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There Will Be Blood
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: R (For Some Violence)

Running Time: 158 Minutes

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. O'Connor, Ciaran Hinds, Dillon Freasier

Based on "Oil!" by: Upton Sinclair

Written For The Screen and Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $39.99

Features: The Story Of Petroleum, 15 Minutes, Fishing Sequence, Haircut/Interrupted Hymn, Dailies Gone Wild, Trailers

Specs: 2.40:1 Widescreen 1080p High Definition, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Chapters (8 Chapters)

Released: June 3rd, 2008

 

 

I thought "There Will Be Blood" on regular DVD delivered a good transfer, despite some flaws. In Blu-ray, there is a bit of an improvement. With that noted, the film is presented in 1080p high definition, with an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. Robert Elswit's Oscar-winning cinematography now packs even more detail - just check out the oil gushing and the debris in the drilling sites. Fleshtones look pretty much perfect, and black levels are exquisite. Color saturation is beautifully bold too - costumes, landscapes and interiors are very filling and have a certain lavishness - there is a very fine amount of detail that really draw the eyes in. Simply excellent. 

 

I thought the Dolby Digital 5.1 track on the regular DVD was outstanding, but the Blu-ray TrueHD 5.1 pushes it even further that offers an even deeper auditory overload. Johnny Greenwood's score sounds pretty magnificent through the channels, to the point where some of those instruments seem bottomless and will ring in your ears after the film is over. The surround effects also pack quite a wallop, with great imaging and dynamic range that lend to be very fulfilling: you'll feel as if those rocks in the mines are falling on you, as if you're helping dig for oil, right next to a drill explosion, getting impaled a narrow shaft and of course, getting beaten with a bowling pin. You'll be trapped in all this mayhem - not to mention Daniel Day-Lewis's screaming (which sounds thick and crisp). Subwoofer use is quite powerful too and will definitely make your floor shake at points, and overall bass is very deep. This is a very memorable mix for an epic movie, making it a mix that goes hand-in-hand with the superb high definition picture.

Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks are also included in French and Spanish. There are also subtitles in English, French and Spanish are on the disc too, plus English closed captions that can be accessed through your TV.  

 



Everything from the standard DVD version is here. And with the exception of the "15 Minutes" feature, everything is in glorious high definition.

Helping give some historical background is The Story Of Petroleum - an actual black and white film from 1923 that chronicles the oil business from all aspects (drilling it, prepping it for distribution) during that era. Originally a silent reel, Johnny Greenwood's haunting compositions have been placed on to it, and the score certainly makes this nearly 26 minute piece pretty eerie. As this slice of history goes on, text inserts come up that explain how oil is tapped, terminology and that sort of thing. It's quite fascinating, and when compared to "There Will Be Blood," you will see just how accurate the production design from Jack Fisk was when it came to capturing these times. A pretty absoring inclusion.

15 Minutes is an intriguing hodgepodge of images and clips, also set to Greenwood's score. Again, it's another showcase that really gives you an idea just how well the filmmakers captured the times and this world of oil men. Clips from the actual film are shown, as well as maps, drawings, photographs and film footage from that time. The juxtaposes in this classy montage make for a pretty riveting watch.

There's also some deleted footage, without any text introductions to put things in proper context. There's the Fishing Sequence, which is a cut scene from the movie lasting a bit over six minutes. It is certainly an entertaining watch, but whether it adds more to the story is debatable. There's also the three minute Haircut/Interrupted Hymn sequence - it's also a deleted scene in a sense, and part of it is a montage of some kind, using clips already featured in the movie. I assume it was something different the filmmakers tried in the editing room, to give a glimpse of Daniel Plainview's psyche before a major scene. We also have Dailies Gone Wild, which is essentially a blooper (followed by DVD credits). 

Finally, there is the Teaser Trailer and Theatrical Trailer.
 
 

As much as I admired "No Country For Old Men," and did not mind it won the top Oscar prize, I would have personally preferred if "There Will Be Blood" snagged it. Despite polarized reactions to some of Anderson's past work, there's really no denying that this epic tale of greed, madness and human nature makes him one of the eminent American filmmakers today. (And further proof that Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't just act - he inhabits the soul of a character.) If you are a Blu-ray player owner and enjoyed the film, then this is a strong purchase: the magnificent visuals and audio make a very strong impression in high definition, which is fitting for the larger-than-life tale of Daniel Plainview.