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There Will Be Blood(2007)
In turn-of-the-century California, a down-and-out silver miner raising a son on his own gets a mysterious tip-off that there’s a little town out West where an ocean of oil is oozing out of the ground, so he heads out with his son H.W. to take their chances in dust-worn Little Boston. In this hardscrabble town, where the main excitement centers around the holy-roller church of charismatic preacher Eli Sunday, Plainview and H.W. make their lucky strike. But even as the well raises all of their fortunes, nothing remains the same as conflicts escalate and every human value – love, hope, community, belief, ambition and even the bond between father and son – is imperiled by corruption, deception and the flow of oil.
For more about There Will Be Blood and the There Will Be Blood Blu-ray release, see There Will Be Blood Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on June 4, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciarán Hinds, Dillon Freasier, Paul F. Tompkins
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
» See full cast & crew
There Will Be Blood Blu-ray Review
Paul Thomas Anderson's oil epic flows onto Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, June 4, 2008
You will never be saved if you reject the blood.
You'll get no argument from me as to whether There Will Be Blood deserved to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, but after having finally seen Paul Thomas Anderson's oil epic, I do find myself in agreement that No Country For Old Men was a bit more deserving of the win. There Will Be Blood is a fantastic movie nevertheless, a classic epic of one man's rise to and obsession with power in turn-of-the-century California. With every frame, shot, scene, and sequence comes breathtaking cinematography, first-rate acting, effortless direction, and storytelling at its simplest and finest; a finer film you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. More entertaining and faster-paced, yes, but rarely has a film been made that feels so real as There Will Be Blood.
Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York), a young prospector in 1898 California, nearly dies while mining for silver, but the resolute Plainview crawls back to town with a broken leg to cash in. So begins a stage of his life where obsession, greed, and ambition slowly but surely wreak havoc on him and those around him. After an accident kills one of his workers at one of his first oil wells, Plainview adopts the man's orphaned son, HW (Dillon Freasier in his first film appearance), and claims him as his own. Several years later, Daniel Plainview is approached by a small-time California rancher named Paul Sunday (Paul Dano, Little Miss Sunshine) who informs him, for a $500 fee, of the presence of oil on his ranch where nothing but weeds thrive. Ultimately, Plainview agrees to prospect the site, his true intentions initially unbeknownst to the rest of the Sunday family. When he makes an offer to buy the ranch, Paul's twin brother Eli (also played by Paul Dano) sees through his scheme and demands $10,000 for the church where he ministers. A deal is worked out, and what follows is a morality tale and an epic journey through the descent into madness that shows how both success and greed can reduce a man to nothing.
Even though There Will Be Blood has all of the earmarks of a slow movie, such as long stretches of dialogue, lingering shots, and slow and deliberate camera pans, it is actually anything but. Through the film's strong script, the movie's two-and-one-half hour runtime feels almost as fast as Cloverfield, a film nearly half the length of There Will Be Blood. A Michael Bay film this is most certainly not; in fact, if there was ever an anti-Bay movie based completely on style, this is it. That's no knock on Mr. Bay, whose movies I enjoy a great deal, this is simply intended to provide a contrast between how There Will Be Blood plays out as opposed to flashier movies, but is equally, if not more so, effective and fast-paced nevertheless. There Will Be Blood also showcases some breathtakingly beautiful cinematography, a fact picked up on by the Academy who bestowed upon this film the award for Best Achievement in Cinematography. Viewers of this film are treated to some exciting shots of the harsh, lifeless terrain that surounds the California oil field. Never before did I imagine such a desolate, depressing locale could look so marvelous as it does in this film.
Widely known is the fact that Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of Daniel Plainview is an excellent one, perhaps, even, one of this finest acting performances in memory (side note: he sounds like Sean Connery with a bit of Jack Nicholson in this film). What is it about the Plainview character that makes this performance so memorable? He is one of the most vile and despicable characters, in my estimation, in cinema history, the experiences and successes of his ventures changing him from a caring, considerate businessman who adopted the orphaned son of an employee to a man whose actions may shock the audience throughout the last half of the film. The name "Daniel Plainview" itself can be interpreted as a description of the character. "Daniel" means "Judged By God," and "Plainview" can be seen as a metaphor for the character's single-mindedness as he moves forward with the singular goal of expanding his wealth and status, regardless of the consequences of his actions on those around him. Indeed, there is no doubt the character will be judged, for he has rejected the blood of the Lord, spilled that of his fellow men, and brought forth the blood of the Earth.
I thank God I have none of you in me.
There Will Be Blood Blu-ray, Video Quality
There Will Be Blood can finally be discovered on Blu-ray, and the disc sports a pleasant 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 framed transfer. Grain is an important part of this film, and it is present in many scenes, notably during the film's climax. Grain is also present in darker scenes in abundance. The film opens inside a dimly lit mineshaft and the transfer at this juncture of the movie sports black levels that appear somewhat washed out, but the composition of the scene makes the look understandable and permissible. Most of the time, blacks are as solid as we would expect form a first-rate Blu-ray release. Flesh tones are impeccably accurate. Some background objects appear a bit fuzzy and out-of-focus, but the foreground objects appear nicely reproduced. There are also some minor fluctuations in contrast. Brightly lit scenes are amazing, and there is a terrific sense of depth to much of the transfer as it places us squarely into the oil fields depicted throughout the film. The level of detail to be seen throughout the movie is also impressive. From close-ups of the cast, which show in plain detail their journey throughout the movie, to the impressive visuals of the oil derricks (notably the wood they are constructed from), to the primary environment where the film takes place (where nearly every weed, rock, and grain of dirt is noticeable), There Will Be Blood makes for an impressive visual experience on Blu-ray, and combined with the film's excellent cinematography, it's difficult not to get pulled into the movie visually and feel like you're there in turn-of-the-century California.
There Will Be Blood Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There Will Be Blood comes to Blu-ray with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack that is befitting the film but is certainly not a sonic extravaganza. In fact, there are but one or two utterances of words in the first fourteen minutes of the film until Daniel Plainview discusses the status of his oil wells. The bass heard near the beginning of the film didn't impress me all that much, sounding a bit tiny and uninspired, but rest assured, the moments that call for deep bass later in the movie do not disappoint, the first instance coming at the 19:30 mark of the film. The strings that play over those first fourteen minutes of the movie sound mesmerizingly good, almost signaling the beginning of a horror movie which, in a way, this is. They are never too loud or too low, and brought about inside of me a sense of anticipatory dread. Dialogue is well rendered, although through much of the movie there isn't a lot more than light music and dialogue. Surrounds remain inactive much of the time, but the film's music can be heard in the rears on occasion, sometimes at a higher volume than others. Eli's repeated statement at the end of the film doesn't reverberate the way I thought it would; the surrounds remain mostly silent during his loud proclamation. When the derrick strikes oil, the moment is an amazing sound experience as the power of the gushing crude is not only seen on-screen but felt off of it by the audience. Paramount has done a good job on this disc. While the track isn't overly active, it allows the film to tell its own tale, and indeed, the movie is good enough to stand on its own and allow the music to compliment it rather than dominate it.
There Will Be Blood Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
There Will Be Blood leaks onto Blu-ray with some interesting supplements, but hardly enough to label this a first-rate special edition. 'There Will Be Blood': Pics, Research, Etc. (1080p, 15:37) is a feature that intercuts historical documents with clips from the movie. Like the movie itself, the feature is subdued and different, but a fascinating watch nevertheless. It shows where ideas for the film originated and the authenticity of the look and feel of the film based on historical facts. The film's teaser (1080p, 1:22) and theatrical trailer (1080p, 2:12) are next. Fishing (1080p, 6:15) and Haircut/Interrupted Hymn (1080p, 3:15) are two deleted scenes from the film. Dailies Gone Wild (1080p, 2:48) is not what it sounds like, but is rather an alternate take on a scene. Finally, The Story of Petroleum (1080p, 25:36) is a silent piece produced in the 1920s and is described as "a promotional film [made] to highlight the operations of the U.S. oil industry." It contains a new score and is a fascinating watch for those interested in the early history of the oil business in the United States.
There Will Be Blood Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
There Will Be Blood is one of the best-made movies in recent memory. Despite the power and grace of the film, I was not surprised to learn that it grossed just over $40,000,000 at the box office, and only $302,000 over its opening weekend. This movie is far from a summer blockbuster-style movie and is instead a thinking man's epic and one of the best films of the past several decades. Paramount's Blu-ray release of There Will Be Blood is a solid effort. With a pleasant, film-like image and adequate audio, the disc won't set your home theater ablaze, but what it will do is place you squarely into the middle of the film. The supplemental material is much lighter than what I expected to be included with a film of this calibre, and I would not be surprised to see a special edition release in the not-too-distant-future. Nevertheless, because it is the the movie itself that is key to our enjoyment of Blu-ray, this disc is one well worth owning. Highly recommended.
There Will Be Blood: Other Editions
There Will Be Blood Blu-ray, News and Updates
• There Will Be Blood Blu-ray Gets Detailed - April 30, 2008
Paramount has revealed more details about the Blu-ray release of the Academy Award winning film 'There Will Be Blood.' The studio is promising 1080p video along side Dolby TrueHD audio — video codec information is currently unavailable. In addition, Paramount ...
• Paramount Further Details Their Blu-ray Plans - April 30, 2008
Paramount Home Entertainment today revealed further details about their upcoming Blu-ray plans and in addition to releasing 'Bee Movie', 'Face/Off' and 'Next' on May 20th, they will also be releasing 'Blades of Glory', a quirky comedy about the competetive world ...
• Paramount Reveals Initial Blu-ray Titles - April 29, 2008
Paramount Home Entertainment have finally unveiled their long-awaited first wave of catalog and recent hit titles that they'll begin releasing May 20th. "We will have a strong slate of titles for Blu-ray release throughout the year, worldwide, and are enthusiastic ...
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There Will Be Blood Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
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