Planet of the Apes (1968) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Fantasy / Science Fiction
Fox || G - 112 minutes - $34.99 || November 4, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-11-18


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Writer(s): Pierre Boulle (novel); Michael Wilson and Rod Serling (screenplay)
Cast: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter


Theatrical Release Date: April 3, 1968


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Audio Commentaries
  • Text Commentary
  • Science of the Apes (PiP)
  • Behind the Planet of the Apes
  • 6 Featurettes
  • Beyond the Forbidden Zone (Game)
  • Image Gallery


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Mono), French (Dolby Mono), Spanish (Dolby Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

After the abomination that was the 2001 "re imagining" of Planet of the Apes, I had a hard time wanting to actually see the classics. Previously I had seen bits and pieces of the first film, but the "remake" left a very sour taste in my mouth. Finally, I caved and bought the massive DVD set housed inside of Caesarís head. And boy - it was so worth it. Fox has done it again, this time releasing all 5 films in a cardboard case that houses all five films along with a 200 page hard cover book. I am reviewing the first of these films but simply wanted to let fans know that you can purchase the other four films on Blu-ray in either individual cases and/or the giant cardboard case.

By now most individuals have either seen this film or seen it spoofed before. "The Simpson's" spoofed it years ago with a Planet of the Apes "musical" (which I still sing to this day when Dr. Zaius shows up). The film starts off with four crew members aboard a spaceship when something goes wrong - while they think they are sleeping for a night they really have been sleeping for 1,500 years! After awaking they plunge into a large body of water and make their escape onto land. Sadly, one of the astronauts - a female - never awakes. The three men, led by Taylor (Charlton Heston), make their way along the seemingly empty planet until they find themselves surrounded by what looks like a hundred humans. While they are trying to determine what is going on (as they appear to be mute and dressed like cavemen), they are ambushed by Gorilla's on horses rounding them up, killing them, or just plain torturing them. During the struggle Taylor is shot and a bullet appears to graze his throat - now making him mute.

After the ambush, Taylor is taken back to the Ape city where he is thrown in a cage and treated like a Zoo animal. It is at this point that he comes in contact with Zira (Kim Hunter), an "animal psychologist", who believes Taylor is different from the other humans, and can interact and form intelligent discussions with the Apes.

The only real issue I have with the film is that while Taylor is locked up, and apparently unable to speak, he continuously tries to make a connection with the other Apes and prove he is capable of speaking. One of the things he does is try and grab Zira's notepad so he can write. While a smart idea, one wonders why he didn't just clap his hands, march, dance, or do something that no other "human" on the planet would be capable of. It became incredibly frustrating watching these scenes (20 minutes or so) where Taylor could do something that would prove he is at least somewhat intelligent and instead does nothing.

Even with that small issue, you would be hard pressed to find any other faults with the film. The plot is rather unique, the acting superb (one of Heston's best) and a jaw-dropping climax that ó spoiled numerous times over the years ó still brings a slight state of awe every time I witness it.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

+ Commentary by Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Natalie Trundy (Actors) and John Chambers (Makeup)
+ Commentary by Jerry Goldsmith (Composer)
+ Commentary (Text) by Eric Greene
- - I sampled both the Audio Commentaries and found Jerry Goldsmithís to be more impressive out of the bunch. Why? The Actor's version tended to have way too many silent parts. The Text commentary is pretty interesting and worth a watch (or read?).

Science of the Apes (PiP/ Profile 1.1/2.0) - What could have been interesting tends to be rather dull 90% of the time. Here we get a handful of individuals discussing science and whatnot. Yawn. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Behind the Planet of the Apes (2 hours) - An extremely comprehensive look at all five Apes flicks along with interviews by many of the cast and crew. This has been available before on DVD so for Apes fans its nothing new, but if you've never seen this itís definitely worth a watch.

A Look Behind the Planet of the Apes (15 Minutes)
NATO Presentation (6 Minutes)
1968 Featurette (5 Minutes)

- - All three of these features seem to serve the same purpose - to advertise the film. Nothing groundbreaking here but worth a watch for the nostalgic feel (much like those TV commercials on the Bond releases)

Footage Archive (~ 60 minutes) - This feature is broken into several different features all of which are not that impressive. Itís mostly makeup and home movies (and what I think are outtakes).

Impact of the Apes (10 Minutes; HD) ** Blu-ray Exclusive ** Evolution of the Apes (23 Minutes; HD) ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

- - An impressive featurette that going into detail on the novel as well as some of the films. This is more interesting than the above "Impact" but yet again, very dry.

Beyond the Forbidden Zone (Java Game; HD) - Ugh. Yet another waste of time and money, Fox brings us a silly little maze game. I'd much rather see this money and effort be put into making more features HD. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

And finally we get the Gallery feature has, as you would guess, still images.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Planet of the Apes is presented in (AVC/MPEG4) on a 50GB Disc. I can see Fox went to great lengths to improve the picture for this release and it clearly shows - where previous DVD releases were rather lacking I was excited to see even more detail in this release then every before. This, of course, has several negative affects as well like being able to see plant life when there was suppose to not be any and seeing how fake some of the Apes look. Is this a bad thing? No, I was able to look fast some of the film makers obvious mistakes they didn't know would show up forty years later and appreciate more of the design that was taken in the film. While not as eye-popping as the latest James Bond flicks I am still happy to report this is a terrific release.

Fox brings this releases packed with an English 5.1 DTS MA track as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 in French and several Mono tracks in various languages. Don't expect any miracles with this track because itís not all that great - the rears are pretty much inactive for most of the flick and at times the dialog sounds a bit tinny. Is it better than the previous DVD releases? Absolutely. But I didn't notice much of a jump in sound quality when flipping back and forth between my DVD and Blu-ray.



.::OVERALL::.

No doubt about it, Planet of the Apes belongs in any Sci-Fi fans collection and this Blu-ray boast the best possible picture and sound available for the forty year old flick and a huge amount of special features.