoy. And last but not least, star of GB favorite Reaper – Tyler Labine.

They paid special attention the honoring the old movie, starting right away with the opening scene basically being a reverse of when Heston got captured back in ’68. There was smaller stuff like the orangutan being named ‘Maurice’, no doubt after Maurice Evans, the actor who played the orangutan ‘Dr. Zaius’, or Franco’s boss ‘Mr. Jacobs’ – named perhaps for producer Arthur P. Jacobs? Then you have Tom Felton’s character – ‘Dodge Landon’, a reference to the characters Dodge (Jeff Burton) and Landon (Robert Gunner), Heston’s fellow astronauts in the original Planet of the Apes. And most obvious of them is Caesar’s mother being named ‘Bright Eyes’ by the doctors, just as Zira calls Heston.

Aside from all the name play, they also pulled in perhaps the most well-known line ever spoken by Charlton Heston:

riseoftheplanetoftheapesukNow the second thing I wanted to talk about is something that I absolutely loved, and it’s spawned by the nods to the original. This marks perhaps the cheesiest part of the movie, HOWEVER, it set up something more, and you don’t see much today. It’s something you might not notice on DVD – total control of the crowd. In one instance they delivered maybe the cheesiest line in the movie, and then as the whole theater was laughing we are hit right away with an event that silenced half the crowd, and had the other half verbally gasp. It was awesome, it was a moment of mass realization where you’re one of a few hundred people in a room, and for just a second everyone is in awe. It’s like in Fight Club when Norton goes through the plane tickets and the light bulb clicks on in everyone’s head. I don’t want to ruin it, but if you see this in the theater, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It was obviously done on purpose and I loved it. It reminded me why I love the going to the theater despite the cell phones and talking teenagers.

They took one of the most iconic movies ever made and delivered a prequel that actually enhanced the story, rather than giving us a Phantom Menace and ruining it…

This movie delivered for me on every level, and if I had one complaint it’d be that over the course of the 8 years within the movie, no human characters appear to age, but I can look past that. I found this movie entertaining and well worth the price of admission. In fact, outside members of the SFPD, I don’t know who wouldn’t like this. You could argue that some of the cast was underused, but I liked that it focused on the apes instead, and it was an interesting parallel to the original, with Caesar experiencing a lot of what Taylor did.

I’m giving it 4/5 APES.  


New Trailer: ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’

Finally after a few months of name changes, production pictures, and a very brief clip of what I assume to be Caesar – Rise of the Planet of the Apes has its first trailer. And let me tell ya: It looks awesome. Check it out below:

Now for me that was both visually pleasing, and a little creepy looking. The apes themselves look awesome, but what do you expect from WETA. (They did the effects for Lord of The Rings and Avatar.) James Franco looks to be at his best in the trailer, playing ‘Doctor Will Rodman’ who is experimenting on apes to develop a drug that helps the brain reconstruct itself. As he stated in the trailer though, these experiments make the apes smarter. No big deal right? Wrong. As you can imagine these apes run rampant, paving the way for a planet ruled by them.

Andy Serkis as Caesar

At first I was just relying on this movie to be decent at best and wait out a sequel, because we all know that’s when the real good stuff is going on. (Apes with guns on horseback! Heyyooo!) But this movie now looks like one with the potential to be very interesting and even scary in its own way. Also, the apes look way more realistic through motion capture instead of going the makeup route that Tim Burton went in his epic failure.

James Franco as Dr. Will Rodman

Rise of the Apes releases on August 5th this year, no longer sharing a release date with those little blue bastards The Smurfs. Count me as someone who can’t wait!

For the Apes, not the Smurfs.

I know I used this in my last apes article, but it’s so cool.

Sound off below, what did you think of the trailer?