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‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ stares you down in its first trailer

If apes ever do become super-smart to the point that they can form their own societies, humans are utterly doomed. If you need proof of that, check out the look in the CGI eyes of the ape Caesar, as he stares down the camera in the first trailer for the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

The film is – bear with me here – a sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was a partial reboot of the 1968 franchise-spawning film Planet of the Apes starring Charlton Heston, which itself was a loose adaptation of the 1963 book Planet of the Apes, written by Pierre Boulle. To cut through all of that, the new film simply states that Dawn is from a “Premise suggested by Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle.” That’s a bit like when a move claims to be “inspired by true events” rather than based on them. Technically everything is “inspired by true events.” If you are alive, anything you create is somehow inspired by something, and “true events” is about as broad as you can get. Anyway.

The film picks up a decade or so after the end of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. A virus has decimated humanity, and the survivors have an uneasy truce going with the apes. That doesn’t last long though, and soon war breaks out.

With the exception of Andy Serkis who plays the ape leader Caesar (behind a lot of CGI), the cast (and some of the crew) from the last film have been replaced with new characters to match the new story. That includes director Rupert Wyatt, who left after concerns over the accelerated production schedule, which originally planned for a release in May of 2014. 20th Century Fox then brought in director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), and eventually pushed the release back two months anyway.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes stars Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, and Keri Russell on the human side; Serkis, Judy Greer and Terry Notary round out the apes. The film is set for release on July 11, 2014.