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

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. 



Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
Sept. 30 2014 9:32 AM Why Are Mint Condition Comic Books So Expensive?
  Double X
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal. But… What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.