Yes, you read that right. The upcoming movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the eagerly anticipated sequel to Planet of the Apes, has done the original one better. Unlike Planet of the Apes, no great apes were used in the production of the sequel—it relies entirely on computer-generated imagery (CGI). As seen in the just-released trailer, the movie’s lead ape character is actually actor Andy Serkis, who, through the magic of CGI and motion-capture technology, is turned into the chimpanzee leader, Caesar.
Chimpanzees and other great apes used for entertainment are torn away from their mothers as babies and physically and psychologically abused during training. When they reach adolescence and become too strong to control, they are often dumped at miserable roadside zoos, as was the fate of Chubbs, one of the chimpanzees used in the Tim Burton-directed Planet of the Apes.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes has a new director, Rupert Wyatt, who wanted to make the point that in this age of advanced realistic CGI technology, there is no need to use great apes in films. Here’s hoping that other studios will take note.