The New World (2005)

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Released 10-Aug-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 129:55 (Case: 135)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Terrence Malick
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Colin Farrell
Christopher Plummer
Christian Bale
August Schellenberg
Wes Studi
David Thewlis
Yorick van Wageningen
Q'Orianka Kilcher
Ben Mendelsohn
Raoul Trujillo
Brian F. O'Byrne
Irene Bedard
John Savage
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music James Horner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

"All the children of the king were beautiful, but she, the youngest, was so exceedingly so that the sun himself - though he saw her often - was surprised whenever she came out into his presence. Her father had a dozen wives, a hundred children, but she was his favorite. She exceeded the rest not only in feature and proportion but in wit and spirit too. All loved her."

According to David A. Price, author of Love and Hate in Jamestown, Pocahontas (c. 1595 - March 21, 1617) was the daughter of the chief of the Powhatan Confederacy who ruled an area encompassing almost all of the neighbouring tribes in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Pocahontas also married English settler and tobacco farmer John Rolfe, and became a celebrity in London towards the end of her life as she was regarded as a Princess within the European world. Other than the above not much is known about Pocahontas, as her story is based on many legends which have been exchanged over many generations. As she was never taught to write, her own opinions, emotions and motives remain unknown. Terrence Malick is an Assyrian-American film director, screenwriter, and producer who has now directed his fourth feature length film with his own interpretation of the Pocahontas legend in The New World (2005).

This Academy Award nominated film blends recorded history and popular lore as it is centred on Pocahontas as a youth in her Powhatan village to a period spent with the English settlers in Jamestown, her marriage to Rolfe and birth of their son Thomas Rolfe, her journey to London and her early death from pneumonia. Malick also focuses on Pocahontas' relationship with Captain John Smith, a man she saved from what Smith interpreted as death. Experts believe the actual nature of their relationship was a friendship of some form as Pocahontas was 10 or 12 at the time. As it stands there is no suggestion that Smith and Pocahontas were lovers in official historical records. However, popular lore often romanticises this relationship and Malick uses the relationship as a union which begins the battle for a new nation.

"If only I could go down that river. To love her in the wild, forget the name of Smith. I should tell her. Tell her what? It was just a dream. I am now awake."

Despite the historical inaccuracy Malick has crafted a masterpiece. The New World is an experience, a meditation, an ethereal dream, a memory of the past. Shot on location at the Chickahominy River, a tributary of the James River not far from the site of the real events, Malick and the cast and crew have painstakingly resurrected the past by reconstructing the Jamestown settlement and the Powhatan village based on archaeological evidence. The extinct language of Virginian Algonquian was also reborn. The New World is a film which leaves the audience breathless - there is a subtlety and honesty in the production. Malick focuses on the relationship of man against nature and a romantic relationship between John Smith and Pocahontas with such intensity that their union will forever change them and the peaceful world they knew. Colin Farrell is phenomenal as John Smith; the role is not just incredibly physical but calls for the actor to be a silent actor as he and Pocahontas are unable to communicate through language, only through emotion and integrity. Equally, newcomer Q'Orianka Kilcher has a great onscreen presence alongside the more experienced actors who surround her. It is an astonishing performance which calls for her to embody not only a curious youth but also a young woman, wife and a mother. Supporting the two leads are a major cast of international actors including Christian Bale, August Schellenberg, Wes Studi, Christopher Plummer, John Savage, David Thewlis, Yorick van Wageningen, Ben Mendelsohn and Noah Taylor.

I highly recommended The New World. It is a poetic and graceful epic film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Preserving the theatrical exhibition of the film, the transfer is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and is 16x9 enhanced. The beautiful cinematography has certainly been treated justly in this PAL transfer. Before the shoot started Terrence Malick and Emmanuel Lubezki devised a series of photographic rules that were to be used in film. They were:

Subsequently, the film is incredibly naturalistic with vibrant colour and depth of shadow. This is a marvelous transfer free of film grain which is commendable as it was shot on 35mm film, while some non visual effect shots were filmed on 65mm film. There are two negative issues regarding the transfer. Firstly, there is one incident of mild aliasing (116:13), and secondly, when Virginian Algonquian is spoken, unfortunately player generated subtitles are produced as demonstrated below.

I would like to clarify that the subtitles on the R4 DVD for the Virginian Algonquian dialogue appear on a forced subtitle stream and surprisingly cannot be turned off. These subtitles appear automatically with the feature film.

Overall for a film which runs for over two hours, the transfer is free of MPEG compression artefacting - hopefully this film will receive HD-DVD/Blu-Ray treatment in the near future as this is a film which needs to be exhibited in the best possible way. Optional English subtitles and English subtitles for the hearing impaired can also be accessed. These subtitles are true to the onscreen dialogue and action.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The soundtrack for this film is incredible despite the problems which occurred as a result of Malick's heavy editing process. James Horner's score was partially rejected and Malick emplaced the prelude to Wagner's Rheingold and Mozart's piano concerto nr. 23 in various scenes. These combined three soundtracks are at the heart of The New World and on the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack this proves to be an encompassing experience. Subwoofer usage is mild and not obtrusive as the film is an exercise in languid sensations of a dream-like quality. This highly emotional and powerful soundtrack is reproduced flawlessly.

A DTS soundtrack would have been a nice option but the quality of the film transfer would most certainly have been reduced, and thus the 5.1 Dolby Digital option is more then adequate. A 2.0 Dolby Digital soundtrack is also an option.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

The menu design is still and based on the images in the opening credits. It is a menu which suits the thematic concerns of the film and is accompanied by segments of the score. This menu design proves less is more.

Featurette-Making Of

Making of The New World is a feature length documentary which can be viewed in 10 segments or as a whole feature. The feature documents pre-production which included obtaining approval from various experts on archaeology for the set design, experts in Native American History approving the way the set was constructed and leaders from Native American tribes approving the script and Malick's intentions. Also documented is the production itself with contributions from director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Sleepy Hollow), production designer Jack Fisk (Mulholland Drive, The Thin Red Line) and costume designer Jacqueline West (Quills, Rising Sun). Also, Farrell speaks about the production and his interest in the thematic concerns while Christian Bale recounts Malick's unconventional filming techniques with admiration and humour. Christopher Plummer also appears briefly. As Malick does not appear in the documentary, the 2nd unit is followed and we see how the crew copes in the locations and changing weather, as filming always continued whether sun, rain or hurricane. It is an amazing feat for the crew and cast as they essentially created a time capsule and Malick viewed this world without restrictions. Moments of randomness have created this film and despite the documentary-like unpredictability, the cast and crew worked meticulously, somewhat dissolving the line between myth and reality as the actors bonded akin to a tribe and the crew followed their subjects relentlessly. This is an excellent addition to this DVD as the behind the scene detail is just as astonishing as the feature film itself. (59:10)

Teaser Trailer

Theatrical Trailer

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The R1 New Line version excludes the following in contrast to the R4:

The R4 version excludes the following in contrast to the R1:

The R3 Hong Kong (Panorama Distributions) version includes an English DTS 5.1 (754kbps) soundtrack, but the impressive Making Of feature is absent from the release.

Please note that on the R1 and R3 releases, the subtitles for the Virginian Algonquian dialogue would be burnt into the NTSC transfer as opposed to R4's player-generated subtitles.

Note also that a 150 minute version of the film had a one week limited release from Dec 25, 2005, primarily for the purposes of 2006 Oscar consideration. For the film's wide release in January 2006, Malick re-edited the film to 135 minutes in length. Known as the "Re-edited Theatrical" cut (135:22 NTSC / 129.55 PAL), this is the version of the film which appears on all DVDs. Malick has also suggested his preferred version of the film to be the "Re-edited Theatrical" cut. There are no plans to release the original 150 minute cut of the film on DVD. For information regarding the two versions of the film please see here. Please note the linked site contains spoilers.

Update: An Italian R2 (PAL) Special Edition of The New World (2 Disc Set) is now available. An Italian Review of this DVD can be found here. The two versions of the film are available on separate discs (Short Version 129 - Long Version 144). There are two 5.1 Dolby Digital audio options (Dubbed Italian soundtrack and an English soundtrack). The film appears in the original aspect ratio (2:35) and the transfer is 16x9 enhanced. Reader Christopher Robert Girvan notes the subtitles for the the Algonquian dialogue appear in Italian and cannot be removed.

Finally, in regards to the artwork I prefer the R4 cover art as it is based on a unique image which was prominent in the European promotional advertisements, however it is marred by the local ratings advice. The image plays on the epic thematic concerns and the clashing of two cultures. The R1 cover art similarly shares these themes but it is more focused on the romantic theme of the film. Ultimately both designs demonstrate the difficult task of placing this film in a genre and selling the film to a specific market.

UPDATE:(27 June 2008): The 172 minute extended cut will be released in R1 (Warner Home Video) on the 14th October 2008.

It will be presented in 2.35:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen, with English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 soundtrack options.

The making-of documentary which appeared on the theatrical-cut DVD, will be the only extra feature.

A digital copy of the film will also be available on the DVD.

Summary

A beautiful, hand crafted film which is well presented despite minor issues.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Friday, August 25, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
A refreshing DVD review Vanessa! - REPLY POSTED
great review again - REPLY POSTED
Beautiful film but...... - Johnny Wadd (i am bionic) REPLY POSTED
Malick's masterpiece - wolfgirv REPLY POSTED
R1 easter egg -Deleted scene. - wolfgirv REPLY POSTED
150 minute Academy version. - wolfgirv REPLY POSTED
Extended Cut -
Thin Red Line - wolfgirv REPLY POSTED