H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze

 

Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 5600 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze

 

HD-DVD STORE         HIGH DEFINITION DVD STORE

 

ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS

 

 

There Will Be Blood [Blu-ray]

(Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio

Blu-ray: Paramount

 

Transfer:
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Running Time: 2:38:12

Audio:
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
DUBs: French: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish

Subtitles:
English SDH, English, French, Spanish

Supplements:
• The Story Of Petroleum (25:37) - 4:3 in HD
• '15 minutes' Slideshow (15:33) in HD

• Two deleted scenes, Fishing (6:13) and Haircut/Interrupted Hymn (3:13)
• Dailies Gone Wild (Outtake) (2:46)

Blu-ray Trailers

Disc: 50GB Blu-ray Disc

DVD Release Date: June 3rd, 2008

 

 

The Film:

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 interest.

Black gold eventually pours from the ground, of course, and when it does, a fellow prospector’s child is immediately baptized with it; Anderson spatters the lens with oil, too, initiating us into Plainview’s faith. Blood may tip its hat to John Ford and notions of collective ambition, but at bottom it’s a story of individual obsession—and may inspire a similar obsession in viewers. This is the most original and compelling Western in a year of Westerns: so new, so bleached of conventional beauty and so alienating (thanks in part to a nerve-jangling score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood) that it might as well be set on Mars.

The movie alludes to Days of Heaven, Giant, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Citizen Kane, but it’s every inch a P.T. Anderson film. Blood is not a departure from his style (as some have suggested) but a refinement, seizing on the notions of family and commerce that ran through Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999) and reworking them on a different plane. Anderson pares down Upton Sinclair’s 1926 muckraking novel Oil! to an archetypal, even operatic tale of greed and competition, culminating in an ending that’s as much a shock to the system as the frogs in
Magnolia.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

***

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.

Excerpt from Mike D'Angelo at the Las Vegas Weekly located HERE

 
 

 

 

Image: I suppose the big question is "Does it look that much better?" compared to the SD edition (Reviewed HERE) which almost set a new standard for image quality. I suppose 'that much' is going to boil down to a personal preference but it does look far better in 1080P resolution. This is apparent in all the expected areas - colors, contrast and detail. Contrast can be quite intense. The image does look quite brilliant at times and you may find yourself occasionally swooning at the grandeur of the picture quality which approaches 3-D at times. There is still some minor noise in monochromatic blackness - of which there is a fair amount in the film and it does lean towards blue. But to get back to the point of whether it is worth a double-dip - I'd probably say 'no', but I personally was not as blown away by Anderson's epic as many others... but am coming around. I do think this latest viewing (4th) was my favorite and I am glad to have seen it, and own it, looking so absolutely stellar. It's a film you can't seem to look away from and that can be exemplified due to the greatly improved resolution factor. No disappointments here - this looks quite magnificent in all visual areas.       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: I *think* the TrueHD audio option was even more pronounced than the crisp 5.1 channel of the SD. There are some dramatic separations and I jumped a few times with oil gushers exploding from the rears. The soundtrack, including "Pärt: Fratres for Cello and Piano" and Brahms' "Violin Concerto" was beautifully clean and tight. The dialogue is supported by subtitles available in English, French or Spanish in a white font with a black border.

 

 

 

Extras: Duplicated from the SD, but now in HD! - 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' and also in HD) with very old mining/prospecting/oil-boom photos interspersed with some newer ones from the film. The deleted scenes and Outtakes (found on the SD) are also here under 'Extras'. 

 

 

 

Bottom line: I don't know that my review was very helpful excepting to state what most expected - that the transfer is quite flawless. If you were enamored with the film - then this is an easy decision and I must say that I'm grateful to have it in my possession looking this strong. I'm having some buddies over on Thursday and will demo this to them as a few were pretty over-the-moon about the film - especially Day-Lewis' intense performance. This film doesn't seem to let go of you and many Blu-ray libraries won't be complete without it. For those that indulge I doubt you will be disappointed at all. This disc transfer is solid.

Gary Tooze
June 3rd, 2008

 

 


 

 

 

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