BEHIND THE PLANET OF THE APES
Reviewed October 2nd, 2000 by Chuck Arrington
Now here’s a special edition if I ever saw one. Originally aired on AMC (American Movie Classics), this documentary boasts all the information you could ever want to know about the hows and whys of the Ape saga. Roughly 2-hours in length, the documentary takes you step by step through each film. There is so much information it’s really impossible to cover adequately in this review without giving the secrets away. There are interviews with cast members, home-movies of the cast & crew both in and out of makeup. There are SFX shots showing the makeup process from beginning to end as well as amusing anecdotal information on what happened when the cameras stopped rolling!
One of the more amusing bits in the documentary deals with the fact that given the extensive makeup, the principal characters had to endure, they could not just take it off for lunch and put it all back on for the next shots after lunch. So, the crew designed more flexible makeups for the actors so that they could eat “in character”. As they ate in character however, all the apes of like background ate together. The Chimpanzees only ate with other Chimps, the Orangutans only with other “tans” and the Gorillas only with other “rillas”! Pretty cool!
It’s hosted by Cornelius/Caeser himself-Roddy McDowell and provides the most extensive look behind the scenes of this franchise to date. In addition to covering the feature films, the spin-offs were covered as well. Namely the, cartoon, TV series and the oodles and oodles of merchandising that came as a result of the tremendous success of this groundbreaking series.
If you are solely a fan of the first film, it’s doubtful you’ll get too see this information as it’s solely sold as a part of the Apes box set. At $99 for the boxset, it’s marketed entirely for those who are die-hard fans of the series. But, don’t let that price tag scare you. With a couple of online coupons with major “e-tailers” you can do a whole lot better than the MSRP.
If you are like me and love the Apes, the jewel of the entire set is this sixth disc. It has so much information, it’s absolutely awesome! However, if you are a casual fan, this will all be lost on you!
The audio is presented in 2 channel stereo that is unremarkable in its presentation. It conveys the dialogue perfectly. There are no surround features so, the rears/sub/ do not provide any effects.
The video is presented in a full frame format with the quality of the transfer going from very good to fair. There are some grainy moments but on the whole, the video presentation is very nicely done.
The bonus disc is an incredible addition to an already top-notch collection. This disc alone is worth the price of admission and it really is an awesome collection of information regarding the Apes saga.
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