Planet Of The Apes: 35th Anniversary SE

Planet Of The Apes: 35th Anniversary SE (1967)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Documentary, Featurettes, Additional Footage, Outtakes, Galleries, Trailers and much much more

To celebrate the movie’s 35th Anniversary, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has recently released "Planet Of The Apes" as a Special Edition. The story of a space-crew stranded on a strange planet where planets are the dominating species and humans are animalized, subject to scientific experiments, has long been overdue for a proper DVD release as the original release from a few years ago didn’t even feature an <$16x9,anamorphic> transfer. It was one of Charlton Heston’s pivotal roles in the movies and probably the one he is best remembered for. Boasting an incredibly well-thought out story as well as some dynamics between the actors that are still magnetic, "Planet Of The Apes" is a milestone in science fiction cinema and has had truly far reaching effects on the genre.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has now remastered the film and the new transfer is leaps and bounds above the previous one. The distracting edge-enhancement that plagued the old version is gone entirely, and so is most of the grain. The image now presents itself as a bold and incredibly detail picture that belies the film’s age. Crisp and boasting great definition, "Planet Of The Apes" springs to life on this DVD transfer with rich colors and deep blacks. The compression is equally well handled and no compression artifacts distract from the viewing experience.

The audio has also been remixed and you will now find not only a <$DD,Dolby Digital> but also a <$DTS,DTS> audio track on this release, which magically brings to life Jerry Goldsmith powerful score. Surround usage is good though never obtrusively aggressive. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable with a neutral sounding frequency response. Overall this is a wonderful presentation of a classic movie.

One of the <$commentary,commentary track>s on the disc features composer Jerry Goldsmith as he talks candidly about his work on the movie. It is a great track and noteworthy especially for those who have always longed to hear more about that of creation music for the movies, as told by one of the trade’s greatest.
A second <$commentary,commentary track> boasts cast and crew members, including Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter among others. It is full of valuable information and tidbits, offering good insight into the production and ordeals making this movie, and the effect it has had on each of them.

A text commentary is also included, offering up facts and information about scenes, shots, actors and the production. Even if you are very familiar with the stories and facts surrounding the movie, I am sure you will discover even more new information here. The track is meticulously researched and full of even the most subtle bits of trivia.

The second disc of the set is filled to the brim with more extras, such as the two-hour documentary "Behind The Planet Of The Apes" hosted by Roddy McDowall. It had been available previously as an individual DVD and has now been incorporated into this package. Needless to say it is the best documentary ever made on the subject and McDowall’s appearance only further adds weight and credibility to it. But also a large selection of outtakes, dailies, screen tests and spots is included here, which are too many to list here, really, is included, bathing the viewer in all the Apes info he would ever want to know.

Backstage footage of Roddy McDowall is also included here as well as a selection of reviews of the movie, various featurettes form various time periods when the film was released and re-released. Each one offering up new insights, though often covering the same territory.

Trailers for all "Apes" movies are also included as well as vast galleries featuring sketches, costume designs, still photos, promo photos, merchandise and much, much more. It is all neatly structured and easy to find despite the fact that the wealth of content could easily be overwhelming.

"Planet Of The Apes" is a classic and it is great to see that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has finally been able to pay proper tribute to this remarkable film. It is hard to believe that 35 years have passed since its making as the make-up effects are still as impressive today as they were then.

Filled with every imaginable extra relating to the film, this Special Edition DVD is nothing short of mesmerizing offering countless hours of entertainment and information. With that in mind, there is simply no excuse, not to own this release, plain and simple.