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Planet of the Apes: 40-Year Evolution (Blu-ray Review)

16 Nov, 2008 By: John Gaudiosi

Planet of the Apes

$159.98 five-disc Blu-ray.
Stars Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Linda Harrison.

These ‘B’-movies offered a very different science-fiction take on man’s future. With extensive make-up and effects work, these apes became ingrained in the minds of audiences and helped craft the future of sci-fi films.

This collection includes the 1968 original Planet of the Apes, 1970’s Beneath the Planet of the Apes, 1971’s Escape From the Planet of the Apes, 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Each movie is presented on a double-layer Blu-ray Disc with 1080p and a newly mastered English 5.1 DTS master audio track.

Visually, the films have held up well over the years. Based on the novella Monkey Planet, by Pierre Boulle, the 1968 film is definitely the crown jewel of this collection. While the direction of the movies devolved with each sequel, every film offers plenty of action and great set pieces that hold up today in HD.

Fox has added a lot of exclusive new HD bonus material for this collection, which is refreshing to see. One of the highlights is an unrated version of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes that was never seen in the United States. One of the darker “Apes” movies, this fourth installment has eight minutes of story added back for the Blu-ray.

Each of the films includes an HD making-of featurette. Also included is a picture-in-picture “Science of the Apes” Bonus View, which allows fans to hear scientists, anthropologists and sociologists discuss the facts and fiction of the first film.

This collection also offers a ton of standard-definition extras previously included in the DVD boxed set.

Fans also will get a great keepsake book filled with art, sketches and additional material about the film franchise.

This collection is a must-have for any Blu-ray library. Even if you bought the recent DVD collection, there’s enough new HD content to warrant this additional purchase. And the films themselves remain an entertaining collection as well as a piece of sci-fi history.

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