Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (John Paesano)

Plans for a continuation of the "Apes" series began in 2019, when Disney purchased 20th Century Fox. Director Wes Ball was chosen to take the lead on the new film, with a script by Josh Friedman, and Jaffa and Silver returning as producers. Picking up the story several generations after the Caesar trilogy, this story sees a young chimpanzee, Noa, as he ventures out from his village after being attacked by outside marauding apes. Along the way, he meets a mysterious human woman, an ambitious bonobo leader, and a friendly orangutan is keeping the flame of Caesar's legacy alive. The effects continue to dazzle, though perhaps a bit of realism has been lost by no longer being grounded by the real-world origins. I found the movie entertaining and ambitious, though it didn't have the same emotional punch as the previous films, and some story elements were a bit confusing and drawn out. Overall, the film received decent reviews, and did well at the box office, so let's hope the series continues and we can see the greater intended arc of this universe. 

Reuniting with director Ball (after working on the "Maze Runner" films) was American composer John Paesano. Paesano has worked in films, television and video games, though this is perhaps his biggest profile assignment, after success on two Marvel/Netflix superhero shows, and the recent "Spider-Man" and "Miles Morales" video game series. Paesano carries on the legacy established by Michael Giacchino in the previous two films, directly quoting his themes once or twice, but alluding to his sound and melodic base in much smaller ways throughout. There is also a direct homage to Jerry Goldsmith's score to the seminal initial film, referencing several motifs from that score for the new ape/human hunt scenes, as well as incorporating some of the original percussion effects from that score. With that base, Paesano builds his own ambitious work, with a number of thematic ideas and colorful orchestration. The eagle clan receives a theme, as does Noa, there is a discovery theme and a dark motif for Proximus. Paesano inherits a large musical legacy, and acquits himself quite well here. 

I was excited to explore some of the artwork of this film. The official album offers a generous 2-hour presentation, though I didn't love the font choices used on the cover. So I chose to take a break from working on the Giacchino scores to jump to this latest one, and using a consistent text style across the series. I present a total of eighteen new covers to choose from. There were actually a few more pieces of art that I liked, but I didn't have a clear solution on how to solve editing issues on those, and they were dragging down this release, so in the end, I scrapped a few extra pieces. I should you all should still have plenty options here to choose from.

The first twelve covers all use official marketing images as their base, while the final six images are fan images or licensed commissions. 

Cover 1 uses the Japanese artwork. I toyed around with the color balance quite a bit, and had to comp in the cropped top of Proximus' electric spear. Cover 3 offers a variant on the official album cover. I actually had to edit in a part of that piece of art (the ape clan on the lower left) as for some reason these weren't in the main posters. The rest of the images required the usual edits--some AI enlargement for wider images I could only find in small resolution, blending between two or three variants of the same poster, to get the widest version, and/or to paint out text, figuring out text placement, and color tweaks. 

Cover 13 uses a moody digital painting by Ali Shimhaq. Cover 14 uses an incredible piece by a new artist find to me--Mike Butkus, whose highly textured and evocative work is drawn and painted by hand. Cover 15 uses a piece by digital illustrator Doaly

Cover 16 uses a piece by BossLogic, though I ended up altering the image a bit, I ended up comping in the the top third or so of the image, as the original cuts off half-way up Noa's forehead. I used cloning and repainting to finish the top of his head, and them took elements from the other posters to complete the top of the city skyline behind him and did my best to blend it all in together, so that this one would pair with the original series of solo ape faces over the black background. 

Finally, Covers 17 and 18, use two pieces by the great Matt Ferguson. The last one is part of his matching set for all four of the newest films--it's nice to have a set that fully pairs, for those that care about that, especially since few of the poster sets really seemed to care about consistency of design in this regard. His other poster offers a moody look at Proximus, I ended up using a wallpaper version that seemingly used AI to widen out the sides of the image, hence the loss in clarity, though this extra width was necessary to keep a comfortable spacing for this square formatting. 

Hope you enjoy the ongoing series, and let me know your favorite selections. 

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