dawn of the planet of the apes trailer
When "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was released back in the summer of 2011, it stood out as a genuine surprise -- the rare reboot that actually lived up to the legacy of the original franchise. Instead of being a straight remake like Tim Burton's gorgeous but rudderless 2001 "Planet of the Apes," "Rise..." was a tale of how the ape revolt began, and was structured more like a classic prison break movie than some roaring sci-fi contraption.

This summer we're finally getting a sequel, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," and if the new trailer is any indication, it's going to be a worthy successor to "Rise..."

With this trailer, you start to understand the general shape and narrative contours of this new movie (the previous teasers had been teasingly shrouded in misty atmosphere but not much in the way of specifics). It seems that Jason Clarke and Keri Russell are part of a cluster of human survivors, hiding in the woods 10 years after the events of the first movie (where the "Simian Flu" has wiped out a large swath of humanity), who come upon ape leader Caesar (once again played by the miraculous Andy Serkis). They two grow to understand each other; while the official description from the studio describes it as a "truce," the trailer makes it out to be something deeper and more meaningful.

Anyway, Gary Oldman apparently is the leader of the survivalist human militia (or something) and wants to start a war with the apes. Oldman thinks the apes were the ones who started the simian flu (not the human scientists who developed the virus) and, well, it looks like things all go to hell by the end of the movie.

The trailer is moody and the visuals are striking; "Cloverfield" director Matt Reeves is taking over from original director Rupert Wyatt, and it seems to have been a pretty smooth transition, at least in terms of what ended up on screen. (Fox seems to agree since they've already signed Reeves up for a third movie.) After this trailer, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" has quickly jumped to the tippy-top of our summer must-see list.

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" opens on July 11th.