The HD apes marathon joins "The Ultimate Matrix Collection" and "Heroes Season 2" as major Blu-ray sets getting promo push today from Fox, Warners and Universal. Expect to see all three doing time under Christmas trees come the holidays.
The "Apes" set streets Nov. 4, "Ultimate Matrix" arrives Oct. 14 and "Heroes 2" starts it off Aug. 26.
The "Planet of the Apes" Blu-ray set contains "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," "Escape From the Planet of The Apes," "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes," "Battle for the Planet of the Apes" and the 1968 original "Planet of the Apes." An apex for the series, as only the original good-god-it's-the-Statue of Liberty movie has been unleashed in Blu-ray.
"Humans are even uglier in high-def," Fox's release promises. (Score one for the copy monkey.)
"Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" comes in a version unreleased in the United States, with eight minutes of "unrated" footage.
The films are in the original widescreen (2.35:1) with remastered 5.1 DTS. All sequels have an isolated score track in DTS, and there are commentaries by composer Jerry Goldsmith. The new bonus features all are in HD, a nice touch. (A swarm of extras are ported over from existing DVDs as well.)
New "Planet of the Apes" series bonus features in high definition include:
- Making-of docus for each sequel.
- "Evolution of the Apes" featurette tracking the apes from the original novel to the screen.
- "Impact of the Apes" on the pop culture phenomenon.
- "Public Service Announcement From ANSA"
- "Science of the Apes": Scientists, anthropologists and sociologists talk about the first film.
"Planet Of The Apes: 40 Year Evolution Blu-ray Collection" will set you back $160, while the "limited" version with the ape-head packaging goes for $180.
* * * * *"The Matrix" series was the last great hope of HD DVD. Alas, the format rescue mission failed, but the HD DVD set certainly delivered on quality.
I began the HD review this way: " 'The Ultimate Matrix Collection' in high-definition video fulfills the prophecy of the A/V geek elders: this is audio and video of a higher order, a plunge into the future of home theater." (Read the DVD blog's high-definition "Matrix" review.)
New elements on the "The Ultimate Matrix Collection" Blu-ray set include the nine-part anime film "The Animatrix" in HD (included on the HD DVD set in standard definition) and a digital copy of "Matrix" 1 (Windows Media, iPod), perfect for breaking down the special effects on your iPhone. The lack of HD on "The Animatrix" was the major complaint about the previous set.
Extras appear identical to those on the HD DVD, adding up to something like 35 hours. Audio is Dolby TrueHD. Currency requirement: $130, no individual titles.
* * * * *
"Heroes: Season 2" comes to market in a four-disc Blu-ray (and DVD) box set, timed to the start of the series' third season.
Extras are plentiful, including an alternate ending to the season finale. ("What if Peter didn’t catch the virus?") The Blu-ray has picture-in-picture presentation of the episodic commentaries, which are done in various combinations by executive producer/directors Allan Arkush and Greg Beeman, and a swarm of their coworkers.
Episodes in both formats come in widescreen (1.78:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1. The high def "Heroes: Season 2" costs $70 and the DVD set is $40.