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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Biology > Experiments > Chemistry > War > Uprising > Evolution > Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011) + Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray Sets)

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011) + Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray Sets)

4K Picture: A- 1080p Picture: B+ Sound: A- Extras: B Films: B/B+

After the 2001 Tim Burton re-imagining of Planet of the Apes failed to take off with fans, 2011 brought us Rise of the Planet of the Apes, directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Gambler) and starring Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings), James Franco, the gorgeous Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire), John Lithgow, Tom Felton (Harry Potter), and Brian Cox (The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Manhunter), amongst others. This new direction for the franchise utilizes cutting edge motion capture technology in creating the apes which is a big departure from the practical makeup effects that made the original series such a groundbreaking hit in the past. The casting of Andy Serkis, a man who has become the top name in motion capture thanks to Peter Jackson, is so perfect as the character of main Ape Caesar that it makes one wonder how lost these films would be without him.

In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Scientist Will Rodman (Franco) works for a major pharmaceutical firm trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease, a diseases that hits close to home for him as his father (Lithgow) has it. The most recent version of his experimental drug seems to have worked on a chimp. Unfortunately, that chimp goes berserk on the same day as a presentation to investors and the animal is put down and his experiment put on the back-burner. Only after this happens does Will realize that the chimp had given birth and had been acting wildly to protect her newborn.

Will takes the animal, which he's named Caesar (Serkis), home as a pet and soon realizes that he is extremely intelligent, no doubt due to the side effects of his manufactured drug that was given to Caesar's mother. Over the years, the bond between ape and man becomes inseparable, until one day Caesar acts out and is taken from Will and his girlfriend (Pinto) and put back into containment. Now hurt and feeling scorned from his act of protection, Caesar starts to grow a distaste for mankind and soon infects other captured Apes with the same drug. Before long, Caesar becomes the leader of an Ape resistance and will stop at nothing until they are all free.

There's a lot of things that Rise gets right and some things it doesn't. However, the 4K 2160p transfer is definitely a huge help as it is presented here in the original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and great sounding DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless track. It's surprising that a Dolby Atmos upgrade wasn't considered for these releases as the mix don't seem much different from previous Blu-ray versions that were released.

The stunning clarity of 4K helps some of the film's more powerful CG moments shine, and hurts other moments no doubt due to film's age and the advancements in the technology since then and makes them come across a bit more cartoony than intended. Some moments are a bit cheesier than others, and Franco's performance isn't always convincing. Still, the detail on Caesar alone add to the enjoyment of the overall film.

For an earlier, enthusiastic look at the film, try this link...


The Matt Reeves (Let Me In, upcoming Batman film)-directed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) picks up ten years after Rise with the Apes now independent from mankind and building towards a massive civilization of their own. No doubt, Dawn was more well received than Rise by critics and audiences alike and even earned Reeves the spot at directing the final installment in the series, War of the Planet of the Apes (2017), which will be debuting in cinemas later summer just after this posting. There's a lot to like about these films as they are not only visually breathtaking but that they provide an interesting commentary on our society and our treatment of animals in zoos and in nature.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has an all-star cast which includes Andy Serkis reprising his role as Caesar, Jason Clarke (Terminator: Genysys), Keri Russell, and Gary Oldman.

Dawn begins with Caesar (Serkis) happy in peace being the leader of an ape armada and now a father. Now sure that the humans are no more on Planet Earth due to the Simian flu, it seems that the planet belongs to the Apes. One day, the Apes are proved wrong when a small group of humans encounter them in the forest near their settlement. Caesar attempts to make peace with them only if they follow the rules. But Koba, the bad one of the bunch, makes an attempt to kill them and soon divides the Apes on both sides. This act of treason alerts an entire army of human survivors and the war for peace begins with only one victor.

Presented in 2160p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless track, the video presentation here is much improved over the 1080p Blu-ray version of the film. Much like its predecessor (both originated on 35mm film to their credit), some explosions and digital effects are affected by the stunning clarity and look a bit more fake than before, but the detail on the characters, especially the Apes themselves, is impeccable. These two 4K releases make it easier for fans to appreciate the level of detail that WETA Digital put into these films and feel more realistic than ever.

Digital UV copies are also included.

The extras are the same as the previous Blu-ray release and include...

Rise of the Planet of the Apes:

Audio Commentaries

Deleted Scenes

Mythology of the Apes

The Genius of Andy Serkis

A New Generation of Apes

Scene Breakdown

Character Concept Art Gallery

Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries

Composing the Score with Patrick Doyle

The Great Apes

Theatrical Trailers

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:

Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Matt Reeves

Journey to Dawn

Andy Serkis: Rediscovering Caesar

Humans and Apes: The Cast of Dawn

The World of Dawn

The Ape Community

Move Like an Ape: An Artist's Medium

Weta and Dawn

The Fight for a New Dawn

Audio Commentary by Matt Reeves

Still Galleries

Theatrical Trailers

While it would have been nice to have more differences between these two new releases and the past Blu-ray releases, the upgrade to 4K is a welcome improvement for fans and help gain a new level of respect for the artistry that was put into these films. If you're looking for a boost in presentation and not so much supplemental, then I would recommend these.

Despite the cover art we used, these are sold separately for the most part. For more on the previous Apes theatrical films (with links to the original live-action and animated TV series), try this link...


- James Lockhart



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