Planet of the Apes / 40-Year Evolution : 5 of 5
Although I'm not making a real effort to replace my DVDs with Blu-ray releases, I had to make an exception for this spectacular five-disc set, mainly because my old Planet of the Apes DVDs were terrible non-anamorphic versions, but also because of an incredible discount price during an Amazon special! My Apes fandom can never be quenched, so I completely enjoyed the hours and hours of time it took to absorb all of this material, beginning with the beautiful hardcover book that's integrated into the product packaging. This 200-page masterpiece is filled with amazing photos (many of which I had never scene before, such as the huge scaffold used to shoot the downward view for the classic discovery of the Statue of LIberty), stylish layout, and even detailed views of original props used in the films. The movies themselves look great on Blu-ray (although you have to remember the sound was recorded in the 60s and 70s), and each disc is bursting with bonus features made possible by Blu-ray technology. The original film includes two audio commentaries (which are a little too sparse, but interesting) and a fascinating text commentary, as well as an interactive science feature that displays relevant facts (about space travel or evolution, for example) via picture-in-picture. Of course, I had to watch the movie about four times in a row to enjoy all of these materials! The wonderful two-hour documentary Behind the Planet of the Apes is included (shot when Roddy McDowall was still alive), and it also has some nice interactive viewing features. The typical still galleries can be found on all of the discs, but these galleries include some great capabilities that let you examine and read small articles (such as newspaper clippings), which is usually impossible. There's even an interesting "board game" with difficult science trivia that can be played as an overlay while you watch the movie! Each of the sequels features a short documentary (usually around 20 minutes) that gives some great background on Paul Dehn's screenwriting process as well as interesting trivia (especially concerning different cuts of Conquest and Battle). I'm really happy to own this definitive set, since I quite often get the urge to watch one of the Planet of the Apes films again (believe it or not), and now I can simply reach for these perfect Blu-ray editions!