‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ swings on to American Region A locked Blu-ray with an excellent 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Coming from such a recent source, the image is pristine with no dirt, dust or damage to spoil it – and so it should. Colours are vibrant and strong, with healthy skin tones. Contrast is very good throughout and we’re served up nice, deep blacks in the shadows. The ape fur or hair is incredibly realistic with individual strands that make you want to reach out and touch it. Detail is highly impressive with human skin pores noticeable in the close ups. You really have to screw up your eyes to notice any grain – and I’m willing to bet that any grain you can see has been added digitally. This film can’t really be faulted in terms of sheer picture quality – but then again, you’d expect nothing short of perfection from a movie that has had so much money spent on it.
‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ boasts a stonking good DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound track that puts the emphasis on the word ‘surround’. Immersive is another word I’d use to describe it as it places us in the jungle in the opening scenes with a genuine feeling of being there. It’s a true blockbuster audio mix with discrete effects being well placed around the listening area with such clarity that they make you jump.
There is real depth to the sonic image too. Patrick Doyle’s wonderful score spreads its arms wide to envelop us and there’s some decent grunt from the LFE extension that adds a sense of threat when required. Thankfully, the use of bass is not so migraine inducing as to be uncomfortable and dialogue is crisp and clear amid the action scenes.
This film will make an awesome demo disc for a surround sound system and proves that you don’t necessarily need 7.1 surround – but it helps.
Play nice with the neighbours.
The version reviewed was the 2 disc American Region A locked release, which includes a DVD and Digital copy on one disc and the Blu-ray version on the other.
Audio Commentaries - Not one but two commentaries. Director Rupert Wyatt talks us through the film making process from his perspective at each stage with reference to the cast, the CGI, the score – the whole shebang. The second commentary comes from the very clever writers, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver as they discuss their intentions. It’s a modern day writing masterclass from which aspiring screenwriters can learn.
11 Deleted scenes (HD, 11 mins) - You can mostly see why some scenes were deleted as they didn’t contribute anything, but we do get a chance to see Andy Serkis on the set.
The Genius of Andy Serkis (HD, 8 mins) - The cast and crew tell us why they love Andy Serkis and we also get to see a build up of several scenes.
Scene Breakdown (HD, 2 mins) - Here, we get the chance to switch between completed scenes, motion capture and early animatics – using the Picture in Picture function.
A New Generation of Apes (HD, 10 mins) - The WETA guys tell us how they decided not to use real apes, but used CGI instead and we see the actors going to Ape School. Interesting stuff for effects geeks.
Breaking Motion Capture boundaries (HD, 2 mins) - The Golden Gate bridge sequence is shown here as part of the externally shot effects.
The Great Apes (HD, 23 mins) - Three nature documentaries combine with 3D models of the Simian stars and on screen facts to produce a fascinating piece. David Attenborough, eat your heart out.
Mythology of the Apes (HD, 7 mins) - The film makers tell us of their love for the original movie and how it influenced the creation of the latest version.
Composing the Score with Patrick Doyle (HD, 8 mins) - Just as it says on the tin, Mr Doyle talks us through his thought processes in composing for the movie.
Character Concept Art Gallery - Some sketches juxtaposed with real life apes.
Ape School (HD, 2 mins) - A slightly longer look at the training actors received in moving like an ape- available by download.
Theatrical trailer (HD, 2 mins) - The action oriented trailer – available by download.
The Summer blockbuster ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ arrives on American Region A locked Blu-ray with an excellent 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
We are presented with a pristine image, vibrant colour, healthy contrast, superb detail – no less than you’d expect from such a recent movie.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround really delivers in all areas with an immersive mix, wide spread music score and crisp dialogue throughout.
Shovel loads of extras include two interesting commentaries, plus several looks at the CGI work.
As a movie, it jump starts the ‘Apes’ franchise – taking us back to discover how mankind was over-ruled by Simians. Andy Serkis, John Lithgow, James Franco and Brian Cox perform an intelligent script. Probably the best big movie from Summer 2011.
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