Planet of the Apes (1968)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||1968|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (45:25)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Franklin J. Schaffner|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
A crew of deep space explorers is on its way to a distant planet to explore and colonize it when disaster strikes and they crash-land on an unknown world. Three members of the crew survive the crash while the 4th, Stuart, the only female on board, had died earlier from an air leak in her suspended animation compartment. The remaining crew, Taylor (Charlton Heston), Landon (Robert Gunner) and Dodge (Jeff Burton) abandon their sinking spacecraft and paddle to safety. A long and difficult desert crossing is successfully completed when the three men come to a waterfall where they rest and bathe. Their bathing is interrupted when they notice a group of primitive humans stealing their clothing and equipment. The group gives chase and catches up with the humans in a field. They have also walked into a trap where the shocking truth of this mysterious world is revealed to Taylor and his companions.
In this world, it is the apes that are at the top of the food chain. They have a caste society in which the Orang-utans hold the senior positions, Chimpanzees are the white collar workers and Gorillas the soldiers, police or blue collar workers. The human is no more than an animal and considered a pest. This "animal" is hunted for sport or used for experimentation and has no standing in this upside-down world. The humans try to flee and in the panic that follows, Dodge is shot and killed, Landon is knocked unconscious and Taylor is shot in the throat and captured.
Taylor is taken to an ape city where he is treated by vets and thrown into a filthy holding area. Bewildered, injured and unable to speak, Taylor tries to communicate with his captors. His attempts attract the attention of Dr. Zira (Kim Hunter) who is convinced that Taylor is intelligent. She is proven correct when Taylor snatches a pad and pencil from her and writes his name. Amazed, Dr. Zira takes Taylor to her fiancé Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) where Taylor reveals just how intelligent he is. Dr. Cornelius is a controversial archaeologist because he believes that the apes have evolved from the human species, a very unpopular theory and one that clashes head-on with the belief system of the apes, in particular Dr. Zaius the head of both the science and religion ministries.
Dr. Zaius refuses to listen to Zira and Cornelius and orders that Taylor be castrated, a procedure he knows will likely kill Taylor. Now fearing for his life, Taylor attempts to escape and is pursued all over the ape city by guerilla police. Taylor shocks the ape society when, after he is re-captured, he utters the famous words "Take your stinking paws off me you damn, dirty ape!". I'm not going to reveal any more of the story as it will spoil the movie for you. I encourage you to watch it for yourselves!
This is an excellent film as it introduces the disturbing concept of man as an inferior being, one that is considered stupid, unhealthy and worthless. It also explores many of the weaknesses that we have revealed throughout our own history. Topics such as racism, arrogance, manipulation and cruelty are explored as well as the problems that can occur in society when science and religion collide. Classic science fiction to be sure.
The sharpness of this transfer is very good although some minor edge enhancement has been used. I noted one example at 20:05-20:18. Shadow detail is excellent as is the black level. I was very impressed with the sharpness on offer here. As noted above, this film was made 33 years ago and yet there is a huge amount of detail evident in almost all of the scenes.
The colours in this film are very good and clearly superior to my VHS version of this film. My only criticism is that skin tones are a little too brown. This is not a problem with the transfer. Rather, it appears to be a quirk of the film stock used to shoot the film.
There are no obvious MPEG artefacts present in this transfer apart from some very minor pixelization in the sky shown in some of the desert scenes. Some film grain is evident but most of the time it is quite fine and by no means a problem. There is only one exception and that is at the very end of the film where special effects were obviously used and where film grain is very obvious.
Film-To-Video artefacts are a bit of a problem and take the form of aliasing and moiré effects. You should note that these problems are not limited to just this DVD. They also appear in the VHS version of the film. Aliasing is the biggest problem. At times it is quite noticeable and borders on distracting. The following time periods contain typical examples: 8:23-8:37, 12:00-12:52, 19:34-20:06 and 22:58-23:11. Moiré effects are less frequent and less obvious with only one occurrence worth noting. See 0:26-00:40 for the worst example.
Film artefacts are present and take the form of small black or white flecks as well as the odd scratch. I noted one period between 4:10 and 4:48 that is a good example of the worst you can expect to see. All things considered, this is a pretty clean print.
This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 45:25. On my Philips DVD-711 the layer change was very fast and it took me three attempts to find it! It does occur in the middle of a scene and so could be distracting on other players.
There is one audio track present. It is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track that is encoded at a bit rate of 384 Kb/s.
Dialogue was always clear and audio sync was never a problem. It sounds to me like the actors recorded all of their dialogue in a studio as it sounds too perfect to have been recorded on the set.
The score is by Jerry Goldsmith and it beautifully supports the on-screen action. It is often mixed into the surrounds which increases its effectiveness. Some may find it a little unusual but I really enjoyed it. It's a shame that there isn't an isolated audio track on this DVD as I feel that this score is strong enough to be listened to on its own.
Surround activity for effects is very limited and only prominent during certain passages. The fidelity of the sound effects isn't great either - at times they sound rather hollow or thin. I noted significant surround use during the following time periods: 25:40-27:28, 58:12-59:00 and 86:11-89:42. At other times, the soundfield collapses to the centre channel only. There is some split channel activity but it is feeble and not particularly effective.
The only time that the subwoofer was clearly heard was during the opening crash sequence and I didn't feel that its use there was appropriate.
|Surround Channel Use|
The main menu is animated and has sections of the score in it as well. There is also animation as you move from one menu to the next. I thought the menus were quite groovy.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Philips 711, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig M70-281. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Mains and Rears: Tannoy Mercury M1. Centre: Tannoy Mercury MC. Subwoofer: Polk Audio PSW-120|