The Rise of Planet of the Apes worked pretty well as a prequel to the original Planet of the Apes (if you ignore the sequels which don’t appear on lists of the best science fiction films), and as the start of a new franchise. Fox has just announced a release date and title for the first sequel. This means we’re closer to the inevitable remake of one of the most famous science fiction movies of all time. And I’m looking forward to it.
Technically, Planet of the Apes had been remade recently. But by all accounts, the remake sucked. One mistake in the film, which another remake is likely to avoid, is that the ending was changed. The ending was one of the most recognizable elements of the movie, and the basis for several of the sequels/prequels (there’s time travel involved) as well as Rise. From a pacing perspective, the next remake will spent a lot of time going over territory the audience is already familiar with, as the viewers will be aware of the astronaut’s discovery before he makes it.
It’s a bit of a disappointment watching Planet of the Apes for the first time, and realizing that they don’t show what happens after Charlton Heston’s astronaut finds the ruins. And there’s certainly potential in that, enough for to make the third act (or more) of a remake quite satisfying. That element of the story was also done slightly differently in Pierre Boulle’s novel, demonstrating that there has to be more than one way to do it on film.
Heston returned for Beneath the Planet of the Apes, but it was set after his character had some time to process the information. Plus, the reviews weren’t that good. So it would be interesting to see a film on the level of Rise of the Planet of the Apes which reveals what happens after Taylor realizes that the mute savages are the descendants of mankind and the intelligent apes evolved from our apes. That’s a story worth telling, and a justification for a remake.