Last year, we first heard word a new video game set in the modern Planet of the Apes cinematic timeline would be coming out in conjunction with War for the Planet of the Apes. The movie's release came and went, and there was nary a whisper about this video game. Today, Andy Serkis's Imaginarium Studios finally revealed what it had been working on for the past year. Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier will be a cinematic adventure game that delves into the war between humans and apes during the years between Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes.
People love Planet of the Apes. They love the 1968 original with Charlton Heston. They dig the reboot trilogy starring Andy Serkis as mo-cap ape leader Caesar. They even enjoy a lot of the sequels in between, like the disturbing Beneath the Planet of the Apes and the allegorical Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.
War for the Planet of the Apes arrives in theaters this week about a year shy of the franchise’s 50th anniversary. Over half a century, Planet of the Apes has had an enormous impact on popular culture. The prosthetic masks for its ape characters set a new standard for Hollywood makeup effects .Several of its most quotable lines of dialogue became ingrained in the pop culture lexicon. Any time someone tells you to take their stinking paws of another person, Planet of the Apes is there.
There is a sinister circular logic to the Planet of the Apes series. Characters journey to the stars and wind up … back on Earth. They travel back in time … and directly cause the events that lead to the rise of their dystopian future. Even as War for the Planet of the Apes concludes the story of the ape leader Caesar, it brings the franchise’s overarching narrative closer and closer to its origins on a desolate, sun-swept beach, one that looks a lot like the one Caesar and his monkey mates gallop across during their quest for revenge. That’s what makes these movies so troubling. It’s not the monkeys with machine guns or the gorillas with grenade launchers; it’s the sense that collapse is inevitable, that even when people (and apes) act with the best of intentions, they can’t escape the cruel hand (or paw) fate has dealt.
You know the Planet of the Apes series, including the newest film, War for the Planet of the Apes. But did you know that the original movie, based on a French science-fiction novel, was actually co-written by The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling? It’s true, and while some of Serling’s draft was changed before the film was made, one big component survived: He was the one who suggested the twist ending involving the Statue of Liberty. (Of course he did, Rod Serling loved twist endings.) That’s just one of the facts featured in the latest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
We are told that War for the Planet of the Apes will conclude the trilogy of films started with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and continued in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, that tells the story of Caesar, the child of a laboratory chimpanzee exposed to an experimental Alzheimer’s treatment, who grows up to become the talking leader of a race of super-apes. The Apes films will continue, but Caesar’s story will not.
Hot take: The Planet of the Apes has always been one of the very best franchises ever. Even back in the ’70s, even when some of the ape masks looked a little hokey, the Apes series consistently delivered some of the most thoughtful, prescient, spooky, and unrelentingly bleak sci-fi films Hollywood has ever produced. Nearly every single one ends on a mega-bummer; beloved characters dying, entire races getting wiped out, or, in one awesomely disturbing example, the entire freaking planet getting blown to smithereens.