GammaSquad via Variety is reporting that the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie may be getting a director soon. Jonathan Liebesman, director of Battle: LA and the upcoming Wrath of the Titans, is negotiating right now to take the helm of the franchise. The film is using a script from the Iron Man writing team of Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, but Paramount and Nickelodeon have employed the Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol team of Josh Appelbaum and Andrew Nemec to rewrite.
Now that we got all that stuff out-of-the-way, here’s what we know about this movie: It’s a live action movie that wants to emulate Rise of the Planet of the Apes and use CGI characters replacing a motion captured actor in a practical environment. The Foot will be present (hopefully they won’t just gather and get their asses kicked methodically, oh wait, it’s the Foot, of course they will), and April O’Neil and Casey Jones will most likely be involved so that Kronner can yell “Casey Jones” anytime that new actor comes on in any other movie, a privilege normally reserved for Elias Koteas. [F–k Yeah!]
No word if Vanilla Ice will jump on board. I personally think this movie should not exist until ‘Keno’ gets involved. My boy needs work, and with Linsanity happening, I think Ernie Reyes can be your next superstar. I mean, did you NOT see Surf Ninjas? Actually don’t. It seriously does not stand the test of time. Nor did it stand the test of time when it came out. I did not know any better as a 10-year-old…
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.
In 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:
Now 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.
If there were any doubts tumbling through your brain about whether or not Rise of the Planet of the Apes was going to be good or not, then this little teaser-trailer from Comic-Con should erase all of it…. the doubt, not your brain. It may show quite a bit more than you’d like, but it’s not that big of a spoiler about whether the apes rebel or not. They do.
The trailer was actually a little creepy at times, especially the ruthlessness at the very end of it. But that’s to be expected when any exotic animal rises up against mankind and takes up arms against him. Could you imagine Rise of the Planet of the Dogs? Man’s best friend turns against him. You may want to check into that Hollywood. Anyways, check out the trailer below:
See? Absolutely riveting. I have to see this movie when it comes out! The sequels would be even better so this thing better perform at the box office to the max!
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.
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.
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.
Sound off below, what did you think of the trailer?