has an average rating of 8.4 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on a 50gb disc
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
are ALL presented in High Def
– 158 minutes
Overall Verdict – Recommended
— Review by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself is Written / Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and based on the Novel “OIL!” by Upton Sinclair. The film’s main character “Daniel Plainview” is played by Daniel Day-Lewis who won the “Academy Award” for Best Actor this year — for this role. The story tells that of Daniel Plainview who we get to know from the first 15 minutes of the film — as it contains no dialogue. We see him first working alone in what appears to be a mine searching for oil but instead finding silver, working with a small crew on his first oil rig endeavors, designing an oil “derrick” and eventually striking it rich when he hits oil. From this we’re fast forwarded a few years and find Daniel and his son “H.W.” (played by Dillon Freasier) talking to a group of people about drilling for oil in their town. Daniel is a very smooth talking and intelligent man which comes across very early on from scenes like these but at the same time he’s got somewhat of a dark side too. One day while Plainview, son H.W. and his assistant are sitting having dinner a boy by the name of “Paul Sunday” (played by Paul Dano) shows up asking what kind of “finder’s fee” he can get for leading Plainview to some land that he knows has oil.
The place this Paul Sunday kid suggests is his family farm in a small town which Daniel decides to pay visit to. He immediately encounters the boy’s father “Abel Sunday” (played by David Willis) and pretends to be quail hunting, asking if he could stay on their land with his son. The obviously good natured Christian father, Abel tells Daniel he’s more than welcome to stay on their land and even offers them food. This whole hunting for quail story is nothing more than a front for him to use while he searches the land for signs of oil, which he immediately starts to do. The farmer’s son, “Eli Sunday” (played by Paul Dano as well) later brings Daniel and his son food as Abel Sunday had promised. Eli introduces himself and meets again with our character very soon, as he plays a large part in this story.
Once Plainview is sure he’s found oil, he first and most importantly comes the “Sunday” family one night during dinner with his offer to drill the area for oil and in turn help the community financially. The first thing the young preacher son Eli asks of Daniel is money for his church. One thing that’s very important here for the viewer to know is that Daniel Plainview is not a man of faith (religion) in the slightest bit, he’s a businessman and money is what comes first to him. He’s there type that will say in reply to the question of his faith “I’m a man of all faiths” or one eager to say “the good Lord sent me” and statements of that nature. That itself is the main theme of this film and probably one that is sure to offend some overly religious people in the end but then again what doesn’t offend them these days? This shows us how roughly 80 years can pass and some of us are still as close minded and god fearing as Eli, while others like Daniel don’t fall for that stuff and instead focus on the business aspect of things which in the 1920′s was a whole lot better idea to be wealthy than religious. Especially during the “great depression” which would end up starting in 1929.
The film itself is very well respected by critics, with a 8.4 average rating on IMDb and an awesome 91% (out of 100%) rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. The film was nominated for best film but lost to “No Country For Old Men” which just-so-happens to have been filmed right beside this on location in Texas. This motion picture has very much a feeling to it like the amazing classic films Directed by the late Stanley Kubrick and is easily my personal favorite film of 2007.
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in VC-1 on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte Dual-Layered Blu-ray Disc). First off I’d like to state that Paramount was kind enough to provide me with the original DVD release months ago and I am now using it in comparison with this High Definition presentation on Blu-ray. This was filmed using the Panavision Panaflex series of cameras on 35mm film negatives. The transfer to digital (on DVD and in High Definition) obviously comes with some tiny amount of film grain. This is to be expected plus it helps me soon notice this doesn’t seem to have had any DNR (digital noise reduction) filters used on it so it keeps a very crisp clear picture quality. The black level is extreme in it’s solidity, the color palette seems dull at times to help set the visual style and then vibrant at other times, especially the exterior scenes of the oil rigs.
The visual style here seems very unique in it’s own respect thanks to the Cinematography styling of Robert Elswitt, who also won an Academy Award for his work on this film. Visually this in comparison to the DVD presentation looks a whole hell of a lot better as you’d expect but overall I’d have to say it’s an extremely excellent transfer to High Definition that will leave you happy with what you see. There’s so much more detail to be found here in the High Def transfer as you’ll notice from the high resolution screenshots I’ve included. Notice the sweat on Daniel’s forehead, his beard stubble and even the pores in his face. This earns a very respectable “4 1/2 Star Rating” for video quality. If you couldn’t wait (like me) and got the DVD, this is definitely worth getting to replace it due to it’s extreme superiority to the standard definition release.
Audio Quality on this release is in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround. This starts off sounding very much like Stanley Kubrick‘s “2001: A Space Odyssey” thanks to the amazing Musical Score done by Jonny Greenwood (of the band “Radiohead“) and to the fact the first 15 minutes of the film includes zero dialogue. This to some might sound a bit “iffy” yet I can tell you early on you’ll be happy with what you hear, not only in the music but with the sound effects presented to you in a very realistic manner. Once dialogue comes into play it’s delivered very distinct and never at anytime overwhelmed by the sound effects or Score.
This is a straight forward mix that does have some nice rear channel presence at times but mainly seems to use the front channels to deliver a majority of the sound. This works quite well in this case, unlike in most films. No complaints here in the slightest bit but then again it didn’t totally “blow me away” like an action movie or something. It delivered a perfect sound presentation that suited the film very well. The sounds of an oil rig spewing out oil, an oil rig exploding, gunshots, and so forth all come across very believable with great bass presence that will have your subwoofer at times surely shaking the room. I give this a solid “4 Star Rating” for the audio quality on this Blu-ray Disc release.
Bonus Materials are ALL presented in High Definition video using VC-1 codec and Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps surround unless otherwise noted in the description. These are the exact bonus materials that appeared on the DVD release, just presented in HD.
- “15 Minutes – Pics, Research, Etc. for the Making Of There Will Be Blood” (15 minutes obviously) is by no means a “making of” featurette. It’s instead a presentation of images that were used in research for the film by Paul Thomas Anderson who I will admit should have done sort of commentary here at least. Personally, I found this very informative and worth the watch but I don’t think the average viewers will end up enjoying this.
- Teaser Trailer (1 minute)
- Theatrical Trailer (2 minutes)
- “Fishing” (6 minutes) is basically an outtake or deleted scene from the film that focuses on some technical aspects of the oil drilling process, hence the title “fishing” which they explain in this. This will prove worth watching to fans of the film and maybe even the average viewer. Not only is it an extension on the film but also informative.
- “Haircut / Interrupted Hymn” (3 minutes) is a set of outtakes (and/or deleted scenes) from the film that first shows us “Daniel” getting a haircut from “H.W.” and then cuts to a different approach at the scene where the two are on the train car.
- “Dailies Gone Wild” (3 minutes) is the only featurette that includes Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound and is not to be confused with a traditional “gag reel” despite it’s title. This is basically Daniel Day-Lewis improvising the scene that is found in the film in a much different style of dialogue and camera angle(s). This is a tad bit funny (to real fans of the actor and/or film) but probably something the average viewers won’t find worth watching.
- “The Story of Petroleum” (26 minutes) is first off in Black & White, a silent film and features a new Score by Jonny Greenwood. This was originally created back in the 1923 by the U.S. Bureau of Mines in collaboration with Sinclair Oil Company as a promotional film about the U.S. oil industry. As much as I hate to repeat myself and say this, the average viewer will mostly likely be bored out of their mind here by this silent B/W 1920′s promo film but I personally found it to be very interesting, informative and totally worth watching.
Overall the bonus materials we get here are impressive to true fans of the film and/or Paul Thomas Anderson but they do lack something, an audio commentary track with the Director and Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis). I understand that some Director’s are totally against doing commentary tracks and traditional “making of” featurettes and usually that comes with a good reason but this release really would have had a more solid set of bonus materials if something of at least that nature were included. The average viewer isn’t going to really enjoy these bonus materials as I stated (over and over, I know) but that’s what separates the “average viewer” from the “true fans.” I will say on a positive note that I’m rather impressed Paramount decided to include all the original DVD’s bonus materials in High Definition. That itself is pretty impressive, even if you dislike the bonus materials.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.