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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
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.
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.
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.