Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Matt Reeves‘ upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (DOTPOTA, if you’re feeling saucy) is that the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes jumps ahead a whole decade, presenting an entirely new world that’s been ravaged by a bunch of things: Simian flu, human greed, and unbridled ape power. The first film ended with all hell just breaking loose, so to zip forward into, well, that actual hell, is pretty damn bold.
But time jumps don’t necessarily work for everyone, and while we have no doubt that Reeves’ film will fill in the holes in a satisfying manner, sometimes you just want to see a little glimpse of everything that happened in the interim. Turns out, 20th Century Fox knows that, and the studio has teamed up with some young filmmakers to craft three short films that look at life in the Time of Ape at different increments — Year 1, Year 5, and Year 10 (just before Dawn of the Planet of the Apes kicks off). The three shorts, known collectively as Before the Dawn, are all live over at Vice (via /Film), along with a pretty terrifying look at some special apes who live in our own, non-movie world, but you can also check them out after the break. Let’s see what we’ve missed so far:
Quarantine (Year 1)
Directed by Isaiah Seret
Amidst a widespread viral outbreak known as the “Simian Flu,” a mother is quarantined after testing positive for the virus, leaving her husband and daughter to fend for themselves.
At just over six minutes long, this first film gives us our best look yet at what the Simian Flu looks like, what it does to people, and how humans attempt to cope with it. We also get a compelling look at how the structure of the human world is crumbling under the threat of both the flu and the apes — and, no, it’s not very heartening.
All Fall Down (Year 5)
Directed by Daniel Thron
Five years after the Simian Flu all but wiped out humanity, an orphaned teenage girl survives by bartering things she has stolen from dead people’s homes.
Five years on, the world we know has all but disappeared, left to stragglers and scramblers and the few people who were able to endure both the flu and what came afterwards. Clocking in at just over five minutes, this short is all about survival — at the barest of minimums. There’s also a glimpse at the kind of violence we can expect to see much more of, and soon.
The Gun (Year 10)
Directed by “thirty-two”
Follow the journey of a shotgun through the hands of several ill-fated owners as the “Simian Flu” ravages the world around them.
After the more intimate aims of both Quarantine and All Fall Down, the thirteen-minute-long The Gun goes bigger and grander. And, oh, yeah, a lot more violent. Instead of focusing on just one personal story, the short follows the journey of a single shotgun, one that sees a lot of action and not a lot of hope. Bonus points for conspiracy theories!
Vice also shares a look at their new (and, yes, fact-based, not fake) documentary, Island of the Apes, which travels to an island (known as “Monkey Island,” because sometimes being that direct can be pretty cool) in Liberia that has an ape population made up entirely by former lab monkeys. They are not very happy. Take a look at the film’s trailer:
Are you scared yet? You should be. The film will go live tomorrow on Vice, and we’ll be sure to update here when you can see the whole thing. Until then, stay away from any strange monkeys.
If you’re really feeling the need to soak up all the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes info you can stand, check out Jack’s review of the film.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens on July 11th.