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Apes, together, strong! What we've learned from the War for the Planet of the Apes trailer

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The world is changing in the darkly dramatic new trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes, as super-intelligent Caesar (Andy Serkis) confronts his greatest enemy in the form of The Colonel (Woody Harrelson).

Here's what we've learned about the movie that could be poised to go down as one of 2017's greatest blockbusters.


Ape legacy

Fragments of voiceover from Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes signal the dark cloud hanging over Caesar in the new movie, reinforcing how we've arrived at this stage and what's at stake for his band of genetically enhanced simians.

With the arrival of a group of humans, one of whom bears a helmet emblazoned with 'monkey killer', we can assume that following the explosive climax of Dawn, tensions are still high between the two species.

As new character Bad Ape (Steve Zahn), a chimp and zoo escapee, says: "Human get sick... Ape get smart... Human kill ape." However he then adds: "But not me, I'm wild!"

For his part, Caesar says "I did not start this war... I fight only to protect apes." But it looks like he'll soon be pulled into a new battle that's not of his choosing...


Meet the Colonel

Always great at playing scene-chewing baddies, Harrelson looks poised to deliver another malevolent performance as the warring Colonel, one who seeks nothing less than the destruction of all apes. "In order to retain our humanity, sometimes we have to lose our humanity," he addresses his troops.

And he lives up to his threat in what's sure to be a devastating sequence as Caesar's ape colony is destroyed by an onslaught of rocket-firing helicopters. This inaugurates the next stage in the ape's life, transforming him from reluctant warrior into vengeful animal.


Fight for survival

As we know this prequel trilogy is building to the catastrophic endgame witnessed in the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie, in which humans were displaced on the food-chain by their superior ape counterparts.

We get a spine-tingling foreshadowing in the confrontation between the Colonel and Caesar as he attempts to justify his barbarous actions, claiming, "You talk about mercy... but no matter what you say eventually you'll replace us."

This also ties directly into the events of the preceding two movies. Let's not forget that we got to this stage as a result of the devastating simian flu being unleashed at the end of Rise of Planet of the Apes, one that wiped out much of humanity and which resulted in the post-apocalyptic world seen in Dawn.


Ape or human?

One of the most intriguing twists throughout this series has been the inner-species tension. In Dawn it all boiled over between Caesar and his violent deputy Koba (Toby Kebbell). This time, gorilla Luca experiences a clash of loyalties and goes over to the side of the humans, to the disgust of Caesar who we see imprisoned in a cage. "You'll never be one of them," he snarls.

Is the repeated mantra "Apes, together, strong," a call for unity or an act of desperation in the face of increasingly bleak odds?


It all ends here

The future of our planet resides in the outcome of the battle between Caesar and the Colonel. It finally looks like the former has given up his diplomatic ways and is seeking to end the brutish conflict once and for all.

Ape v human: it's always been at the heart of the Planet of the Apes saga and this new movie is set to bring it to its logical, explosively exciting conclusion.

And while we're here, can we take a moment to admire the absolutely stunning motion capture CGI effects on Caesar? They really do seem to get better with every new movie and further help accentuate Serkis' brilliantly nuanced performance.

Check out the trailer below and prepare for War for the Planet of the Apes, arriving on 14th July.