Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes 3D

Featured In Issue 193, January 2015

3D Picture4.5
WSR Score4
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20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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Matt Reeves
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DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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In Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, a growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

Special features include commentary by Director Matt Reeves; eight featurettes: Journey To Dawn (HD 08:47), Andy Serkis: Rediscovering Caesar (HD 09:02), Humans And Apes: The Cast Of Dawn (HD 17:47), The World Of Dawn (HD 14:31), The Ape Of Community (HD 10:26), Move Like An Ape: An Artist's Medium (HD 15:25), Weta And Dawn (HD 20:27), and The Fight For A New Dawn (HD 16:00); three deleted scenes with optional commentary by Matt Reeves (HD 04:34); a photo gallery; theatrical trailers; upfront previews; and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 1.85:1 1080p MVC picture was photographed digitally and in native 3D using the Arri Alexa M camera system. The imagery is stunning, especially with regard to the exceptional realism and rendering of the various classes of simians. Not only is the resolution generally impressive, but the fine detail is exceptional, as depicted in the bristly fur of the apes, monkeys, and baboons. The apocalyptic San Francisco and the surrounding wild foliage of the Pacific Northwest's Muir Woods elicits an eerie dreariness with gray skies, incessant rainfall, and an overall gloom-depicted environment exhibited by dark greens and browns. Even the well-lit scenes of the remnants of San Francisco are challenged, to convey a stronger vivid color palette. While dark scenes are predominant, contrast is excellent with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. The 3D experience is perfectly natural with excellent depth and perspective dimensionality. The photography exhibits effective wide shots in which at the foreground and the background are spatially dimensional. “Out of screen” elements are restrained, yet the perception of depth is solid and immersive. The action set pieces are particularly deathly presented, which heightens the realism. The imagery is pristine throughout. This is an effectively reference-quality 3D experience that is far superior to the 2D version.

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 7.1 soundtrack is sweeping in scope, with a forcefully dynamic and nuanced holosonic® immersive quality. Ambiance and atmospherics are spatially dimensional and enveloping. Sound effects, such as rain, fire, and forest ambiance also enhance the realism, as does the excellent Foley elements. Michael Giacchino's orchestral score is beautifully recorded with a wide soundstage that extends aggressively to the surrounds. The added two channels really enhance the immersive experience. Deep bass, particularly related to the music score, sounds natural with heightened extension in the .1 LFE channel. Fidelity is excellent throughout. Dialogue is effectively integrated spatially, with subtitles displayed when the apes use “sign language.” This is a wonderful and powerfully dynamic sonic experience that is reference quality throughout.