It is a blessing that the Planet of the Apes films have finally come to DVD, and all the more satisfying that they have been released as a whole boxset. Now all five films can be watched one after the other with a clear picture and improved sound quality.
PLANET OF THE APES is teh pinnacle of the whole series. While being the best of the series, it is also (in my opinion) one of the greates sci-fi tales ever told, and far more advanced than any other sci-fi film of the time. Charlton Heston is flawless as Taylor, and is performance his at all times convincing. For anyone who has yet to see this film (and for anyone who hasn't seen the spolier front cover of the DVD) the ending is a shocker - far better than the ending in the Tim Burton remake.
BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES is an excellent sequal, with a perfect cast to boot. The story is more direct in the politiacl, social and moral issues that were raised in the first, but still allows for a thoroughly entertaining film. Again, another great ending is included.
ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES is a welcome variation from the previous two films, this time allowing us to watch a film where it is the apes in an alien world instead of the humans. It's interesting to see how the roles of the two species have been reversed. I thought that the ending in this film was perfect and very realistic.
I felt that CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES was a bit of a let down. Comparing it to the first three films, the story seems to be rushed, without enough emphasis on the uprising of the apes. But after you get past the rushed story of the first half of the film, the second half more than makes up for it. Again, a spectacular ending created by Ceaser's riveting speech.
The last of the series, BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, was again inferior to the first three, and in my opinion the worst of the five films. The film is entertaining though, although I felt that the ending was a bit of a letdown, directly contrasting with the morbid endings of the first four films.
Included is an extra disk with a two hour documentary, hosted by Roddy McDowell. This is excellently compiled and is very informative, giving the viewer fascinating insights into the whole creation process.
A definite classic series, one that must be bought.