‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes’ Blu-ray Review
‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes’ is very different from all the films in the entire franchise. The first two films were filled with both action and dialogue telling a story that turned things upside down on socio-economic/political status. ‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes’ turns things around yet again where we see things from the humans perspective and how they treat the apes when they come to present day earth. This film is dialogue driven; those looking for action do not expect to see it here.
The film would go on to make $12 million dollars at the box office with a budget of $2 million dollars. The sequels in this franchise have been looked upon as being mediocre and not holding a candle to the original. I disagree there as each film in the series has brought something unique to the table.
The Earth exploded in ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’, there was the belief that all life no longer existed after the blast. There was a space ship that was leaving Earth and with the help of the blast, it sent the space ship on course in orbit.
The space ship crashes in the ocean which is spotted by a U.S. military helicopter. They go to check out what is in this space ship. The hatch opens and they assist these astronauts out of the ship. These astronauts start to take off their gear; the naval officers are in for a surprise of their life when they see that the three are apes. It turns out that the three apes are from the future riding back in Taylor’s space ship. We once again see Dr. Zira (Kim Hunter), Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), and Milo (Sal Mineo) the apes that befriended both Taylor and Brent in the previous two films.
Things have changed for the apes this time as they were once the dominant race in the future. Things are about to change for the three apes. All three apes are taken in by a group of government scientists that start to conduct tests on them. The first to be tested is Zira, by Dr. Lewis Dixon (Bradford Dillman). Once the tests begin, the apes reveal that they can speak. This sparks all kinds of shock from the scientists and the government that these apes have speech and intelligence.
Enter Dr. Hasslein (Eric Braeden) that is also providing tests on Zira as he soon finds out that she is pregnant. Zira begins to tell him that him that in the future Earth and all of mankind are doomed. Things turn for the worse as Braeden convinces the president (William Windom) to authorize Zira to have an abortion. Then it turns into the baby must be destroyed and even worse he wants Zira and her baby dead. Cornelius is on to Hasslein’s plan, so he decides to take Zira and escape from the facility that they are being held at. Along the way they do get some help from the sympathetic scientists like they had done so many years ago for Brent and Taylor. They meet the circus master Armando (Ricardo Montalban) who further assists the couple.
As I mentioned earlier, ‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes’ is a very good film and third entry in the series. The film is very dialogue driven compared to the first two films that had a mixture of some action and dialogue. We get a form of role reversal here when compared to the original films where man was held captive by ape.
Both Hunter and McDowall are the starts again proving that they continue to act so wonderfully even behind the masks/costumes. I think that the production team did realize that Hunter and McDowall did such a great job with their performances that it was time to give them the spotlight. Granted the story has a few plot holes, it does set the stage for the remaining films in the series. While this film isn’t anywhere near the original, it is better than ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’.
Movie Content: 4/5
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 video with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors look pretty good with a clean image throughout the entire film. Blacks are rather strong and it shows in details with the hair on the apes looking rather deep in color. Details in the costumes and apes faces also look very good.
Video Quality: 3.5/5
Audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. I found the mix to be very similar to ‘Planet of the Apes’ which I reviewed several weeks ago. The soundtrack doesn’t take full advantage of the complete surround as the original audio track was mono. We get a much more front heavy audio experience with the film as expected. The rears take advantage of the sound effects and especially the soundtrack. Dialogue comes through very clear and clean as everything is well placed through the center channel.
Audio Quality: 4/5
- “The Secret Behind Escape” Featurette [HD]
- Don Taylor Directs Escape from the Planet of the Apes Featurette
- Galleries [HD]
- Theatrical Trailer [SD]
- Isolated Score Track
- Advertising Gallery
- Behind-the-Scenes Gallery
Special Features: 3.5/5
‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes’ is a very good sequel in the Apes franchise which sets the stage for the final two films. Video quality is some of the best out of the entire series on Blu-ray and the audio is solid taking advantage of the soundfield. If you are a fan of the series, upgrading to the Blu-ray version from previous DVD versions is highly recommended.
Overall Rating: 4/5