Conquest of the Planet of the Apes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though generally good, the picture was the weakest of the first four Apes films.
Most of my complaints related to dark scenes. Black levels tended to be too dense and impenetrable, while low-light shots were often tough to discern. These seemed heavy and thick even in shots that shouldn’t have been particularly dark.
Sharpness also took a few hits. Though still mild, edge enhancement was more prominent than during the first three movies, and this rendered wide shots as somewhat soft. Still, the majority of the flick was accurate and concise. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred.
Source flaws remained very minor. I noticed a blemish or two but nothing else marred the presentation. Conquest continued the natural palette of Escape and looked consistently fine. The colors appeared bright and lively throughout the film. Despite a few issues, this was a mostly positive image.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, it also was satisfying though not quite as pleasing as its predecessors. My main problem connected to the scope of the soundfield. Music played too prominent a role, as the score tended to pop up awfully loudly in the rear speakers. This didn’t appear logical or natural, and it made the music less appealing.
Otherwise, the soundfield was perfectly decent for a movie of this one’s era. Effects showed moderate spread to the sides and occasionally showed up in the surrounds. These added a bit of dimensionality to the proceedings, though the mix seemed to use effects less actively than in the past.
Audio quality was perfectly fine for an older flick. Speech seemed natural and concise, and effects were accurate as well. Those elements showed reasonable depth and precision. Music may have been too prominent, but the score sounded good, as those aspects were pretty robust. Overall, the audio worked well.
Only a few minor extras fill out the DVD. Cast simply lists the names and roles of some actors. There’s no biographical information included. What’s the point?
Theatrical Trailers features ads for Planet of the Apes,
Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the 2001 Planet of the Apes and a “Planet of the Apes Crosspromotion” that touts the first five films.
So far the Planet of the Apes series has suffered from a Star Trek-like even/odd curse. Films 1 and 3 were pretty good, but movies 2 and 4 are mediocre at best. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes meanders and exists as little more than an excuse for its big end battle. It lacks the charm and insight of the better Apes efforts. The DVD presents good picture and sound but lacks notable extras. Leave this one for Apes diehards.
A purse-strings note: you can buy Conquest of the Planet of the Apes on its own or as part of a six-DVD Planet of the Apes Legacy boxed set. That package includes Conquest along with the original Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, and the documentary Behind the Planet of the Apes.
Fox presents Conquest solely in Legacy and the super-duper $180 Planet of the Apes Ultimate Collection, though Image Entertainment produces a two-disc version on its own. For fans who want all the movies but who are not eager to shell out the big bucks for Ultimate, the Legacy set is a nice bargain. Separately, the five movies list for about $75, while the Legacy retails for $50. Toss in Conquest as well and it’s a nice set for Apes fans.