Planet Of The Apes (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-03-2008, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1968
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 112 Minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2:35.1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English/Spanish Dolby Mono
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean
Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore
Directed by: Frank J. Schaffner
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Written by: Michael Wilson & Rod Serling
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 4, 2008

"Somewhere in the universe, there must be something better than man!"

Film Synopsis:

Charlton Heston stars as Taylor, an astronaut who crash-lands on a mysterious world where intelligent apes rule...and hunt primitive, speechless humans for sport. Soon, Taylor's life depends on the kindness of the chimpanzee scientists Cornelius and Zira (Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter) and his escape to the Forbidden Zone, where he uncovers an earth-shattering secret that may hold the key to his own destiny.

My Take:

The original The Planet of the apes is a film that had an effect on all who saw it, especially at a young age. I didn't see it theatrically but first saw it on television. I think the biggest impact on me the first time I saw it was its ending. Wow! I didn't see that coming but it was so well conceived and being from NY it just threw me. Aside from that was the incredible (at that time) makeup effects used to transform the cast into their ape counterparts. John Chambers' make-up effects were groundbreaking and seemed incredibly realistic which left more of an impression. Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans gave such strong performances that I believe that without them the film wouldn't have had the same success. The screenplay is loosely based upon the novel by Pierre Boulle and was co-written by Rod Serling. 40 years later this film still has religious, social, and political themes that have some level of bearing. Four sequels, two television shows (one animated), comic books, retail merchandise and a 2001 re-make have followed. It has a large fan base/following that continues to grow even today. I am not a true fan since I have never owned any of them on video. I saw them all on television while growing up and can remember that it was a big event when they were coming on. This re-visit marks the first time I have seen this film in many years and it was and still remains my favorite in the series.

Parental Guide:

The G rating is a little light. This film contains partial nudity (male buttocks), brief language, adult smoking, and violence. I would think that a PG or PG-13 would be more appropriate.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 62

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 78

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Planet of the apes comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 channel Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 1.9 mbps.

The video presentation was very good and provided varying degrees of sharpness and fine rendering. The opening and first act offered images that were fairly stable in terms of depth and clarity. There was plenty of discernible small object detail in the clothing, interior of the ship, and facial features among the cast. The panning and long distant shots of the canyon and desert landscapes were reproduced with excellent dimensional depth and lucid textures. Once things moved to the ape's compound the level of fine detail was less apparent but this appeared to be scene or camera angle dependent. I didn't feel that the difference was so great that it altered the level of tangible resolution but rather it affected depth perception somewhat. The range of colors used in the film is not extensive however colors were cleanly rendered with good tonal balance and a satisfying degree of saturation. Skin tones were warm with natural highlights and lifelike delineation. I noticed some light banding in the sky during the first act as Taylor, Landon, and Dodge crossed the desert. Grain is intact and rarely drew attention to itself. I didn't see any indications of noise reduction or artificial sharpening. I thought that this presentation was filmic and probably represents the best that this classic film has looked since its theatrical release.

There was a Dolby Mono track included but I used the DTS-HD MA surround mix for my evaluation. The original source elements are simply not going to have the dynamic range or force felt impact of a modern digitally recorded soundtrack. This presentation had limited dynamic potential, and room penetration which resulted hollow sounding effects and a narrower sound field. There was no low frequency detail mixed to the subwoofer channel although there was detectable mid range bass that provided some level of impact when appropriate (The sealing of the cave in the third act and the sound of the space ship in the opening crash sequence). I was pleased with the well articulated dialogue and crisp clarity of the various sound effects present in the recording. The front three channels reproduced all of the primary elements contained in the soundtrack. The surrounds added some light ambient music detail and low level front soundstage extension. Jerry Goldsmith's uncanny music sounded wonderfully detailed via its rather diverse instrumentation and prominent soundstage placement. This is essentially a dialogue driven film and this mix scored high where it counted.

Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with actors Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Natalie Trundy and make-up artist John Chambers

  • Commentary with composer Jerry Goldsmith

  • Text commentary wit Eric Greene author of Planet of the apes an American myth

  • Science of the apes - Bonusview PiP feature

  • Beyond the Forbidden Zone adventure game - a simple maze type game that uses the remote control

  • A public service announcement for ANSA

  • (HD) Evolution of the apes featurette

  • (HD) Impact of the apes featurette

  • Behind the Planet of the apes - Documentary hosted by Roddy McDowall

  • Behind the Planet of the apes - Promo

The archive of the apes:

  1. Original 1966 make-up test with Edward G. Robinson
  2. Roddy McDowall on set footage
  3. Dailies and outtakes (no audio)
  4. NATO presentation - 1967
  5. 1968 vintage Planet of the apes featurette
  6. Teaser trailer
  7. Theatrical trailer

  • The Galleries of the apes

  • D-Box Motion Code

Final Thoughts:

Planet of the apes has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon that has spawned 4 sequels and has a large dedicated fan base. I am sure that its anticipated release on high definition Blu-ray disc has many crossing their fingers in terms of its technical quality. I am happy to report that it looks great and boasts a rather extensive set of bonus supplements that are worthy of its stature as a cinematic classic. I am pleased to add it to my collection and highly recommend it for fans as well.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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post #2 of 12 Old 11-03-2008, 03:41 PM
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Thanks Ralph,

This is a must-have for any sci-fi/classic movie fan. I've had it on pre-order and am looking forward to getting it!

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post #3 of 12 Old 11-03-2008, 04:52 PM
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Love this flick, I remember the goose bumps it gave me as a kid. But it does not sound like a worthwhile upgrade from the 35th Anniversery DVD in my collection.
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-03-2008, 10:44 PM
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If the HDTV presentation of the films is ANYTHING close, to what the blu ray set is, it's a little blah.
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-04-2008, 12:56 AM
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Great review. I thought I'd add my .02 regarding the film's Oscar-winning ape makeup, which were amazingly cutting edge for the time, and even bests Tim Burton's (inferior) rendition, which had the benefit of over 30 years' advancement in makeup technology. For most 'Ape' fans, there'll be no hesitation as we double, or even triple-dip for this long-awaited BD.

'' It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response ... shall we continue ? ''
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post #6 of 12 Old 11-04-2008, 06:16 AM
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A GREAT film, can wait to get it in BluRay so I can drool over "Nova".

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post #7 of 12 Old 11-04-2008, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by davyo View Post

A GREAT film, can wait to get it in BluRay so I can drool over "Nova".

+1....She looked even hotter in 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes'....Linda Harrison, who played Nova, was reportedly chosen for the role since she was the girlfriend of Fox boss Richard D. Zanuck (which she later married & divorced) at the time.

'' It's a test, designed to provoke an emotional response ... shall we continue ? ''
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-04-2008, 04:19 PM
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I recall reading were Ron Howard had hired Linda Harrison to be in Cocoon 2 as he had a crush on her from seeing the Apes movies as a kid.

I thought it was kinda cool they included her in the Tim Burton version of Apes even though she was only on screen for about 10 seconds,, a bigger part would have been nicer,,,, wonder if Burton had a childhood crush on her as well.

Anyhow,,, Linda Harrison/Nova was a babe deluxe in the first Ape movies.

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post #9 of 12 Old 11-06-2008, 10:34 AM
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I watched it last night and it does look quite good. A little soft for my taste but the resolution reveals plenty of detail never seen before.

One thing that struck me was how well you can see the quality of the makeup. It was amazing what they did in those days. You can also see more subtle details in Kim Hunter's (Zira) expressions. She really used here eyes quite well in expressing her feelings through the makeup.

All in all, a great Blu-Ray.

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post #10 of 12 Old 12-24-2008, 05:08 AM
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Thanks for the review.

Is this confirmed to be a region A disc?

I ordered it without paying attention to region limitation, and I only noticed later that most Fox Blu-rays are region-locked.

Now I have it here, unopened (so I can return it). There is no information concerning region coding on the back cover.
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post #11 of 12 Old 01-04-2009, 01:45 PM
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I think it looks amazing for a 40+ yr old film, thx for the review.
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post #12 of 12 Old 01-04-2009, 04:39 PM
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The original film (don't get me started on the remake/image) is one of my all-time favorites and the ending is the best in cinematic history IMHO. Nova is just icing on the cake when it comes to this "Bright Eyes" led science fiction masterpiece. I can now retire my dvd and watch the Blu ray version much to my wife's dismay. How she can hate such a classic is beyond me. FYI she hated it before I started my monthly viewings.

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