Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
This is one of those packages that might just tip me toward being every so slightly impressed. Yes, it’s strange and unusual for me to appreciate a DVD cover, but it does happen occasionally. I have said that all white boxes with titles would be fine with me if it would prevent all the bad cover art from existing in the world. Another alternative would be covers like the one for There Will Be Blood. It fits the theme of the movie, obvious but still cool.
There is a slip cover that’s made to look like the old leather bound journal the main character writes in through the story. The inside is an image from a scene in the movie, which is a nice touch, but kind of uninteresting when I think of the possible notes and scribbles that could have been put there instead. The cover of the DVD itself has an image from a shot in the movie too, but this one is more intriguing and has more personality.
The menu is just an image from the movie with plain navigation at the bottom of the screen. Nothing special, but then again, they blew their budget on that fancy cover box.
The Blu-Ray disc comes with a couple of cool extras in terms of packaging, the disc comes in the standard Blu-Ray keep case but has a reversible cover with two very different images of Daniel Day Lewis, this is awesome and something I would like to see more of. Also inside the case is a single paper double sided image featuring a couple of scenes from the movie in a old painting style, at the bottom corner of each side is the name Shin Katan which I assume is the artist responsible for the work.
- 15 Minutes Pictures, Research For The Making Of The Movie – This is an excellent collection of the photos and reference materials Paul Thomas Anderson used to make this movie look and feel as authentic as possible. The images are cut in with the shots from the movie that they inspired or helped design. Love it.
- Teaser Trailer & Theatrical Trailer – I had never seen the trailers, so this was ok, I guess. I don’t care much for trailers, in fact I try to avoid them as much as possible so I don’t see them as a bonus feature.
- Fishing Sequence – A Deleted scene that is very good, but has a different tone than the rest of the movie. It’s worth watching for sure, and it does give more information about the process of bringing in a large oil well, and some great dialogue from the main character who never stops being intimidating and fascinating.
- Haircut/Interrupted Hymn Sequence – Another deleted scene that doesn’t do much more than give a glimpse into the less hard side of Daniel Plainview, so I’m glad it was cut. I want this guy to stay hardened and complicated. To show a softer side makes him more common.
- Dailies Gone Wild – Daniel Day-Lewis taking his liberties with a speech in an extended scene.
- The Story Of Petroleum (ex 1923) – Fantastic!! This is an actual promotional film made to show the process and extol the virtues of the oil and fuel business when industry was really changing the world economy and our daily lives. This baby is from 1923, and it’s clear, excellent images, and with music from the movie added over the top. I can’t say enough good things about this little film. It’s educational and does show just how detailed Anderson was when he made the movie.
This movie is one of my favorites in a long long time. I’m still thinking about it. The characters are fascinating and a little bit haunting. It comes from a novel, and is loosely based on that story. The lead character is Daniel Plainview, a man driven toward and against his own future. We meet him as he is digging a hole, a mine, something all alone. He finds a hunk of gold, just as he falls and injures his leg. We get the idea very quickly that this man is hard as nails. He drags himself to the exchange office and from there I got a clear view of who he is. He’s one of those people pushed by his past, forged in hard times, and now will focus so completely on his goals that something will be lost in his wake.
What he loses, or arguably what he never had, is a certain humanity. He’s not a social man. He’s got his eye on the result of each action, each choice, each deal he makes. I don’t think he’s driven by greed. That might be what other see in him. I see something else, something I can’t put my finger on, but it’s not success or money. He’s just moving forward, toward something, but nothing is ever enough.
He’s not the only big character in the story, oh no. There is the preacher who has visions of grandeur. He’s powerful and just as focused on his agenda. They clash, of course, but when you dig deeper, under their personas, there is a similarity in their desperation for moving forward past others, past convention, past what’s healthy, moderate, reasonable.
The look of the movie is amazing. I’m not a Paul Thomas Anderson zombie, like some people 🙂 I do look for the flaws, the cracks in the beauty…but I couldn’t find any at all. Every shot is well designed but not overly stylized. The scenes where the danger is looming with the machinery are so tense I was clinging my blanket with that look on my face like I was about to see a disaster. The music is unexpected and lovely and comes from Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood.
It definitely has Paul Thomas Anderson in and on it. It’s subtle, but he’s in there with certain camera shots, the emotionally tortured characters, the grit and grime, the trademark long walking shots, all present and accounted for. He’s more refined and less self indulgent, which just makes me want to see more more more of his work.
There Will Be Blood is a classy film, what can I say? Daniel Day-Lewis does take center stage, however, he inhabits a time and a place that are so meticulously recreated that he becomes part of it all, blended in, not just HIM in front of the scenery.
This is a story that resonates more in my mind the more distance I have from watching the movie. It’s excellent as a it is, and then it sits in the back of my mind as I think of life and motivation, and other big questions about this crazy life. The driven people of the world are often pushed by something tragic or complicated and in the end either don’t find what they need to be satisfied, or they go berserk, or they give up, or they die tragically….I don’t get the feeling this character or other like him would ever find much success or happiness without a shitload of pain and heartache. The title kind of says it all.
Video & Audio: (By Ascully) 9/10
Having had the pleasure to watch both the DVD and Blu-Ray version of this amazing movie I can honestly say this is a movie that must be viewed in High Definition if you want to get the most out of it. Paramount have stepped up to the plate with a Blu-Ray disc that goes above and beyond what I was expecting, using the VC1 Codec at a very high bit rate (over 36 mbps at times) the picture jumps off the screen in full 1080P. Blacks are blacker than black (which is a good thing as the oil in the movie is a character in itself), and overall scenes are detailed and crisp looking.
Audio is delivered using the new Dolby TrueHD codec which sounds out of this world, the movie is dialog heavy but the surrounds get a workout on some of the oil drilling scenes. Also included on the Blu-Ray Disc is the 5.1 Dolby Digital track from the standard DVD which is quite good as well. Add to this a bunch of extras presented in HD and you have one amazing package for the greatest movie of 2007.
The movie is a solid 10!! The DVD has room for improvement on the whole, but not much. I recommend the movie it to anyone. However, this is a standard DVD. Nothing high definition here folks. If you can wait, hope for a Blu-ray version around the corner. If you want to see it now, rent it and watch it, a few times 🙂 I don’t think a regular DVD, even if it’s 2 discs and has cool extras, should be more than 12 bucks these days. Take that big movie executives.
When this review was written Paramount were still waiting to enter the HD market (Again) and a Blu-Ray version was not available, this was a shame as the transfer on the standard DVD left a little to be desired. All this has been fixed with the new Blu-Ray version of the movie (available June 6th 2008) you can get the full skinny in the Video/Audio section of the review.
Overall Score 9/10