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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Run Time: 105 Mins
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + Digital Copy)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 13, 2011
  • List Price: $39.99

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Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes -

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Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]


“Another Planet of the Apes movie?” That was my initial response when I first learned of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was with just cause as well. I’d jumped in to the ill advised Tim Burton remake in the early days of Blu-ray when I was still starved for material to play. Then sometime later, I had to sit through the entire original collection on Blu-ray, which was released by Fox in a box set. The first classic film with Charlton Heston was good. The pieced together sequel with Heston making a late appearance toward the end is marginally enjoyable. Everything after that is woeful.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, however, is not a remake or sequel, it’s a prequel, and, I guess, one could call it a reboot of the franchise, and boy is it successful. It goes back to the original mythology and tells the story of the very beginnings of how the apes came to take over the planet. And with its spectacular motion capture CGI effects, involving story, and edge of the seat action sequences, Rise of the Planet of the Apes makes Peter Jackson’s King Kong look like a romantic comedy.

The story follows the chemist Will Rodman (James Franco), who works at the pharmaceutical giant Gensys ,desperately trying to perfect a new miracle drug that reverses the effects of Alzheimer’s disease as his father (John Lithgow) wastes away from the affliction. When a laboratory mishap leads to one of the test chimps escaping and running amok, the project is shutdown and all the apes are put down, save one, an infant that Will takes home and names Caesar.

Caesar quickly begins to show signs of enhanced intelligence – his mother passed the effects of the drug therapy to him in the womb. He can learn, he can sign many words, and he can grow attachments to people, as he does to Will’s father. Meanwhile, Will has been secretly testing the drug on his dad and it at first shows great progress, his father improving vastly, but a sudden turn around leaves his father slipping back into illness. This leads to an unfortunate altercation with the neighbor and Caesar coming to his defense and attacking. That is when the intelligent Caesar is taken away and placed in a primate sanctuary where he is mistreated by his handlers, but his intelligence gives him the advantage and he is soon in control of the apes and on the verge of leading an ape rebellion. First, however, Caesar must sneak out and get more of the drug to use on his fellow apes to increase their intelligence to aid in their understanding and cooperation. The real danger to humanity, however, may lie in a side effect of the newly updated pharmaceutical that could potentially wipe out all humans.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one of the better reboots to a classic franchise to come along in a long, long time. If you have any trepidations whatsoever about this film, put them aside, this is the real deal. It’s a great balance of spectacle and heart.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

This is a nearly flawless AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer of Rise of the Planet of the Apes from Fox. The Super 35mm source is pristine, as one would expect a film such recent vintage to be. The shadow detail is wonderfully nuanced and extended, colors are natural and vivid while the midtones look rich. Textures are almost three-dimensional and overall contrast and black levels are excellent. I saw only a few moments where grain levels jumped just a tad. They weren’t necessarily an after effect of the encodement, but, rather, due to the film and lenses. Still, these were minor concerns. This is reference level stuff.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The soundtrack is great stuff as well. Although the surround channels weren’t as aggressive as I expected them to be for a film like this, it is difficult to argue against this dynamic, clean, and expansive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that is filled with oodles of audible atmospherics and extended low frequencies that add lots of heft without becoming overwhelmingly boomy.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

This set is loaded with high definition extras and two audio commentaries. It also includes a DVD and digital copy. A complete listing of the supplements is below:

  • Audio commentary by director Rupert Wyatt
  • Audio commentary by writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
  • Deleted Scenes (2.35:1; Dolby Digital 5.1):
    • Alpha Gets Shot
    • Will’s Meeting With Lab Assistants
    • Will Discovers Caesar Has Solved Puzzles
    • Caesar Plays with Bicycle
    • Caesar Questions His Identity
    • Caesar Bites Off Neighbor’s Finger
    • Rodney Gives Caesar a Cookie
    • Rocket Gets Hosed by Dodge
    • Caesar Destroys the Lab and Koba’s Attempted Revenge on Jacobs
    • Caesar Pushes Helicopter
    • Koba With Shotgun
  • Mythology of the Apes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:11) – The actors and filmmakers from Rise of the Planet of the Apes discuss the original Planet of the Apes films.
  • The Genius of Andy Serkis (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:07:48) – A look at the motion capture performance of Andy Serkis (Caesar).
  • A New Generation of Apes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:41) – A discussion of the motion capture and CGI work on the apes featured in the film.
  • Scene Breakdown – Use the color buttons on your remote to guide yourself through three levels of completion for this turning point, including a picture-in-picture reference of the motion capture vs completed animation, motion capture, and early animation.
  • Character Concept Art Gallery (1080p)
  • Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:43) – A brief look at the groundbreaking motion capture work on the film’s final scene on location at the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Composing the Score with Patrick Doyle (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:07) – The composer talks about his work on composing the score for the film.
  • The Great Apes (1080p/24) – Factoids and brief featurettes on these great apes.:
    • Chimpanzee
    • Gorilla
    • Orangutan
  • Live Extras:
    • Live Lookup
    • Exclusive: Ape School – Download or stream this exlcusive BD-Live featurette about the motion capture actors in training to play the different apes featured in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

This is what a new entry in a classic franchise should be. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a definite hit after a long line of misses in the Planet of the Apes universe. And the Blu-ray release from Fox is top notch home theatre entertainment as well. Recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004LWZW4W[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes -

Purchase Rise of the Planet of the Apes on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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