It's been nearly a decade since Tim Burton foisted his crap-tastic Planet of the Apes remake on monkey maniacs worldwide. Since time in Hollywood passes like dog years, this means it's been more like a century since anyone's tried to milk those damn dirty apes for more money. Last month we got news that Caesar, a planned prequel to Planet of the Apes, had a script and director. Rupert Wyatt, director of The Escapist, will helm the project. CHUD's Devin Faraci read the script and has raved about it in the interim. Both of these things give me hope that maybe we'll see a POTA film worthy of the originals.

Unfortunately whenever a prequel, reboot or remake of a classic series is mentioned, debate inevitably follows. I'm generally anti-remake on principle, but this is one of those rare times where I find myself going against my beliefs. I loved Planet of the Apes as a kid (I remember one channel re-ran the film dozens of times a week) and the last thing I want to see is yet another re-imagining that gets it all wrong. But at the same time, I think Caesar has a few things working in its favor -- things that make me feel as though this might work.

First, it's a prequel. Caesar will reportedly take place before the original film and give us an origin story for the intelligent apes. Prequel origin stories aren't an automatic slam dunk by any stretch, but I think a tale showing how the apes evolved and took over the world is one that's ripe with potential. Obviously the question is whether or not they can pull it off -- and we won't know that until we see a finished film. The premise is intriguing, though, and I think we'd be wrong to dismiss it completely at this point.
The second factor that has me interested in seeing what a new POTA entry might look like revolves around the advances in technology. I adore the originals for their low-fi charm in terms of the costumes and effects, and I'm normally opposed to movies using CGI as a crutch, but if there's a film from that era that could benefit from the recent advances in filmmaking technology, POTA has to be near the top of the list. Burton blew it in his version, but that shouldn't preclude someone else from coming along and trying to get it right. I know, this could be another disaster of epic proportions, but done right it could be something special.

Finally, as our own Elisabeth Rappe pointed out in her story about this project, audiences are becoming more accepting of reboots and sci-fi films with messages. Star Trek has proven that you can take a much-loved franchise and reboot it successfully. Why couldn't Planet of the Apes achieve the same thing? Avatar, while not particularly deep with its message, has once again made the sci-fi film with social commentary relevant to a wider audience. Caesar could carry that trend forward and expose a new generation of film fans to the original franchise as well.

There are countless hurdles to overcome and potential pitfalls to be avoided when it comes to Caesar. At the same time, I can't shake the feeling that maybe, just maybe, this could be the project that makes POTA culturally relevant again. Should filmmakers keep their stinking paws off this one -- or are you remaining as optimistic as I am?