Battle for the Planet of the Apes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. After a slightly rocky start, the image became quite good.
Overall sharpness was good. Some shots could be a bit soft – especially during the opening - and some interiors lacked great resolution, but those weren’t frequent distractions. The majority of the movie showed nice clarity and accuracy. I saw no examples of shimmering or jagged edges, and edge haloes created no problems. I also failed to witness any print flaws.
Colors looked fine. The film tended toward somewhat muted tones but they were fairly natural and showed good range. Blacks seemed deep and firm, and I thought low-light shots delivered reasonable clarity. This ended up as a satisfactory presentation.
While the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack seemed moderately above average for its era, it showed its age a little more than I’d like. The main problems stemmed from the quality of the audio. Speech always remained intelligible, but the lines occasionally sounded a bit edgy and hollow.
Effects also demonstrated a little distortion, though they mostly displayed decent accuracy and range. Music was the best part of the track. The cues sometimes were a bit shrill, but they mostly came across as acceptably full and lively.
The soundfield worked okay, though it could be a little erratic. At times, the mix tended to steer right; I occasionally wondered if something was wrong with my front left speaker, as I didn’t hear much from it. Balance improved as the movie proceeded, though, and the mix usually delivered a decent sense of place.
The score spread across the channels fairly well and the whole package used the back channels in a moderately engaging manner. Nothing here dazzled, but this was an acceptable mix for a more than 40-year-old movie.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD from 2006? Audio was a little better developed, as I thought the soundfield showed better balance. Visuals seemed tighter and cleaner as well. The old DVD was nice, but the Blu-ray provided improvements.
While the DVD included virtually no extras, the Blu-ray provides a few components. Of most interest to fans, the disc boasts both the film’s theatrical version (1:26:32) and an extended cut (1:36:26). The prior DVD featured only the longer edition, and that’s the one I watched, so I can’t comment on the changes personally.
However, I checked elsewhere and it appears that most of the additions come from extensions to existing scenes. The main new sequences revolve around a nuclear weapon and its potential deployment. It’s good that viewers now have the choice between the two versions.
Though we get no commentary, we do find an isolated score. This provides Leonard Rosenman’s work in all its DTS-HD MA 5.1 glory. Fans will enjoy this bonus.
A featurette called End of an Epic: The Final Battle runs 16 minutes, 34 seconds and provides notes from Planet of the Apes Revisited author Joe Russo, Planet of the Apes As American Myth: Race, Politics and Popular Culture author Eric Greene, screenwriter Joyce Corrington, 20th Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History author Aubrey Solomon, makeup effects artist Brian Penikas, cinematographer Richard Kline, and actors Noah Keen, Austin Stoker and Bobby Porter.
The show looks at the film’s place in the series as well as story/character elements, aspects of its script and development, budgetary restrictions, crew and cast notes, action and stunts, and the franchise’s post-Battle prospects. The program covers a good mix of movie-related subjects and becomes an efficient overview.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find some Galleries. We locate “San Simian Sentinel” (four screens), “Interactive Pressbook” (7), “Advertising” (4) and “Behind the Scenes” (29). All are good, as they show a lot of interesting promotional material. The first two also let you take close-up views of text materials, which works well.
The original Planet of the Apes series ended with Battle for the Planet of the Apes. The film wasn’t a soaring send-off, but it didn’t turn into a total dud either. The Blu-ray provides fairly good picture and audio along with a few decent supplements. I’m not wild about the film, but the Blu-ray treats it reasonably well.
To rate this film please visit the DVD review of BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES