The Planet of the Apes Collection

Starring: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, et al.
Director: Franklin J. Schaffner,

Edition Details:

  • Region 2 encoding (Europe, Middle East & Japan only)
  • Widescreen, PAL
  • ASIN: B00005NOMI
  • Catalogue Number: 22371DVD



All six these movies look stunning in widescreen anamorphic transfers. All of the movies (with the weird exception of Escape, which is in mono) are in Dolby stereo. The first movie has been remixed in vivid Dolby 5.1. All the movies feature trailers and photo galleries, but no commentaries alas. All in a handsome foldout packaging.

If you believe that pan 'n' scan is better than widescreen, then you are (a) pig ignorant, (b) a tool of Satan or (c) both. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the first Apes movie. If you are used to having seen this movie on either TV or pan 'n' scan video throughout the years, then this is a revelation: its cinematography is fantastic, and the widescreen version makes sure you see every inch of the stark landscapes.

Also, one of the movie's best-known visual gags simply gets lost - that of "monkey see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil". Because the sides of the image gets lobbed off in pan 'n' scan video you only get to see two monkeys! One supposes that in a pan 'n' scan version of the Bible there would only be seven or eight disciples because the others got cut off at the edges . . .

Planet of the Apes remains a classic, it reputation only enhanced by the recent remake. It looks fantastic on this disc. SPOILER ALERT: My only complaint is that the set's cover gives away the movie's surprise ending - I know lots of people who have never actually seen the original and this isn't really a clever thing to do. END SPOILERS!

The series gets downright weird in the second movie, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, with telepathic mutants that worship an atom bomb! All of the movies look fantastic for their age and much better than they had on video all these years, but Beneath has some small bits where its age shows through, particularly darker scenes.

Escape from the Planet of the Apes is probably the best of all the sequels. A whimsical tone in which many satirical points are scored soon turns serious as a time travel paradox similar to that of the Terminator evolves.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes is the darkest movie in the series - now there is nothing subtle about the series' social commentary whatsoever. Still, unlike most of today's genre movies, it is at least about something, and not just a spectacle in itself.

The cheap budgets show through on Beneath the Planet of the Apes, which is achingly bad really. Like some of the other movies, it can still however be enjoyed for its camp value though . . .

Behind the Planet of the Apes is a two-hour documentary hosted by regular Apes star Roddy McDowall (who alas passed away recently). The first hour focuses on the first movie, while the rest focuses on the many sequels as well as the two TV shows, one of them animated. It also looks at the series' pop cultural importance. Although it mentions the hilariously funny Apes spoof in an episode of The Simpsons, we only get to see a small sequence from that particular show. Lots of interesting info for the Apes fan here.

RECOMMENDATION: Get your damned dirty paws on this DVD set now!



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