Paul Thomas Anderson
From its opening scene, There
Will Be Blood announces itself as an heir to
2001: A Space Odyssey. With a soundtrack shriek that’s pure Kubrick, the
camera fades up on an untamed landscape, where lone prospector Daniel Plainview
(Day-Lewis) chips away in a hole. He’s driven by the equivalent of 2001’s
monolith—in this case, oil: the substance that will inform everything he does,
and that will make him wealthy to a point where wealth becomes his only
Paul Thomas Anderson has been striving to make a masterpiece ever since he first exploded onto the American movie scene 10 years ago with his insanely ambitious second feature, Boogie Nights. Replete with showy camera moves and performance tics (borrowed from Scorsese and Altman, respectively), this ostensible portrait of the ’70s porn industry, while wildly entertaining, was in essence little more than a nonstop series of attention-grabbing set pieces. His hyperactive follow-up, Magnolia, gathered even more terrific actors and set off emotional crises at an even more frantic and furious pace. Even Punch-Drunk Love, the goofy romantic comedy he made with Adam Sandler, fairly pulsed with PTA’s unmistakable need to assault the viewer with evidence of his genius. “I get a bit giddy,” I wrote some years ago, “imagining what Anderson might accomplish one day if/when he finally calms the f--k down.” It’s a pleasure to report that the wait is over. His latest effort, the magnificent oil-baron epic There Will Be Blood, firmly and thrillingly demonstrates what switching to cinematic decaf can do.
Theatrical Release: September 27th, 2007
DVD Review: Paramount (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Paramount Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.31 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUBs: Spanish, French (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Subtitles||English, French, Spanish, None|
• The Story Of Petroleum (25:37)
I can't imagine that the image quality on this Paramount DVD could be any better in Standard Definition. It looks flawless. I'll assume colors and brightness will be superior to some degree on the HD (and eventual Blu-ray) edition of this film but I have no strong complaints with the presentation of this film on this Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition. Shadow detail, contrast and even the sparse use of color are pristinely reproduced in this transfer. Noise is very minor and detail is at the same deft level as the film itself. This is a beautifully shot film that looks magnificent on dual-layered, anamorphic and progressive DVD. I see no obvious manipulations. The entire 2 1/2 hour feature is complete on the first disc - divided into 8 'reels' (chapters) - sharing it will nothing else. The 5.1 channel audio is crisp and clean with options for similar DUBs in French and Spanish. The dialogue is supported by subtitles available in English, French or Spanish in a large yellow font.
The second disc (supplements) is single-layered and fans may be somewhat disappointed by the sparseness of extras directly related to the production. The Story Of Petroleum is a vintage featurette (1923-7) created by the U.S. Bureau of Mines in collaboration with the Sinclair Oil Company as a promotional film. It runs almost 30 minutes and is, admittedly, very interesting for background of There Will Be Blood - putting its historical significance in a more direct context. There is a 15 minute slideshow (aptly entitled '15 Minutes') with very old mining/prospecting/oil-boom photos interspersed with some newer ones from the film. We are given two fairly inconsequential deleted scenes, Fishing (6:13) and Haircut/Interrupted Hymn (3:16) plus something called Dailies Gone Wild (Outtakes) running less than 3 minutes. We also have a teaser trailer (1:24) and a theatrical one (2:12). So, no interviews, commentaries or Making of... so it may be a shade disappointing for certain fans although the extensive film's running time, stylistic journey and stellar appearance should be more than enough to sate PTA's following. I warmed much more to this film in my second viewing. It has grown on me favorably and this package is highly recommended!
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