Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 15th, 2001
I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about this film. I will sum it up like this… If you are expecting amazing acting and storyline, you will be disappointed. But, on the other hand, if you are expecting to see a bunch of Apes jumping around and some very fun visual effects, you are in for a treat….
In the year 2029, interstellar reconnaissance missions are relegated to chimpanzee pilots from the Space Station Oberon in deep space. On such a mission, a chimp loses communication and vanis…es from the radar. Fearless astronaut Leo Davidson launches a rescue mission and, following a malfunction, lands on a jungle-like planet not unlike the Earth. To Leo’s astonishment, English-speaking apes and primitive humans inhabit the planet. Following his capture by the apes and subsequent escape, Leo assembles a small band of defiant humans and empathetic apes in an attempt to re-establish contact with Oberon, but his focus changes following an unexpected discovery. Armed with this new information, Leo leads a rebellion against an overpowering ape force that will result in freedom or complete annihilation.
This film is not only visually pleasing, but it is a very fun film to listen to as well. The 5.1 soundtrack is very good… both in use of the complete soundstage and quality of the sound reproduction. Sound will attack you (along with the apes) from all angles. The voices are all very clear from the center channel, and the effects and soundtrack are very effectively reproduced through every speaker. The bass response from the subwoofer is deep and clear, and helps to set the mood of the film.
The two commentary tracks that are included on this DVD are very interesting. They are definitely more educational and informative then entertaining, but that is usually the case when actors are not included in the tracks to light them up somewhat. Both the Tim Burton (Director) and the Danny Elfman (composer) commentary are very good commentary tracks. They inform and teach why things were done as they were, and how the film making processes happen.
The video quality of Planet of the Apes is flawless. The colors are magnificent, and the many dark scenes come across beautifully. Flesh tones (and a guess hair tones, if that is what you call it for the apes) looked very natural, and the overall picture was very pleasing to the eye. There is no sign of any image enhancements, transfer artifacts, or pixilation. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer looks like money (I just watched swingers, so I had to say “money” somewhere in this review). Great job Fox!
Where do I begin? This 2-Disc set has an absurd amount of special features. And not just on the second disc, the fun every gets started on disc one. This is where you are able to access a featured called “Enhanced viewing mode”, which allows picture-in-picture vignettes on various filmmaking topics, plus access to additional materials such as visual effects analysis… all while you are enjoying the film. This feature is very similar to the “follow the white rabbit” feature on The Matrix DVD, and the “Staling Stones” features on the Snatch DVD. Also included on the first disc are your DVD basics such as cast & crew bios, access to the two commentary tracks, THX Optimode features, and scene selections.
Disc two is where the fun really begins. This disc is jammed-packed with fun special features. A total of 6 documentaries are included on this disc. These documentaries cover topics such are “Ape School”, “Makeup”, “Costume Tests”, “Shooting on Location”, Scoring the Film”, and “Ape Stunts”. All of these documentaries are meant to show the viewer the work behind the scenes to make the final product look as it does. Also included are a number of multiple angle featurettes of the shooting of certain scenes. You can choose the angle you wish to watch, and then even compare the multiple angles side by side.
A total of 5 extended scenes were included on this disc. The scenes are fun to watch, but were all gladly cut from the final cut of the film. The HBO feature on The Planet of the Apes is quite entertaining. The 28 minute feature walks the viewer through the story, the filming, and the actors of the film. These HBO specials are usually worth a watch, and this one is no exception. Lastly, here are some other features that are also found on this disc… music video, still photo gallery, DVD-ROM features, Trailers & TV spots, Posters & Press Kit, Music Promo, and more.
Now for the menus… they are some of the best ever made! These menus are extremely good. They are all full motion with full audio. They contain fully animated page transitions, and are very cool to look at. Now if every DVD would have menus that are this nice, I would be a very happy reviewer.
This film will not be for everyone, but if you are a fan of action and/or sci-fi films, you need to own this DVD. The DVD execution of Planet of the Apes is flawless! The audio, video, special features, and menus are as good as you can get. Even if you did not overly enjoy the film itself, you cannot go wrong with this DVD.
Special Features List
- 28 never-before-seen programs created specifically for the DVD during filming
- nine behind-the-scenes/multi-angle features
- Theatrical trailers, a music video, and television spots
- Enhanced viewing mode
- 2 Commentary Tracks
- DVD-ROM with screenplay/script/storyboard comparison
- NUON-enhanced features such as Viddies and Cool Zooms
- The HBO “First Look”
- Five extended scenes
- Multiple featurettes
- Two Easter Eggs