Monkeys on Horses With Assault Rifles: The Trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
May 8 2014 12:16 PM

Monkeys on Horses With Assault Rifles: The Trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Oh, and they also have shotguns.

© 2013 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

There’s a lot of drama in the first full trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but the image that will stick with me is this one: Apes riding on horses with assault rifles. The Planet of the Apes franchise, it seems, is getting even sillier, while trying to maintain a serious face.

That pose, at least, worked for the first movie, which managed to make a movie about super-smart monkeys into something like an animal-rights manifesto, with elements of Elizabethan tragedy. It was that Shakespearean chimpanzee, of course—named after the title character in Julius Caesar—that was the breakout star, and here it’s clear that Andy Serkis’ tragic hero will take center stage, even giving his own monkey version of the St. Crispin’s Day speech.


The risk is that the more our tragedy centers around talking apes, the more it threatens to devolve into something laughable. (With the machine-gun-totin’ raccoon of Guardians of the Galaxy taking aim in August, could this be the summer of fuzzy animals brandishing automatic weapons?) But this trailer suggests it just might work. The same writers are back, and there’s a new director, Matt Reeves, who also helmed the surprisingly good American remake Let Me In, which managed to rival its excellent Swedish predecessor.

And the more we see of Serkis and WETA’s co-creation, the more I’m hoping that Serkis might finally earn his Oscar (or at least a nomination). We’ll have to wait until July 11 to find out whether “Apes. Together. Strong.” or “Apes. Together. Silly.”

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

How Movies Like Contagion and Outbreak Distort Our Response to Real Epidemics

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse

An Unscientific Ranking of Really, Really Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Oct. 23 2014 11:51 AM It Seems No One Is Rich or Happy: I Looked
The Vault
Oct. 23 2014 12:02 PM Delightfully Awkward Studio Action Shots of Players, Used on Early Baseball Cards
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 12:01 PM Who Is Constantine, and Should You Watch His New Show?
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.