Conquest of the Planet of the Apes appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this was a pleasing presentation.
Sharpness was usually very good. I noticed some light edge haloes and a few wide shots looked a bit soft, but those weren’t a major issue. Instead, the majority of the flick was tight and accurate. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and print flaws weren’t a factor in this clean image.
Conquest presented a pretty natural palette and looked consistently fine. The colors appeared bright and lively throughout the film.
Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows were usually fine; a few shots could be a bit opaque, but most of the film exhibited good clarity. Despite a few mild issues, this was a mostly positive image.
As for the DTS-HD MA 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 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.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD from 2006? Audio was a little better developed, as I thought the soundfield showed nicer balance. Visuals seemed tighter and cleaner as well. The old DVD was good, 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 (1:26:41) and an unrated cut (1:27:22).
The main difference comes from the two endings, as the theatrical one went kinder ‘n’ gentler to avoid an “R” rating. The unrated version opts for a more brutal, dark finale – and because it’s what the filmmakers intended, it’s probably the better choice.
Though we get no commentary, we do find an isolated score. This provides Tom Scott’s work in all its DTS-HD MA 5.1 glory. Fans will enjoy this bonus.
A featurette called Riots and Revolutions: Confronting the Times runs 20 minutes, 42 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, UCLA Sociology Professor Darnell Hunt, Apes collector/actor Brian Peck, Roddy McDowall’s friends Tom Lowell and Angela Lansbury, 20th Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History author Aubrey Solomon, makeup and actor Don Murray.
The show looks at the film’s place in the series as well as story/character elements, its social relevance, budgetary restrictions, cast and performances, sets and locations, filmmaking styles, editorial choices and rating issues. This offers a good encapsulation of various subjects and ties them together well.
Two period featurettes follow. We find J. Lee Thompson Directs Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1:11) and A Look Behind Planet of the Apes (13:42). The former simply shows a little footage from the set; it’s slight but moderately interesting.
The latter gives us a 1972 retrospective that covers all the Apes flicks up to that point. It’s essentially promotional, but it includes a few useful comments from various participants.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find some Galleries. We locate “Future News” (three screens), “Interactive Pressbook” (8), “Advertising” (3), “Lobby Cards” (9) and “Behind the Scenes” (20). All are good, as they show a lot of interesting promotional material. The first twoalso let you take close-up views of text materials, which works well.
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 Blu-ray presents good picture and sound along with a smattering of decent supplements. Though not a great movie, at least the Blu-ray presents it well.
To rate this film please visit the DVD review of CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES