Tideland (2005)

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Released 6-Feb-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy Menu Audio
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Getting Gilliam - Directed by Vincenzo Natali. (42:56)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-(21:30) (4x3)
Theatrical Trailer-(2:04) (16x9)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 115:33 (Case: 122)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Terry Gilliam
Recorded Picture Co.
Magna Home Entertainment
Starring Jodelle Ferland
Janet McTeer
Brendan Fletcher
Jennifer Tilly
Jeff Bridges
Dylan Taylor
Wendy Anderson
Sally Crooks
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Jeff Danna
Mychael Danna

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

After the troubled production of The Brothers Grimm back in 2004, Terry Gilliam poured all of his frustrations and sorrows into Tideland, a small independent film adapted from the cult novel of the same name by author Mitch Cullin. ††

Tideland is the tale of Jeliza-Rose, a preteen girl who has always merged fantasy with reality in an attempt to escape the darkness of her traumatic upbringing. Jeliza-Roseís mother and father, Queen Gunhilda and Noah, are heroin addicts and often leave young Jeliza-Rose in an isolated reality. Jeliza-Roseís only friends are the decapitated heads of her dolls, named Mystique, Sateen Lips, Baby Blonde and Glitter Gal. Each of these imagined characters, which sit on her fingers, are a facet of Jeliza-Roseís complex personality - after all, Jeliza-Rose has lived so many lives in her short lifetime.

Jeliza-Roseís next life sees her whisked away from her desolate home after her mother suddenly passes away. Jeliza-Rose does not shed a tear at the sight of her deceased mother who has died of a drug overdose; she seems detached and her mind immediately races towards selfish thoughts. This is all Jeliza-Rose can do, this is all she knows, to turn away from her saddened reality and enter her world which is limitless, fantastic and free from pain and suffering.

The squirrels made it seem less lonely

In an attempt to restart their lives, Jeliza-Roseís father Noah takes his daughter away from the cramped, dusty and darkened home she has lived most of her life in to a remote Texas farmhouse. Noah is a well meaning father but is completely out of touch with reality, he wanders through life much to the amusement of his daughter.

In this tilted, rundown farmhouse surrounded by endless fields and morning sun, Jeliza-Rose and her father may have a chance at an optimistic future, but Jeliza-Rose is soon to face another traumatic event which will push her deeper into the recesses of her mind.

This tale of damaged innocence is bravely brought to the screen by Terry Gilliam. The first time I viewed Tideland, I was speechless. It took a few days for the film to settle in my mind, for me to understand what I had seen. For Terry Gilliam this is the exact response he wanted from his audience, he wanted the audience to be affected by this tale of a young girl, alone.

Tideland is an experience unlike any other; it is a claustrophobic, macabre film which asks a lot from its audience. But pay attention, forget your own ideals and morals and follow Jeliza-Rose down the rabbit hole and hopefully you will be rewarded.

For some audiences, Tideland may be considered blasphemous, particularly considering how some of the controversial themes are visualised, and I know for some life is too short to watch a Terry Gilliam film but I personally admire this work. For me, any Terry Gilliam film which sees the light of day is a small miracle, but in respect to Tideland, a film which Gilliam is fiercely proud of, it is the product of a mad genius. †††

Random video: Terry Gilliam resorted to drastic measures to promote Tideland and receive future fundingÖ click here

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Transfer Quality


Tideland is presented in the cropped aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

The theatrical aspect ratio of Tideland is 2.35:1 widescreen

Terry Gilliamís preferred DVD aspect ratio of Tideland is 2.10:1 widescreen. To read more about the aspect ratio of Tideland please read Dreams: Tideland, A Terry Gilliam film, Cropped.

The otherwise pleasing transfer has been encoded at a high average bit-rate of 8.44 Mbps over a dual layer DVD.

The picture quality is quite good with rich natural colours and realistic skin tones.

The black levels are also well rendered.

Sharpness is also very good, the textured walls, layers of cloth and debris which feature in most of the set pieces stand out. The equally impressive in-camera special effects, combined with the CGI green screen effects are seamless.

Most of the film was filmed in the morning light and the exterior shots are presented quite well, sunlit with clear depth of field.

Terry Gilliamís constantly gliding camera is smooth and focused creating dreamlike hallucinogenic imagery.

There are no incidents of MPEG compression but mild film grain is visible on occasion.

There are no subtitles available on this DVD.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


There are two audio soundtracks on this DVD an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

There are no obvious errors on both soundtracks.

The dialogue is clear and audible. There were no lip-sync errors.

Dialogue is mostly focused at the front of the soundstage.

The 5.1 soundtrack remains an encompassing experience. Being a tale mostly focused on the fantastic, sound effects and various unrealistic voices are heard in the rear speakers.

The subwoofer is heard on occasion, particularly in the monster shark scene and the final scenes of the film.

The sweeping music score by Jeff Danna and Mychael Danna is the emotional core of the film and it is in tune with the constantly confused emotions of the theatrical Jeliza-Rose. It is orchestral and light in the early scenes between father and daughter, the score then descends into the mysterious once Dickens and Dell are introduced into the film. As Jeliza-Rose develops a relationship with Dickens the score replicates her puzzled feelings and her manipulative actions. Then finally as the film comes to a crashing halt, there is a hint of optimism, danger and sadness reflected through the score, which contrasts well with the final ambiguous image we are left with of Jeliza-Rose.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Menu Audio

A still image of a desolate landscape, accompanied with a fragment of the score and atmospheric sound. It is a practical menu design. There are 16 scene selections, set-up options and access to the extra feature content.

Getting Gilliam

This documentary is directed by Vincenzo Natali who recently contributed to Paris, je t'aime and directed the sci-fi thriller Cypher in 2002. Natali has been a fan of Terry Gilliamís since he was a child and in this documentary he follows Gilliamís every move on the set of Tideland. Gilliam is a willing participant of the documentary, he never disguises his frustrations or mood swings. However unlike the production of The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, as documented in Lost in La Mancha (2002), the Canadian production of Tideland was remarkably swift; it was, after all, completed on time and on budget. However problems still arrived, problems which were often out of Gilliamís hands Ė unpredictable weather forced shooting to be delayed, the lead actress was bitten by an insect and left with a swollen lip, the film lab accidentally destroyed a weeks worth of filmingÖ

Getting Gilliam is a great addition to the DVD; I particularly enjoyed a small moment between Gilliam and Jodelle Ferland, in which Gilliam tries to explain what derivative means to young Jodelle Ferland who is writing a book report. Gilliam initially struggles with his explanation but soon he is ranting about how Roland Emmerich is derivative of Steven Spielberg, leaving wide eyed Jodelle Ferland a little confused.(1.33:1)

Interviews-Cast & Crew

There is no audio commentary so these Q and A interviews are a welcome addition to the DVD, featuring interviews with Terry Gilliam, Mitch Cullin, Tony Grisoni, Jeff Bridges, Jodelle Ferland, Jennifer Tilly, Janet McTeer and Brendan Fletcher. Various topics are discussed Ė the themes of the film, casting, the book to screen adaptation, the characters and alternative realities. The interviews cannot be accessed individually from the menu but you can skip between each participant while viewing the featurette if desired. (1.33:1)

Theatrical Trailer

R4 vs R1

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

There have been a number of standard DVD and high definition releases of Tideland worldwide but in respect to extras and Terry Gilliamís approved aspect ratio the Region 2 (UK) release is the clear winner on DVD.

The PAL Revolver 2 Disc UK (R2) release includes the feature film in 2.10:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen, with an optional video introduction (which can also be viewed here).

The extras on this 2 Disc release include:

Tideland was also released on HD DVD in Germany.

In regards to the 1.78:1 aspect ratio on the R1 ThinkFilm release here is Terry Gilliamís response (originally sent to Dreams-The Terry Gilliam fanzine):

"The US/Canada DVDs are 16:9, also known as 1.78:1. They were supposed to be cropped to match the UK version which, for reasons I won't go into at the moment, is 2.10:1 but, for reasons known only to ThinkFilm the instructions from the UK were ignored. From what they have written they seem to have a lack of understanding of how a 2.35:1 is created from a 16:9 at the digital stage or even from the original filmed material.
When I shoot I leave an open gate in the camera to capture as much image as possible above and below the intended final framing which, in the case of Tideland, was 2.35:1. It's useful because I can adjust shots later. Sometimes, due to the speed of shooting, the frame is not as good as it should be. Having extra image top and bottom, I can raise or lower it bringing it into the 2.35:1 area. When we reach the release print stage I put a hard mask on the film to exclude everything outside the desired proportion. Same goes for the digital stage. It's a very simple, straightforward procedure. Usually. Unfortunately things have gone a*** over tit this time. Some of the keener eyes have spotted the fact that the sides have been cropped on all the DVDs. They have been sharper than I have been, And they are right. And we are in the thick of sorting it out."

For an image comparison between the two aspect ratios view this article.


Is Tideland a good film? Only you can be the judge of that. But for me, I think this is one of Gilliamís best. I appreciate the rawness and originality of what is a mature film for Gilliam. Tideland is probably best recommended to those who enjoyed
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998): both films act as companion pieces. However, I am well aware that Tideland is a film which continues to polarise audiences, but this is a deliberately confronting film and as it was Gilliamís intention to offend and confront the audience, he certainly achieved his goal. And like most of Gilliamís films, his cinema often needs time to be appreciated, to be understood, and without a doubt Tideland will probably become a cult classic in the near future.

The local release is sub-par in comparison to the R2 director approved release, but I hope Criterion picks up this title in the not too distant future.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOPPO DV-980H, using HDMI 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)
Oh gee, "thanks", Magna Pacific. [ratios etc] - REPLY POSTED
More on R1 Tideland - John N REPLY POSTED