Rise of the Planet of the Apes (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes 4KJust what the world needed…another reboot of a legendary franchise.   That was exactly my sentiments when I first learned about the production of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  I remember watching and enjoying the original films as a kid, but not enough to warrant my full attention to what was going on behind the scenes of this new production.   I still cant get the bad taste of the Mark Walhberg adventure out of my mouth.  Then one day I had not one, but several friends asking me if I caught the new trailer of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.   Astonishingly, all of their recounts and tales had one thing in common.   They all included the word bada$$.  How could they all be wrong?   So I reluctantly caved in and gave it a watch.   And much to my surprise I thought…not bad!  But that didn’t mean I became an instant fanboy overnight.  Quite the opposite happened.I became even more guarded, opinionated and weary about this film’s direction and for some reason I couldn’t wait for its theatrical release so I could proclaim to everyone I was right.   I like being right.   That’s what needy people are most known for.  Little did I know, I was an a$$hole because I couldn’t had been more wrong.   But that happens to the best of us, right?


This 2011 science fiction drama film is directed by Rupert Wyatt and stars James Franco, Andy Serkis, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton and the reason you should all check this one out…the beautiful Freida Pinto.   I’m kidding about the last part.   Or am I?  Rise of the Planet of the Apes is, I guess what you could say, a reboot of the ever-popular Planet of the Apes series.  The film’s sole purpose from what I was originally told, besides to make money, was to act as a foundation or an origin story for a brand new franchise.   Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver penned the screenplay.  If you are a fan of the original franchise, then you will appreciate the many nods and tributes the writers brought attention to with certain scenes, characters and even a spacecraft named Icarus.

So I mentioned above that I couldn’t have been more wrong about Rise of the Apes (referred to as ROTPOTA hereafter).  And God!  I love it when I’m wrong in these kind of ways as opposed to other bad scenarios that I care not to go into intimate detail about here.  ROTPOTA has everything and more an old boy like me could ever ask for.  It has action.  It has adventure.  It has drama.  It has passion.  But most importantly, it has heart.  That’s where, in my opinion, ROTPOTA excels.   It’s the high level of emotional stakes achieved here that won me over during my first theatrical viewing and had me on the edge of my seat ready to weep like a baby should anybody harm my beloved Caesar.   The movie gave me goose bumps.   It gave me chills.   And it gave me the power to realize hey…maybe my screenplay at home isn’t really up to snuff.   Let’s go home and work on it.  LOL.  Needless to say, ROTPOTA was my favorite film of 2011.  First place goes to ROTPOTA.

It’s weird when you think, unless you are Gerard Iribe and have his ultra violent tastes, how could a movie about apes taking over the human race be both emotionally satisfying and heartfelt at the same time?  Well thankfully, that’s an easy question to answer.   The solution is really comprised of two essential ingredients…a brilliant screenplay and the Oscar-worthy performance of Andy Serkis as Caesar.   If you thought onscreen emotions transferred well with Cameron’s CG-captured performances in Avatar, you haven’t seen anything yet.   Kudos to the guys at WETA Workshop.  Wait until you get a look at the emotional story arc of Caesar.   He may not be the ideal role model for your kiddies, but I hardly doubt you will find yourself wishing any ill harm against the big lovable guy.

It’s hard to believe that a scientist’s desperate search to find a cure for Alzheimer’s ultimately led to the destruction of mankind, but stranger things have happened before, right?  James Franco plays a scientist who believes he has found the aforementioned cure.   John Lithgow portrays his Alzheimer’s stricken father.  The beautiful, and I stress that word beautiful, Freida Pinto is Franco’s love interest and conveniently, she also specializes in the care of chimps.  Together, the trio make up the core human ensemble, but this is the story of Caesar, remember?  Caesar comes into the picture when his infant self is discovered after a dozen other laboratory chimps are mistakenly put down after what was thought to be an awry/failed demonstration of Will’s experimental drug.  Franco’s character, Will, takes Caesar home to live and interact with his father and him.

Little does Will know that Caesar was genetically passed, through his mother, the Alzheimer’s cure he was working on.  The genetically engineered chimp shows very early signs of heightened intelligence.  He learns and develops quickly.  Realizing this, Will decides to illegally test the compound on a human subject…his father.  The results were astounding.   Overnight, Will’s father was himself again, cured of the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease.  Life seemed perfect.  Will has the girl.   He has the monkey.   And he has his father back again.  What more can a guy ask for?  Remember ladies and gentlemen…this is a movie.  Bam!  The sh!t quickly hits the fan, so to speak.

Caesar gets into trouble.  Big trouble!   Come on Will!  You didn’t seriously think you could keep that chimp securely safe and harbored in suburbia, did you?   Stupid boy.   Trix are for wabbits!  In what could be described as one of the most painful scenes to watch, simply because I own and love my black Ford Mustang GT, we see John Lithgow destroy his neighbor’s black Stang.   Why?  It’s because he has developed an immunity to Will’s Alzheimer’s cure and reverted back to his old state when we first met him in Act One.  That sucks!   But it sucks even worse for poor Caesar.  In an effort to protect Will’s father from the understandably upset Mustang-owning neighbor, Caesar bites off the dude’s finger.  That’s all she wrote.

It’s bye-bye time for Caesar as he is forced to live in the San Bruno Primate Sanctuary ran by Brian Cox’s character and interact with other primates absent of his human owner, Will, and his beautiful (did I mention Freida’s beauty yet?) girlfriend.  This is where ROTPOTA truly arcs.  It’s here, smack dab in the middle of Act Two, that Caesar realizes who he is and becomes the leader he was destined to be, leading the bridge revolt that people will forever talk about in San Francisco and around the world.  And oh yeah, this is all caused again by you guessed it…a new cure Will worked on in efforts to combat the immunity his father developed from the first miracle drug.  This time it’s worse.  The cure’s not a cure.  It’s a virus!  Beware people!  The apes are rising.

And for the record, I might be the only reviewer out there not criticizing the human interactions/performances throughout the picture.  To be completely honest, I was just fine with Franco’s chops.  I do agree that Pinto really served no purpose other than a pretty face, but all in all, this is a movie about Caesar.  And a damn good one!  Let’s not lose sight of that people.  I will repeat this once again in hopes that it sinks in.  Caesar is the main character of our story here.


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  To see my original Blu-ray review of it please click here.  Now you can read my take on it all below or just agree with me that this 4K UHD presentation really isn’t that much of an improvement over the Blu-ray one, hence no uptick in score here.  Because of that the score dropped by a half point.  Things need to be improved once they land a spot on the 4K format, don’t they?  I think so!

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Size: UHD-66
  • Clarity/Detail: Given that they brought this to the 4K UHD format you can expect a small uptick in detail.  The textures are still out of this world, from the individual strands of hair that make up the apes to the delicate caress of Freida’s perfect skin.  Ha ha.  I said perfect skin (even if she had a Slumdog scar across her face).  I crack myself up.  Closeups on the actors look fantastic.  One would think with such a CGI spectacular like this that you could expect to find lots of soft shots masking WETA’s wild creations.  Thankfully, that’s not the case at all.  There are a few soft moments here and there, and you really have to look for them, but for the most part…it’s reference!  With that being said though the uptick in detail does make the CGI slightly more artificial looking, but it won’t ruin the experience.  After all, we’re here for the story of Caesar and his apes.
  • Depth: Depth of field always looked great on this one from the battle on the Golden Gate Bridge to the jail cells where Caesar and his friends were held.  You always have that sense of extra depth throughout and I’m happy here.
  • Black Levels: The black levels appear a bit darker and more natural looking in this one compared to the Blu-ray.  You do see more detail in the shadows and fog.  So there’s that!
  • Color Reproduction: Unlike the latter two titles that follow in this trilogy this one is definitely brighter thanks to the fact that it’s not end of times yet.  There’s still plenty of sunshine to warm the landscapes and bright whites within the laboratories, etc.
  • Flesh Tones: For the most part the skin tones of the onscreen characters all look natural and authentic throughout.
  • Noise/Artifacts: I didn’t notice any issues with the print and no intrusive grain interfering with things here.


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Fox’s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  Unfortunately though it’s the same surround track found on the original Blu-ray release here.  Boo!  I’m really surprised Fox didn’t remix this catalog title for the next generation 4K format here.  Either way though I ranked this one high in my original Blu-ray review and I still stand by my words and more down below.

  • Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Dynamics: Despite not having a Dolby Atmos surround mix Fox continues to still tug on my heartstrings with this aggressive dynamically wild DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.  It performs equally well either in the drama scenes or the action packed ones.  The score opens up wide and swallows you up in it all.  This also includes the nostalgia of it all too.
  • Low Frequency Extension: Cop cars crash and burn.  Glass shatters as apes bust through it.  Explosions resonate with a big bombastic boom.  All of this and more is possible with this explosive LFE channel here.  The action packed sequences really pack a dynamite punch.  It’s both aggressive and constantly engaging.  You have to love it!
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Apes swing and scream all around you as this surround track puts you in the middle of all the action.  Bullets spray all around you, helicopter blades swirl and explosions rock you from all angles.  It’s Immersion with a capital I!  Despite it being front heavy at times here, I love how the surrounds always try to stay active and best of all have a sense of directionality in pans, etc.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue levels are clean, understandable and pristine sounding.

Special Features  

Like the colossal video and audio presentations described above, I think everyone will be quite satisfied in the Special Features department too.  However, instead of me speculating whether or not you will like them, why don’t we just stop wasting time and dive right into them.  Ready or not, I’m moving on!  But before I do let me remind y’all that the 4K Ultra HD set here includes the film in 4K on UHD disc as well as in 1080p on the separate Blu-ray disc, which also houses the below extras (with the exception of the audio commentaries).  Furthermore, there’s a Digital HD code found inside here too good for redemption in either iTunes or at your favorite UltraViolet retailer.  In addition there’s another paper insert here containing a code which allows streaming of a sneak preview for the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes (releases July 14, 2017).

  • Audio Commentaries – Both the Blu-ray & UHD disc features a total of two audio commentaries.  How do you like those apples?  First up is a track by Director Rupert Wyatt.  He discusses all the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes business that goes deep into how the movie was produced.  Next up, writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver discuss everything you would expect a pair of writers to chat about…the S-T-O-R-Y.
  • Deleted Scenes (12:00, HD) – There are a total of 12 deleted scenes as listed below.  None of them contain finished animation.
    • Alpha Gets Shot
    • Will’s Meeting with Lab Assistants
    • Will Discovers Caesar Has Solved Puzzles
    • Caesar Plays with Bicycle
    • Caesar Questions his Identity
    • Caesar Bites Off Neighbor’s Finger
    • Will Ignores the Risks of an Airborne Mutated Virus
    • Rodney Gives Caesar a Cookie
    • Rocket Gets Hosed by Dodge
    • Caesar Destroys the Lab and Koba’s Attempted Revenge on Jacobs
    • Caesar Pushes Helicopter
    • Koba with Shotgun
  • Mythology of the Apes (7:11, HD) –  The filmmakers discuss the original series and how this one relates/pays respect to them.
  • Studying the Genius of Andy Serkis (7:48, HD) – What else did you think this feature was?  This is everything Andy Serkis and how he has changed the world of motion capture technology forever.
  • Scene Breakdown (1:34, HD) – Although this one is quick, you can use your buttons on your remote to toggle between different views in a particular scene.
  • A New Generation of Apes (9:41, HD) – Here we get an inside look at how technology brought Caesar to life.
  • Breaking Motion Capture Boundaries (8:43, HD) – Probably in one of the most spectacular scenes of the movie, this featurette showcases the making of the Gold Gate Bridge finale.  Love it!
  • Composing the Score with Patrick Doyle (8:07, HD) – Mr. Doyle talks about composing the film, sound design and whatnot.
  • The Great Apes (22:37, HD)– This so-called tour contains mini-documentaries and 3-D renderings of chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.
  • Character Concept Art Gallery (HD) – This one features what else…concepts of the apes.
  • Theatrical Trailers (HD) – Included are trailers for Machine Gun Preacher, Immortals, Another Earth, There Be Dragons and more.

Final Thoughts  

Really?  What’s not to like/love here?  With a 5-point movie (on my scale…the only one that matters in this review because it’s mine), an uptick in video, engaging audio and a Special Features department that will keep fans busy for several hours (with the commentary tracks), I ask you again.  What’s not to like/love here?   You shouldn’t even be reading this anymore.  You should be clicking the Amazon link below and bringing Caesar and all his furry friends home to your house now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.   And oh yeah…don’t forget about the beautiful Freida Pinto either.  She’s a 4K bonus!  Rest assured, she comes with this 4K package here.  It’s a packaged deal.  So what more can you ask for?  I’m getting sick of asking you that.  It’s now your time to rise.  Bring home Rise of the Planet of the Apes now on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.  What a perfect gift for all your loved ones!  Buy in bulk!  Enjoy!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Swings onto 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

June 13th!




Rise of the Planet of the Apes 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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