One of the big questions when entering this summer’s surprisingly entertaining “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was whether or not the apes, led by fuzzy rebel commander Caesar (played by Andy Serkis), would end up speaking in the movie. As it turns out (and we don’t know if we really should issue a spoiler warning for a movie that opened in August, but here goes), Caesar does develop the ability to speak. But the other apes remained mute. But that could change, according to the film’s screenwriters (who are hard at work on the sequel).
Speaking in a podcast with Jeff Goldsmith (via Bleeding Cool), “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver — apparently not joking when they said the sequel will be called “Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Part Two” — addressed the question of whether the other apes in the film would develop speech. “We’re working on the sequel right now, to the prequel, and so the excitement is — I’m not going to tell you, but — are they gonna talk or not?” Silver said. “Part of the challenge was how to get across what was happening between the apes without words. In the end I think it was a good challenge for us. It created better storytelling.”
Silver is right: it was a challenge and it did create better storytelling. The ‘Rise’ of the title is brought to the screen largely wordlessly but absolutely brilliantly, thanks largely to the marvel of WETA and Andy Serkis’ amazing performance capture work. What one of our questions about the subsequent films is how will the other apes (the ones that weren’t infected with the serum that made them smarter) gain the abilities that the initial apes had. Will the sequel take place generations later, when the abilities have been dispensed genetically throughout the apes? And will the apes talking plunge the series back into the realm of camp?
The first “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was terrific, but we wonder if they can retain that magic for future films. With both Serkis and brilliant director Rupert Wyatt confirmed for at least one more entry, here’s hoping the apes continue to rise (and not fall short). We personally hope Wyatt goes through with the idea of a kind of “Full Metal Jacket” story, with the apes militarizing themselves against their human oppressors. Hoo-rah!