War for the Planet of the Apes Ultra HD Blu-ray review

If you're expecting the latest …Planet Of The Apes to be an all-out, action-packed war film, you're out of luck. Instead you get the new trilogy's most intimate focus yet on lead ape Caesar. And for the most part, we're just fine with that. Okay, so this narrow focus sometimes leaves the film's human antagonists feeling a touch under-developed. However, the result is still an emotionally rewarding and visually stunning film if you buy into what it's trying to do.

Picture: War for the Planet of the Apes provides yet more proof that 2K digital intermediates can deliver a sparkling 4K Blu-ray.

Far from exposing the presumably 2K resolution of the film's CGI apes as you might expect, this crisp, clean and textured 4K encode only enhances your appreciation for the extraordinary effects work. You don't just see individual hairs, you can even see subtle colour and light differences between them. This locates the apes naturally within their environment, rather than leaving them looking superimposed on top of it.

The 4K picture highlight, though, is actually HDR. This greatly expands the baseline brightness of the film's many daylight exteriors and beautifully expands the dynamic range of darker shots. Colours, too, are gorgeously enriched, with more volume and greater subtlety.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: To answer Edwin Starr's question, one thing war is good for is cinema audio. In keeping with the film's personal approach, though, the 4K disc's Atmos mix does things a bit differently.

Rather than constantly filling your speakers with an exhausting barrage of explosions and gunfire, the mix often pushes the sounds of action into the background in favour of Michael Giacchino's score; filtering everything through Caesar's emotions.

You don't get quite the sort of dramatic transitions, high levels of multichannel spatial detailing and explosive bass and dynamics you'll find on more traditional war movie mixes. That doesn't mean this isn't brilliant, though. In fact, its decision to focus on cocooning you in a cohesive bubble of atmosphere pays off in spades.
Audio rating: 4.5/5

Extras: The only extra on the 4K disc is a terrific commentary by director Matt Reeves that delivers just the right balance of on-set anecdotes and discussions of the film's themes.

All other extras are found on the accompanying Full HD Blu-ray. These include 25 minutes of deleted scenes (with optional commentary), plus a series of featurettes on various aspects of making the film and its nods to the original …Apes movies.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: A satisfying pay-off to the surprisingly effective trilogy. That it also looks and sounds the business on 4K BD is the icing on the cake.

War for the Planet of the Apes, Twentieth Century Fox, Ultra HD Blu-ray & All-region BD, £30