“War For The Planet Of The Apes” Shows Just One Of The Dystopias That Await Us In 2017

The resurgent franchise returns with Woody Harrelson.

“War For The Planet Of The Apes” Shows Just One Of The Dystopias That Await Us In 2017

WHAT: The first trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes.

WHO: Woody Harrelson stars as the lead human, while Andy Serkis reprises his CGI role as ape leader Caesar in Matt Reeves’s film.

WHY WE CARE: Maybe it’s just us, but dystopias are kind of on our mind in 2017. Anybody else feeling like that? And as dystopias go, the resurgent Planet of the Apes franchise is unique in that it’s specifically intended to put our sympathies on the side of the apocalypse. The teaser for the third film in the series centers around two voices–that of Andy Serkis’s Caesar, who preaches peace as he prepares for an inevitable war, and that of Woody Harrelson’s mysterious Colonel, who proudly pursues the path of war, lest humanity find itself extinct on (dramatic pause) “a planet . . . of apes.” The crux of the trailer here seems to be “Is it better to be wiped out completely than to follow a megalomaniacal leader whose destructive impulses are such that death is inevitable one way or the other?” And that is an interesting question to explore in 2017. That War for the Planet of the Apes is definitely going to be exploring it through countless scenes of jungle warfare between bow-and-arrow wielding gorillas and stalwart human soldiers (some of whom are almost certainly going to have a change of heart and attempt to find a way to coexist with their ape opponents) makes it more fun than the other ways that sort of dystopia can play out.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.

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