Rise of the Planet of the Apes Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Ripe with allegory, pathos, self-reference and good old-fashioned action
Caesar is homeWith the exception of the amount of apes in the climax (where did they all come from?), the reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is a terrific piece of entertainment that simultaneously banished Tim Burton’s inept 'reimagining' from our memories and re-ignited a franchise based on the original. Director Rupert Wyatt and screen writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver give us a very believable origin story by taking science fiction staples, blending them slightly, adding in a some lush references, a strong narrative thread and set-up and knock-down set pieces. The result is a very credible, thought provoking and entertaining yarn on how apes could inherit our planet.Scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) in seeking a cure for his father’s Alzheimer's inadvertently begins the end of the human race when the vaccine not only gives his chimp super-intelligence, but is also deadly to humans; leaving the way for Caesar the ape, sick of mistreatment and abuse, to lead his fellow simians (after giving them the brain enhancing vaccine) from captivity and on to freedom. Ripe with allegory, pathos, self-reference and good old-fashioned action, the film uses every trick to get you on the side of the apes and it works effortlessly. Andy Serkis as Caesar is excellent and out-acts his human counterparts despite being a CG character.
Picture QualityRise of the Planet of the Apes was shot using Arricam LT and Arriflex 435 cameras on 35mm film, but finished with a 2K DI, which has been up-scaled for this Ultra HD Blu-ray. The film is presented with a 3840 x 2160p resolution and in a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the disc uses 10-bit video depth, a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. We reviewed the Region free UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes on a Panasonic 65DX902BUltra HD 4K TV with a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
The Ultra HD disc is a noticeable upgrade over the Full HD image
Even for a 2K upscale the image easily tops its Full HD counterpart in terms of detail, colouring and dynamics. Detail is clean and sharp, skin texture is prominent, even that of the CGI apes, while landscape shots show just how course and soft the 1080 image is; check out the zoo, or the shot along the bridge looking through the cars in the climax; how defined the cars are, how much deeper the shadows are, how much more layering is in the mountainous trees in the far background. When you factor in the higher dynamic range and the wider colour gamut the image really lights up; skies are deeper, the red of Caesar’s top is much punchier, the lights in the labs are far more pronounced and the explosions at the end are blinding. Black levels offer more in terms of depth, but comparative shots do appear slightly toward the grey; and overall colouring has a very slight green push (most noticeable with skin colour which on the 1080 image is far more red) but these are slight niggles in what is a clear upgrade on the Full HD image.
What, no Atmos or DTS:X?
Despite the cover displaying an “Immersive Audio” tag, the track is the same, reference, DTS-HD 5.1 track that adorns the (included) Blu-ray. The track is certainly no slouch when it comes to surround material, from the chimps in the refuge, to Caesar swinging through the trees, to the climactic stand-off; there is always something for the surround speakers to get their teeth into and place you firmly in the centre of the action. Bass is deep and strong, used to fill out gun shots, explosions, ape growls and Caesar’s speech. The score is well layered into the mix, and dialogue is clean, clear and natural sounding. A classic surround track that has scored reference for years.
ExtrasDisc 1 – UHD
Audio Commentary - Director Rupert Wyatt talks us through the intricate nature of the film making process with reference to the cast, CGI, the score and other technical aspects.
Audio Commentary - Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver offer a slightly different take as they discuss their ideas, themes, intentions and the original film/novel.
Disc 2 – Full HD Blu-ray
Audio Commentary – Both commentaries, as above, are replicated here.
Deleted Scenes – 11 in total running for 11 minutes.
The Genius of Andy Serkis – 8 minute back-slapping feature about the man behind the ‘monkey’.
Scene Breakdown - Switch between completed scenes, motion capture and early animatics using the remote.
A New Generation of Apes - WETA expose the technical innovations used for the film in this 10 minute feature.
Breaking Motion Capture boundaries – Just 2 minutes on the climactic scene.
The Great Apes – At 23 minutes this three-part nature documentary on chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, details their habitats, diets and social structures combined with 3D models of the Simian stars and on screen facts to produce a fascinating piece.
Mythology of the Apes – 7 minutes on why the creators love the original movie and how it influenced this latest version.
Composing the Score with Patrick Doyle – 8 minutes with Patrick Doyle as he talks us through his thought processes in composing for the movie.
Character Concept Art Gallery - Image gallery of the apes featured in the film.
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictRise of the Planet of the Apes, re-ignited a franchise based upon Pierre Boulle’s ‘Planet of the Apes’ by telling a credible, thought-provoking and intelligent yarn on how apes could inherit the planet. Ripe with allegory, pathos, self-reference and good old-fashioned action, the film uses every trick to get you on the side of the apes and in doing so asks questions about ourselves while also being terrifically entertaining in its own right.
It's a nice release but it also feels like a quick cash-in before the next film arrives
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release from 20th Century Fox is a mixed bag, the picture (from a 2K DI) is a very good upscale and improves upon its Full HD counterpart at almost every turn with more detail, better colouring and greater depth, but it has the same DTS-HD 5.1, albeit reference, soundtrack and extras as found on the, already available and included, Blu-ray. It's a good 4K disc release but it also feels like a quick cash-in on the up and coming War for the Planet of the Apes.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.99
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