on June 1, 2012
So, given this classics age, some 44 years now, I was pleasantly surprised how it still holds up. I bought this BlueRay version hoping the picture quality would be much better than the one I have. It is definitely better in the overall detail and the colour, than my DVD special edition from 2000. But by no means huge!!!. So, not what I was really hoping for, but... acceptable.
Bottom line, If you don't already own this classic film, this BlueRay release is the one get. If you are looking to upgrade from a DVD copy you my want to think about it. Or check it out first. After all the price is not bad. No regrets here!
Four big stars,
on March 18, 2004
20th Century Fox released the film previously on DVD by itself and in a box set with the rest of the Apes films plus a bonus DVD of extras. Now, for those who just want the first (and best) film of the series and all of the extras, Fox has released an excellent two-DVD special edition of Planet of the Apes to celebrate its 35th anniversary.
The DVD's extras get off to a shaky start with the two lackluster audio commentaries. The first is by legendary composer, Jerry Goldsmith, and the second by actors Roddy McDowall, Natalie Trundy, Kim Hunter and make-up artist John Chambers. Both commentaries could benefit from some extensive editing. There is way too much dead air that one has to sit through to get to the few interesting tidbits of information. The DVD producers should have edited down these commentaries to only the scenes in the movie that are actually commented on, like with the audio tracks on the Glengarry Glen Ross and The Right Stuff DVDs.
The text commentary by Eric Greene, author of Planet of the Apes as American Myth, redeems things by cramming a ton of interesting factoids on the screen in the form of subtitles. It's scary when the text commentary is better than both audio commentaries combined.
The second DVD contains the bulk of the extra material. The first section, "Exploring the Apes," contains a comprehensive, two-hour documentary entitled, "Behind the Planet of the Apes." Hosted by Roddy McDowall, it takes a look at the entire Apes saga from the films to the cartoon and TV series with an emphasis on the first (and best) film. Fans of the Apes films will be delighted to see all the major players from the films back for new interviews done exclusively for this documentary.
Also included in this section is the make-up test reel with Edward G. Robinson that convinced the 20th Century Fox brass to pony up the money for the film. There is "Roddy McDowall Home Movies" taken while making the first Apes movie that shows the step-by-step application of his ape make-up. There are 19 minutes of dailies and outtakes from the film.
There are also two vintage featurettes from 1968 and 1972 respectively. They are nothing more than superficial promos but are now fascinating time capsules of their times. Finally, there are two brief featurettes that showcase footage of directors Don Taylor and J. Lee Thompson shooting a scene from the Apes films that they worked on. These last two extras feel like unnecessary padding.
The "Publicity" section contains theatrical trailers for all of the Apes films, two glowing reviews for The Planet of the Apes and a collection of movie posters from all around the world.
The "Galleries" section features sketches by costume designer Morton Haack and a small stills gallery.
Finally, the "Ape Phenomenon" offers a brief glimpse into the vast Apes merchandising empire with a gallery of action figures. Also included is a collection of costumes and make-up from the films.
This new two-DVD set does justice to this landmark science fiction film. The transfer is amazing clear and free of any artifacting. The movie also hasn't sounded better with a crystal clear 5.1 surround soundtrack. While the audio commentaries are a let down, the two-hour documentary more than makes up for it. This is well worth picking up if you are a fan of the first film and want all the supplemental materials included in the box set without having to pay the extra money for the inferior sequels.
on February 28, 2004
This movie is a social/political satire of the human race, transferred to a planet of apes. There is a definite class division between the orangutans (top) chimpanzees (middle) and gorillas (bottom). The primitive mute humans are just...well, animals.
Charleton Heston and crew crash land on the planet, and are captured by the apes. Heston befriends a pair of chimpazee scientists who eventually help him escape from captivity.
One detail easily missed is during the trial of the chimpanzees by the orangutans, when the 3 orangutans cover their eyes, ears and mouth in the classic "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil" when they are being told things they do not agree with.
Whether you like the movie or not, the ending scene of the movie is one of the best in the history of cinema.
The DVD has numerous extras, but in fact all three commentaries are hugely disappointing as they are quite sparse, and much of it is repeated verbatim in the included and good 2-hr documentary about the movie and all the sequels.
Spectacular scenery, oscar-winning makeup, great score, great story.
on February 17, 2004
As for the DVD...I question some of the choices that were made by 20th century fox. For anyone who doesn't know the film, "Planet of the Apes" is based off of the Pierre Boulle novel, also author of the acclaimed The Bridge Over the River Kwai. In the film, Taylor (Charlton Heston), the captain of an expedition crew in deep space, is about to set the ship on a direct course home and put himself into hyper sleep. However, as he goes to sleep, something goes terribly wrong and the space ship crash lands on an unknown world 2000 years in the future "give or take a decade". Now, everything that Taylor believes in is about to get tested as his very search for something "better than man" pits him face to face with a planet of apes that DO consider themselves "better than man".
The film also stars the late Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter as the pair of scientist apes that befriend Taylor and help him discover why apes rule this planet and why this intense hatred for man exists.
When released in 1968, (alongside the release of Kubrick's Sci-fi epic 2001) the film was met with huge success (as well as controversy) due to the political and social commentary apparent in the film. And while the film is nigh on 37 years old, those commentaries are as true today as they were in the 60's and 70's. And what really makes the movie stand the test of time, aside from the wonderful performances include the expert direction of Franklin Shaffner, the unconventional score by Mr. Jerry Goldsmith, and the groundbreaking special effects (which still stand the test of time) by John Chambers.
Now to the DVD: The film is presented in digitally remastered 5.1 audio in 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen and looks rather good. I didn't perceive any color issues or transfer issues the first time I watched it, which is always nice to see. As for the commentaries on the first disk, they are rather useless as commentaries go. Roddy McDowall passed away before this set was released so I assume that his parts of the commentary are recorded from earlier interviews. As for the rest of the voices on that commentary, their insights are few and far between. In essence the track serves more as a 2.0 audio track for the film than a true-blue commentary.
Then there is the "live" (thankfully) music commentary track by Jerry Goldsmith. It gives some insight into the musical choices as well as instrument selections by the acclaimed composer, as well as other small bits of information. On the whole, it's nothing overly amazing. Thankfully, Goldsmiths music speaks for itself.
Finally, there's the text-only commentary by Eric Greene, Author of "Planet of the Apes as American Myth". It's not bad if you're into text commentaries. But at points, it just becomes a nuisance. It makes you wonder why they couldn't have just added another voice commentary that might have actually been worth listening to.
Then we come to disk two...which is chocked full of goodies. The two hour featurette "Behind the Planet of the Apes" - Hosted by the late Roddy McDowall, is a great view into the history of this film and its four lesser sequels. Then there are some also smaller featurettes, including the 1968 original making of. Also included are dailies and outtakes from the original 1968 stock footage (with no audio track) and some of Roddy McDowall's home films shot on 16mm (at least that what I guessed from the camera he was using...it might have been 8mm). Again, these have no audio, but have been filled in with some of the music from the movie. The problem here is that "Behind the Planet of the Apes" has some of this same footage in it, so you're basically seeing the same thing twice.
So, is it worth it to buy this 35th anniversary dvd? By all means yes. This film is a classic by all rights, and it's worth being a part of everyone's DVD collection. And while the commentaries are on the weak side, there's enough here to keep the general DVD enthusiast happy. It really is true what they say...they just don't make films (sci-fi or not) like this anymore.
on February 5, 2004
I have to say that I agree with most of the negative comments already made here over the new "35th Anniversary" DVD edition of "Planet of the Apes" (1968). This appears to been something of a rush job on the part of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to please the die-hard fans of the film. Unfortunately this package doesn't contain enough of the things those very fans covet most: an extensive photo gallery of behind-the-scenes shots, deleted footage from well-known cut scenes, and a gallery of nearly every product ever released with the "Planet of the Apes" logo stamped on it. Also, most of the extra stuff here has been previously released on DVD, with only Roddy McDowall's private 16mm films taken during the production being the most fascinating extra on the two-disc set. Jerry Goldsmith provides a wonderful commentary but there are long stretches between his comments, and there's no isolated score, which would have been nice.
So what is there to get excited about? Well, finally this classic Science Fiction film is available in the anamorphic DVD format of 16X9. If you have a widescreen video display with progressive scan this movie is going to look marvelous. For a 1968 flick, the movie looks remarkably good, a tribute to the original Panavision photography. And the movie sounds better than ever, with a stereo that now finally approaches the original 4-track sound of the era. It's true that there's hardly any rear surround information, but this is typical of the era's mono surround track for four channel films.
If you're not a fan of the "Planet of the Apes" and hardly know anything of its production, then this DVD is going to tell you everything you'll want to know and more. After viewing everything on this disc you may want to "Escape from the Planet of the Apes." And if you are a member of the "Apes" cult of fans, then just keep writing to Fox for "more, more, more." There are still the four "Apes" sequels waiting to get the anamorphic treatment on DVD.
on October 26, 2003
The impact of PLANET OF THE APES has unfortunately suffered a diminution because of the inferior sequels and a cartoonish television series. Nevertheless the original still resonates in ways that even now does not lose power after multiple viewings. Director Franklin Schaffner took a literate script from Rod Serling, who in turn adapted the monkey planet tale from Pierre Boulle, and brought to the screen a world turned upside down. In both the novel and the script, an astronaut (Charlton Heston) crashes his spacecraft on a world that he believes lies hundreds of light years from earth only to discover that it is apes who rule and human beings who serve. The plot, which details Heston's attempt to understand how this monkey ruling society could have evolved, allows Director Franklin both to entertain and to instruct. The entertaining aspect is connected to an often biting and humorous didacticism that pokes a not so gentle thrust at an anti-war, post-hippie society that was contemporary with the film's release date of 1968. The tri-part ape society of gorilla, chimpanzee, and monkey correspond to the pro-war military, the educated elite, and the silent majority respectively. Just as human society was rent by internal dissent during the Vietnam War so is simian society equally divisive due to the heavy handed way the gorillas run roughshod over the chimps and monkeys. The impact of PLANET OF THE APES inheres in a very nearly seamless melding of sight to sound. At the start of the film, Heston and two other earth astronauts are forced to wander this new world and are greeted first by an inhospitable desert, then by thieving humans, and then finally by brute gorillas who round up the humans in images of white slave catchers recapturing runaway black slaves. The scene involving the imprisoning of the humans still shocks in intensity, even after more than three decades. Later, other and similar scenes set up the beach finale that indicates at what point human society began to wither and simian society began to be ascendant. Much of the dialogue is rife with irony and wit that when spoken by apes about humans richly suggests the folly of ethnic egotism that is apparently not limited to humans alone.
Heston's supporting cast is capable and even classically trained. Maurice Evans as the ape leader mouths platitudes with the certainty of a wounded Lear as he tries mightily to grasp why his own kind are taking the side of the humans. Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter are kindly scientists who can see that Heston is far more than the mutated freak that the gorilla leaders hold him to be. And then there is the obligatory piece of female eye candy, fetchingly played by Linda Harrison, as Heston's love interest. What PLANET OF THE APES points out is that if our contemporary human society suffers from mutually assured destruction, then the survivors may be indistinguishable from the brutish laws of a future ruling simian one.
on May 10, 2003
Planet of the Apes is a really good film. With any doubt the best sci-fi film of the sixties (no I'm not forgetting 2001-space odissey).This is an exciting film, with a good directorial work by F. J. Schafner, a great scrip and good special efects and make up, for the those days of course.
The film about a strange planet where Apes are the rulers and Man are the slaves, provides an excuse to meditate on the stupidity of the human race, and the dangers of weapons of mass destruction, you can even say it is a anti- war film, and yet is star is Charlton Heston, of all american actors the one most attaked by critics since Duke Wayne, and only because of his political opinions. However they tend to forget the fact that like Wayne He is one of the best american actors who ever lived, only a great actor could play Ben-Hur, Mickael Angelo,El Cid,a few generals, an astronaut, several cowboys and two cops with, in my opinion extreme credebility!
Yes Mr. Heston deserves my deepest respect and if this film as many others of his carrer really work and remain so entertaining is because of is great contribution to them and is skill as an actor.
A great film by a great actor whose opinions also deserve to be respected !!!
on January 22, 2003
"Planet of the Apes" is a classic movie and one of my all-time favorites.
However, it bears little resemblance to the book by Pierre Boulle it was based on. In the book, French journalist Ulysse Merou and two colleagues set out in the year 2500 in a spaceship for the star Betelgeuse. The mission is apparently a private one, sponsored by no government. The journey takes two years in space time, but 350 years in Earth time. They arrive safely, orbit a planet and take a "launch" to the surface. Landing in a fertile area, they soon discover a swimming hole, strip and jump in. Then they meet the planet's humans, who live and act like wild animals. After their first encounter, the astronauts return to their spaceship. But when they visit the planet again the next day, the humans surround them and rip off their clothes. Other humans trash the launch, so there's no returning to the spaceship in orbit.
Captured by the humans, the astronauts are taken to a lair, where they sleep on the ground. Merou sleeps with the girl he has named Nova, who has taken a liking to him. In the morning the apes go hunting. One astronaut is killed, two captured. But Merou is separated from his remaining companion, who is a professor and leader of the expedition.
Merou is kept in a cage back in the ape city, but it takes him 3-4 months to convince his captors, principally Doctor Kira, that he is intelligent. Kira teaches Merou the ape language, introduces him to her scientist fiance Cornelius, and they hatch a plot. Merou pretends that he is merely a bit more adept than the native humans so Doctor Zeius, a plodding orangutan, will attempt to gain points in the scientific community by presenting Merou to a crowd of scientists at a conference. Merou grabs the microphone while there and makes a speech that sways public opinion in his favor, so the apes like Zeius must release him.
This gives Merou the leverage he needs to get the professor out of the ape zoo, where he has been on exhibit with other humans. However, the professor has inexplicably regressed intellectually and now exhibits no sign of intelligence.
Marou accompanies Cornelius on an archeological expedition to which they fly in an ape plane. There it is discovered that intelligent humans preceded intelligent apes on the planet. When Marou returns to the city he discovers that Nova, with whom he was caged, is pregnant. Once Sirius is born and begins to cry instead of howl, everyone knows that he will talk eventually. Public opinion turns against Merou and Sirius because apes fear a takeover by intelligent humans.
While the situation with Nova progresses, Cornelius shows Merou the place where scientific experiments are conducted on humans. In a super-secret project, two humans have been made to talk. One of them inexplicably possesses an atavistic memory, and from her we hear the story of how the apes took over hundreds of years ago and drove the humans into the wilderness.
Fearing the reimprisonment of Merou, Kira and Cornelius conspire to have Merou, Nova and Sirius surreptitiously replace three humans who were about to be shot into orbit as part of the ape space program. (I'm not making this up!)
Once in orbit, Merou regains his spaceship, and the little family sets off for Earth. Two years pass for Merou, Nova and Sirius in transit, but 350 years have passed on Earth. Upon his return, Merou is 4-5 years older than when he left, but Earth has aged 700 years. He lands at Orly Airport outside Paris, but finds the Earth now ruled by apes. So he leaves again in his spaceship in search of a friendlier planet.
In the movie nearly everything was changed. To begin with, the four astronauts were Americans on an official government expedition. While they were in suspended animation, the ship went out of control and crashed in an inhospitable region of an unknown planet. The three surviving men trek across the desert to the fertile region and find a swimming hole. While they swim, the wild humans steal their clothes and equipment. Then the ape hunters come. One man dies. Two are captured. It becomes apparent that the apes' technology is equivalent to Earth circa 1880. The protagonist, George Taylor, is wounded and can't speak. Nevertheless, he convinces Kira and Cornelius of his intelligence. Eventually Taylor gets his voice back, but there's no need to learn the ape language. They speak English. Zira and Cornelius become fugitives when they accompany Taylor and Nova to the archeological dig in the "forbidden zone." There they discover proof that intelligent humans preceded intelligent apes on the planet. Taylor has a confrontation with Doctor Zeius and rides off down the coast on horseback with Nova. Then he discovers the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty and realizes that he's on Earth, which was probably ruined by a nuclear war.
I don't believe I've encountered a book and a movie based on it that are more different than these two. Ironically, I read Boulle's "Planet of the Apes" because, after seeing the movie for the fourth time I discerned a curious cynicism on Taylor's part that I presumed came from the book, but was so compressed as to be nearly invisible. However, the cynicism is all in the movie. Merou is nothing like Taylor. I wonder what Boulle thought when he saw what they did with his story...
on August 15, 2002
...I strongly believe that all the things surrounding the movie have their impact. (And the HUGE spoiler in the DVDs' cover is the only reason I haven't buy this movie yet)
Don't get me wrong. I think the movie is fantastic. Charlton Heston did a terrific job portraying the abandon astronaut in an unknown territory. The make up is also one of the greatest assets in the movie, as is the ape city and the landscapes which framed the movie.
But in my opinion, the strenght of the movie relies on its plot: three astronauts, 1 woman and 2 men, are send to another planet in order to settle down a human colony. Things go wrong and suddenly they crashed in an apparent desert spot. Only the two men survived the crash and in no time they find themselves facing a panicked group of humans fleeing from their hunters: Human-sized Apes, riding horses and using rifles and nets. Great scene. Frigthening.
Then, Heston Character finds himself alone, trying to survive an alien Ape society, and running away from the evil ruler of the apes who happens to hide a secret which can change the face of that world for ever, and the perspective of Heston as well.
I know perhaps everybody knows how the movie ends, but I find beauty in that surprise and that's why I get so angry when I came across the DVD and saw the image. ...
Anyway, it's a movie you should see, whether you liked Sci-Fi thrillers or not. But if you like them, then you should own it... (As I would, when my angers disappears...)
on July 11, 2002
The original PLANET OF THE APES film frrom 1968, is a classic, for several reasons. From its ground breaking make-up effects, designed by the late John Chambers, to its memorable script from Michael Wilson and Rod Serling, and to its unique score from Jerry Goldsmith, the original has lots to like...
Astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston) and his crew crash land on a planet where apes rule over the humaniod second class. Desparate to escape from captivity, Taylor befriends 2 ape scientists, Cornelius (Roddy McDowell) and Zira (Kim Hunter), who are sympathetic and think that humans aren't monsters as Zaius (Maurice Evens) contends. As one might expect, since the film was made in the middle of the civil rights movement, it is a cautionary tale, filled with social commentary to mirror the times. But disguised as a sci-fi film, it worked wonders, and is just great. Unlike Tim Burton's remake, this film relies more on simplicity and imagination, and comes out a better movie
The DVD has a photo gallery and theartrical trailers as its extras. There is also access to a Web Link to the official site This DVD is recommended. If you want to learn more about the film and its sequels, I also recommend the 2 disc DVD set "Behind The Planet Of The Apes". It makes a fine companion to the original film.