By Chris Nashawaty
Updated April 14, 2011 at 03:29 PM EDT

When I first heard that James Franco would be starring in a new, big-budget prequel to The Planet of the Apes, my heart sank a little. Mainly because I wish the best for Franco and got a little queasy thinking about how he’d deliver the line: “Get your paws off me, you damned dirty ape!” But also because Tim Burton’s god-awful 2001 reboot, Planet of the Apes, was still a fresh wound that hadn’t completely healed yet. Well, I sure feel a lot better now that I’ve seen the first trailer for 20th Century Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes (which hits theaters on August 5). It looks pretty friggin’ dope.

The clips opens with Franco in a white lab coat saying a bunch of scientific things about how a cure tested on apes has come with an unexpected side effect: boosting brain function. Cut to shots of a concerned Freida Pinto delivering lines that make it clear that she’s the conscience of the movie. Then there’s a bunch of eerie shots of a sterile medical bunker that hints that the real enemy is us. Okay … but what about the apes?

They look awesome. Hats off to Weta Digital for pulling off what seems to be the next evolutionary cinematic leap from the Rick Baker monkey suits of the past. As the apes escape from the lab and run amok, we see quick cuts of an ape lumbering down a quiet suburban street at night with a lit-up Ferris wheel in the background. (The simian nightmare has come to picket-fence Elm Street, folks!) Then we see the haunting image of a giant ape staring over a couple in their bedroom as they sleep. (No one’s safe!) Then all hell breaks loose and the apes are leap-frogging over cars on the Golden Gate Bridge. (It’s on!)

Take a look at the clip and tell us what you think. Has ‘Rise’ suddenly emerged as the popcorn flick to beat this summer?

Read more: