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Old 04-11-2001, 16:06   #1
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Thumbs up Planet of the Apes R1

I first posted the majority of this in the DVD Discussion Forum but on second thoughts it is more appropirate here.

The first DVD has an Enhanced Viewing Mode which is a combination of two features we have seen used before but I don't think they have been used together. The first is the usual follow the appearing logo which will take you to behind the scenes/special effects vignettes and then return you to the film. The second is picture in picture commentary/behind the scenes which pops up and disappears on its own. This is similar to Walking With Dinosaurs picture in picture but here sometimes you get 2 or 3 windows popping up. The Enhanced Viewing Mode raises the bar that little bit higher.

There are two audio commentaries the first by Tim Burton (only listened to a bit but it is better than Sleepy Hollow) and the second by Danny Elfman with isolated score. Also on the first disc are Cast & Crew Profiles, More DVD-Rom content (including Script to Screen comparison), Nuon Features for those who have the hardware, THX video/Sound set-up mode.

The Second DVD is divided into six sections. The first section is The Making of the Apes and contains a lot of video material. I'd describe these features as Behind the Scenes/Making Of hybrids because they are usually a combination of fly on the wall/witnessing what is going on and interviews. After watching these I had so much more appreciation for the preparation and attention to detail in this film. The following features make up the Making of the Apes section (running times to the nearest minute). Simian Academy (24 Minutes), Face Like A Monkey (30 minutes), Ape Couture (6 minutes), Chimp Symphony, Op. 37 (10 minutes), On Location - Lake Powell (12 Minutes), Swinging From The Trees (9 minutes). Also in this section are Screen Tests which are broken down into Make-up Tests, Costume Tests, Group Tests, Stunt Test and Movement Tests. There's quite a lot here because usually there are four videos on screen at once and you can listen to each (audio track) by highlighting the play button near each window or use the audio button.

The second section is Multi-Angle Featurettes. There are 8 short multi-angle features. These are all behind the scenes from different angles as scenes are being shot. You can also select the different audio tracks (audio is mostly the same but useful to make out what different cast/crew are saying in-between takes). You can change Angles although not with the Angle button but by selecting the angles at the top right of the screen. You can also access Production Art, the Script for this scene and see the complete Scene In Film (at the bottom of the screen).

Section Three is Extended Scenes: there are 5 in all, which don't run very long and while it is good to have them here, given the film's running time it is obvious why these scenes were cut down.

For those who like to see in detail how a film is marketed Section 4 is for you. You get a 26 minute HBO Special hosted by Michael Clarke Duncan which features the usual array of interviews, movie clips and behind the scenes footage. Next up is a 3 minute Paul Oakenfold - Rule the Planet Remix music video. The Trailers section has a Teaser Trailer, Theatrical Trailer, 6 TV Spots and 2 additional Trailers for Dr. Dolittle 2 and Moulin Rouge. The Posters and Press Kit contains about 8 posters after which the press kit opens out before you advance through 50 screens of what could almost double for Production Notes. Completing the Promotional works is a promo for the soundtrack.

Section Five is DVD-Rom content and since I don't have a DVD-Rom drive I'll go on to Section Six which are the Galleries. This isn't your bog standard (if we put a few pictures in a gallery we can make the special features look more impressive) king of thing. This section is broken down into 15 sections, just one of which would have passed for a decent photo gallery.

Great presentation, innovative enhanced viewing mode, commentaries, extensive making of apes documentaries and featurettes section, multiple angle/audio features, extended scenes, promotional section (with the HBO making of in the correct place) and an extensive photo galleries section.

As for the film, I haven't seen the original but enjoyed this version for the most part, with just a few small issues (which have been discussed elsewhere). The greatest achievement of Planet of the Apes is bringing the world of the apes so vividly to life. The attention to detail the cast and crew went to is explored in a comprehensive set of relevant extras. A recommended purchase - I have to buy the original now.

Let the negative criticisms commence...

Last edited by JohnMac; 04-11-2001 at 16:17.
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