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H D - S E N S E I
A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze
Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray]
(Franklin J. Schaffner, 1968)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: 20th Century Fox
Feature Runtime: 1:52:02
Feature film disc size: 27.3 Gig
One dual-layered Blu-ray
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 4th, 2008
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC (26 mb/s)
Behind the Planet of the
• NEW Science of the Apes BONUSVIEW - Scientists,
anthropologists and sociologists discuss the facts and
fiction of the first film
Product Description: Astronauts Taylor, Landon, and Dodge are in deep
hibernation when their spaceship (non-canonically known as Icarus) crash-lands
in a lake on an unknown planet in 3978 after a 2006-year voyage at near-light
speed (the crew ages only 18 months due to time dilation). The astronauts awaken
to find that their fourth companion and only female, Stewart, has died in space
due to an air leak and that their ship is sinking in a lake. They use an
inflatable raft to reach shore. Once there, Dodge performs a soil test and
pronounces the soil incapable of sustaining life. Taylor suggests they are on a
planet in the constellation of Orion some 320 light years from Earth but admits
he is not sure.
Excerpt from Wikipedia HERE
At the end of the movie, when Taylor brandishes his rifle and tells Dr. Zaius: "Don't try to follow me. I'm pretty handy with this." Zaius replies: "Of that I'm sure. All my life I've awaited your coming and dreaded it."
Zaius' reply, though upstaged by Taylor's final damning realization, is really at the heart of perhaps the best of the end-of-the-world screenplays. Murder – calculated and reflexive, passionate and careless, political and intimate - is in our blood from the beginning, from Cain to the present day, with no let-up in sight. We may or may not have picked up the gauntlet from our evolutionary ancestors, but it appears likely that we must pass it on to those who come after.
Planet of the Apes was released on April 3, 1968, the day before the assassination of Martin Luther King, two months before the murder of Robert Kennedy, and in the midst of the Tet Offensive – the bloodiest phase of America's Vietnam War. Its star, Charlton Heston, was generally associated with iconic movie roles that championed freedom (Moses, Ben-Hur, El Cid). But in this movie Heston is cast as the last cynical apolitical American narcissist – an archetype that, by the end of the film, is turned on its head: Taylor is transformed into a prophet for the end of the world – a self-fulfilling, self-piloting, automatically repeating prophet who, like the River Kwai's Col. Nicholson, has more than a hand in bringing about its own conclusion. I wonder if Heston himself appreciated the paradox that Rod Serling spelled out for him?
These thoughts came to me, Katrina-like, as I realized the coincidence of the release date for Fox's Blu-ray Planet of the Apes five-title set, ironically titled: the Evolution Collection, with our Election Day. We shall see.
Whatever one's politics,
we can be certain that the four sequels, storied or
screenplayed by Paul Dehn (who was not with credentials
himself, helping out with: Zefferelli's Taming of the
Shrew, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, and
Goldfinger), represent a devolution of the
cinematic art. But, then, how could it be otherwise,
given the first movie's credentials: screenplay by
Michael Wilson (who wrote or had a hand in: A Place
in the Sun, The Bridge on the River Kwai,
The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell and Lawrence
of Arabia) & Rod Serling (need we say more) and
Directed by Franklin Schaffner (who previously worked in
television, but soon to direct Patton,
Papillon and Boys From Brazil). The ending,
in some ways like the closing of the door of the first
Godfather film, both invited and warned against a
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were obtained directly from the Blu-ray disc.
TheBlu-ray transfer looks better about what I anticipated. It has definite improvement over previous 35th Anniversary SD edition but being a 40-year old film it can only look so good. I'd say though that the image - across the board - is quite good. Everything from depth and colors to detail and contrast is superior to varying degrees. Background noise is never intrusive and although we can see grain - it does not proliferate the image. In fact it's fairly smooth and blemish-free. Technically it is dual-layered with the feature size being a healthy 27.3 Gig. I don't see strong evidence of DNR or edge enhancements. In fact I'd have to say the MPEG-4 AVC encoded image gives about as accurate-to-theatrical visually as we are likely to get. I have no strong gripes and I don't think most fans will be complaining. The Blu-ray image produces an enjoyable presentation - the best I have ever seen The Planet of the Apes. Hopefully, the screen captures below will give you an idea of what it will look like on your system. It's pretty impressive all things considered.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
20th Century Fox 50th Anniversary Blu-ray TOP vs. 20th Century Fox (35th Anniversary Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM
Audio & Music:
October 31st, 2008
Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player
Gary W. Tooze