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Critical Mass: Hail, Caesar and 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'

There’s a lot at stake with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: human supremacy on a post-apocalyptic Earth, the well-being of a 45-year-old franchise property… the summer box office.

With ticket sales down across the board, Dawn finds itself in the once unlikely position of summer savior. The 2011 reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which starred James Franco and Andy Serkis as the motion-capture Prometheus ape, Caesar, was a solid critical and popular hit, grossing $176.7 million.

Expectation are much higher for Dawn, which is set 10 years after the events of Rise. Humanity has been devastated by the simian flu, leaving Caesar and his tribe of apes to prosper in the woods outside San Francisco. In the decaying urban landscape, however, are a ragtag group of human survivors, led by Jason Clarke, who wants to live in peace with the intelligent apes, and Gary Oldman, who plays an ape-hating fascist who wants a war while man still has the advantage.

Serkis, once again, is the major star. Since playing Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, he’s become the Olivier of motion-capture, breathing life into pseudo-CG-animated creations like King Kong. With the even more-advanced technology and his finely-tuned artistry, you can expect another flurry of essays urging the Academy to recognize excellence in this growing field. “Despite all the obscuring layers of digital trickery, the actor manages to convey an impressive physicality and array of emotions, from hope to grief to rage,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty, in his review. “I won’t spoil which side wins the interspecies showdown, but when it comes to who does the better acting, the apes carry the day, (hairy) hands down.”

Read more from EW’s review, as well as a round-up of other notable critics, below. READ FULL STORY

'Cloverfield' director Matt Reeves to helm 'Planet of the Apes 3'

Audiences haven’t seen Dawn of the Planet of the Apes yet, but 20th Century Fox has already decided that director Matt Reeves will return to direct the third installment in the rebooted Apes franchise.

Reeves, known for directing the experimental monster thriller Cloverfield and the English-language remake of Let Me In (which he also wrote), is currently in post-production on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (out July 11, 2014) which finds the ape Caeser (Andy Serkis) in a more powerful position, having amassed an army that threatens to wipe out the remains of the human population. Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, and Keri Russell star in Dawn as the humans fighting against the ape forces.


'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' lands 'Cloverfield' director Matt Reeves

If you think a single giant marauding alien monster or a child vampire are scary, what about an army of intelligent primates?

EW has confirmed that Cloverfield and Let Me In director Matt Reeves is finalizing a deal to direct Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which itself was a prequel-reboot of the original Planet of the Apes films from the 1960s and 70s. Reeves replaces Rise director Rupert Wyatt, who reportedly left the project due to concerns about Fox’s announced release date of May 23, 2014.

Andy Serkis will reprise his performance-capture role as lead intelli-ape Caesar. No word yet whether costars James Franco and Freida Pinto will also be returning.

Deadline first reported the story.

Read more:
‘Planet of the Apes’ writers are taking on ‘Jurassic Park 4′
Behind the Scenes: Turning Andy Serkis into Caesar in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’
10 Best Movie Prequels Ever

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