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. 



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nicolas Sarkozy, Thrice Married, Says Gay Marriage Humiliates the Family

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 3:16 PM Watch the Best Part of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.