When it was first announced that 20th Century Fox was making a prequel to Planet of the Apes that would star James Franco and a CG ape, not too many people welcomed the news with a whole lot of optimism. But once Rise of the Planet of the Apes hit theaters, it ended up blowing most everyone who saw it away. Director Rupert Wyatt took a less than appealing idea for a movie and ended up telling the sort of affecting, personal story that tentpole blockbusters rarely end up pulling off.
So it was kind of heartbreaking to learn that Wyatt wasn’t going to be returning for the sequel and Fox was looking at a shortlist of directors to replace him. It turns out things might not be as bad as they originally looked though, because ComingSoon is reporting that the studio has found their Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director, and at first glance he appears to be a perfect replacement. The guy is Matt Reeves.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a success financially and critically largely due to the way that it was able to present relatable, human stories alongside its destructive ape mayhem, and with Reeves the studio has found a director with plenty of experience doing just that sort of thing. With Cloverfield he told a monster-attacks-the-city story that focused more on the people being attacked than it ever did the monster. With Let Me In he told a vampire story that was really more a tale of doomed love. And the episodes of Felicity that he was credited as a creator on…well, they didn’t have much to do with monsters or destruction, but they were all about relationship drama and the show closed out with those monstrous episodes about time travel. Does that count?
Regardless, Reeves is a talented guy who’s impressed in the past, most recently by directing a remake of a movie that nobody wanted remade (Let Me In), so it’s very possible that he could be our only hope when it comes to replacing a beloved and departing director on a sequel to a prequel of a property that already failed once when it was remade. Let’s all wish him luck, because it sounds like he’s going to need it.