The Good

As far as Blu-ray Disc releases go, this one offers spectacle of the highest order.

The Bad

All in all this movie seems to lack some zing and pep.

Planet of the Apes is a remake of the 1968 film starring Mark Wahlberg in the role of Captain Leo Davidson. After crashing on an unknown plaent, Davidson comes to realize that it is actually a land that is ruled by apes who in many ways are much more advanced (and stronger than) their human counterparts. General Thade (Tim Roth) leads the apes with an iron fist and he is aided in his work by Attar (Michael Clarke Duncan). What ensues is the ultimate battle between man and beast as Davidson does everything he can to try to uncover just what planet he is on.

I remember seeing this movie in the theater and thinking that Mark Wahlberg didn't seem to be bringing any of his usual vivaciousness to this role. Then I had a chance to screen the original film before watching this Blu-ray version. I am not trying to be a some purist or anything, but I think that the original Planet of the Apes is a lot better. I feel that in Tim Burton's version a lot of the character nuance and tension is lost. It feels like a big, popcorn movie that should feel like big, popcorn movie. As a result of this, I have found that all my screening experiences of it leave me cold.

Features

Director's Commentary

Tim Burton sits back and discusses this film but even he seems bored. He spends a great deal of time it seems thinking about what he is going to say, and when he finally talks it doesn't feel like he really has much to offer. I was expecting to hear why he went in a different direction from the earlier film, but that never really surfaced. Burton seemed more concerned with describing what wass on screen, and as a result anything magical he might've said never presents itself.

Video

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 - Film in 1080p HD resolution. The look of this release is the main reason why one would want to purchase it. There are a lot of blacks and blues, all of which have been handled with elite care for this release. I remember watching this movie in the theater and thinking that it was a bit too dark. For this release all of that seems to be on hand, but it looks like the compression has tempered things a bit. If you're purchasing Blu-ray Discs to show off your system, you will definitely want this disc in your collection.

Audio

English: DTS HD 5.1. Subtitles: English, Spanish. Again, the audio follows the picture to help create a very thorough viewing experience. They have leveled things very strongly across the board so that there's never a moment where it seems like something isn't going to happen. The speakers pound out this soundtrack with an authoritative fullness that really gives users a firm sense of time and place in their viewing.

Package

The iconic image of the main ape is presented on this front cover. Below this image is a shot of a bunch of apes on horseback. The back of this Blu-ray Disc cover showcases some images from the film, a description of what Planet of the Apes is about, a features listing and system specs.

Final Word

Planet of the Apes is the kind of film has translated very well to Blu-ray Disc. Every facet of it seems calculated to offer up the big screen experience. On the system that I got to watch it on, I was amazed at how much the theater experience seemed to transfer over to this release. Whilst watching this movie again, the realization hit me that this film was the second Tim Burton redux that I had seen. The other was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and that is another film that I feel he botched. It might be because he didn't really experience these movies as a fan might. If anything, he seemed to come to them from a such a detached perspective that he was either unable or unwilling to allow himself to get inside the core themes of these projects. Due to this, we are left with movies that only feel partially formed.

If the big screen, Blu-ray experience is what you want, then you could do a lot worse than owning Planet of the Apes. Just don't expect it to satisfy you as emotionally as you might hope.

Planet of the Apes was released July 25, 2001.