Is it a good sign when the trailer bills WETA and its special effects over the cast or the story itself?

I don’t think so.

After a few teases, Fox debuted The Rise of the Planet of the Apes teaser in the wee hours of the morning.     It’s a short trailer, but it packs a lot of the story in, which is what makes its WETA namedrop a little troubling.  You’re putting it all out there, but with a caveat. Hey, just concentrate on the apes, all right?  Don’t look at James Franco over there.

And you probably don’t want to look at Franco.  The guy is experiencing a lot of backlash right now — some deserved, most ridiculous — but I can’t say this showcases his best work.  Perhaps I’ve just seen too much of his off-kilter humor this year, but his earnestness seems like it walked out of an SNL skit.   Freida Pinto is just there to look pretty and sort of scientific and humane, and she does.

I’ll give the trailer this much — it’s creepy. There are some truly chilling little setpieces (Caesar’s lockpick, him watching the happy couple’s slumber) but it’s undermined by some real goofiness.  Gorilla-attacks-helicopter should be a meme any minute now…

The trailer is up at Apple, no embed, so watch it and come back to chat.