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CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

It's inevitable that every movie franchise begins to run out of gas, although the producers continue to crank them out with the hope of earning a fast buck. CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is very serviceable entertainment, but it marks the point where this series started running out of fresh ideas. Still, CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES manages to include a healthy dose of social commentary and a thrilling, fiery climax.

As a follow up to ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES we find the progeny of Zira and Cornelius grown into a fine young ape named Caesar (Roddy McDowall). After his protector Armando (Ricardo Montalban) dies trying to keep the government from discovering his true identity, Caesar finds himself in the same position as the rest of simiankind, as a slave laborer for humanity. Serving as their leader, Caesar begins planting the seeds of revolt in the minds of apes that are quickly becoming sentient. The cast of CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES also includes Don Murray, Natalie Trundy, Hari Rhodes and Severn Darden.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has NOT been enhanced for 16:9 playback. The continually diminishing budgets of THE PLANET OF THE APES sequels has left CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES looking less visually impressive than the films that preceded it. Image quality is good for a modestly budgeted action movie, which is pretty much what this film is. Sharpness and detail are respectable, but not as good as the earlier movies in the series. Colors are better saturated than they were in the earlier outings, but the hues don't seem as cleanly defined as they did in the higher budget films. Still, flesh tones appear fairly natural. Blacks are accurate, although shadow detail is a bit wanting in places. There are no serious problems with signs of wear or blemishes on the film element; however, grain is more noticeable in this movie than it was in previous installments. Again, I would have to attribute this to the budget. Digital compression artifacts never make their presence known.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 channel soundtrack decodes to standard surround and is pretty effective. The forward soundstage is livelier than the rear channels, although ambient effects are well applied during key sequences. While sound quality is a bit fuller than it was on the previous movies, there are still some frequency limitations in these nearly thirty-year-old recordings. Dialogue reproduction is crisp and fully intelligible. A French language track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles. Animation and sound enhance the interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as theatrical trailers for all the PLANET OF THE APES movies.

CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is a pretty solid programmer with a lot more action and a darker edge than the films that preceded it. The DVD presentation is solid enough, but could have been better had the disc featured the 16:9 enhancement. Hopefully, Fox will re-issue CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES at some point in the future with the anamorphic enhancement.

Presently, CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is only available on DVD as part of The Evolution Box Set, which includes all five APES films for $89.98.

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CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES 


Planet of the Apes - The Evolution...

  


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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