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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Watch the stirring first trailer
"No more monkey business!" says humanity
 

It's been almost two years since the dormant Planet of the Apes franchise roared back to life with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which offered a fascinating origin story (and some all-time great motion capture work by Andy Serkis as the future chimp leader Caesar). But the film ended on a cliffhanger, with much of the story left to be told. Now, our first glimpse at the upcoming sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, sets an intriguing course for the future of the franchise.

Things on Earth have clearly deteriorated since the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with humanity struggling to survive in the new world order. "We've been through hell together," says one human freedom fighter. "We spent four years — four years — fighting that virus, and then another four fighting each other. It was chaos. But you all know what we're up against. And I want you to know it's not just about power. It's about giving us the hope to reclaim and rebuild the world we lost."

Of course, if Dawn of the Planet of the Apes stays true to the original franchise, we already know how this war ends: With Charlton Heston discovering the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty on Earth, a planet that has indeed been conquered by apes. Will the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise offer its own version of one of the most famous twist endings in film history, or will it blaze its own trail? We'll find out when Dawn of the Planet of the Apes hits theaters next July. Though personally, I'm still holding out for Planet of the Apes: The Musical.

 
Scott Meslow is the entertainment editor and film and television critic for TheWeek.com. He has written about film and television at publications including The AtlanticPOLITICO Magazine, and Vulture.

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