Mongol (2007)

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Released 19-Nov-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Biopic Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 120:11
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Sergei Bodrov
Studio
Distributor
Entertainment One Starring Aliya
Tegen Ao
Tadanobu Asano
Ying Bai
Khulan Chuluun
Bao Di
Bayertsetseg Erdenebat
Deng Ba Te Er
You Er
Sai Xing Ga
Ba Yin Qi Qi Ge
Ba De Rong Gui
Sun Ben Hon
Case ?
RPI ? Music Tuomas Kantelinen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None No Audio Data available for this title
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 English (Burned In) Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Some time back I reviewed an interesting if somewhat short documentary about the life of Genghis Khan focussing on his rise to power in Mongolia in the 12th century. You can find my review of that here . This recent Russian/Chinese/German co production follows very much the same story in a fictionalised but still quite faithful way. The air of authenticity is certainly added to by using mostly Mongolians in the cast (with the notable exception of the lead character who is played by a Japanese actor), the Mongolian language for the dialogue and heavily utilising the magnificent Mongolian landscapes.

    The story follows the life of Temudgen (who became Genghis Khan) son of a tribal leader in 12th century Mongolia. The story starts with him heading of on a journey with his father in order to visit a different tribe to seek a wife. He is only 10 years old but must by tradition choose a wife. His father wants him to choose a wife from a tribe they have been warring with to bring their tribes together. Along the way, they visit a tribe with whom his father is more friendly. It is here that the young Temudgen meets Borte who will become his wife and greatest ally in his life. This causes more enmity with the tribe his father was trying to make peace with, resulting in his father being poisoned. When his father dies, his own tribe turns against Temudgen and his mother with one of his father's men, Targutai, usurping the leadership. Temudgen is sent into exile as he is not old enough to be killed under Mongolian tradition. Targutai becomes his sworn enemy and he continues to dog his existence during his youth continuously tracking him down and capturing him. During these years of running he meets Jumukha, another boy of his own age, who rescues him, becomes his greatest friend and eventually his most dangerous enemy. He also reunites with his child bride Borte. Over the subsequent years, his fortunes wax and wane but eventually he becomes the great warlord of legend.

    This film is quite enjoyable to watch without rising to the heights of the best historical epics. The acting is quite good even from the amateurs such as the woman who plays Borte, the cinematography is excellent, the battle scenes are well choreographed (if somewhat bloody) and the film has an excellent atmosphere assisted by the music. The biggest issue with this film is that the plot sometimes moves quite slowly and you are left wishing that it covered the rest of his life, ending as it does at his ascension to power. Strangely, this is exactly where the documentary left off the story too. Some sections of the plot are also left to be somewhat 'mystical' rather than properly explained.

    The director of the film is Russian director, Sergei Bodrov. The crew involves a number of Russians and many Chinese and Mongolians. It won a number of the Russian equivalent to Oscars, the Nikas and was also nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars.

    I would recommend this film to fans of foreign cinema and historical epics.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good but has been cropped from its original 2.35:1 ratio.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is somewhat narrower than its original 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. Whilst watching the film there were certainly scenes which felt somewhat cramped and would have benefited from the original ratio. I will remove one star from the overall rating.

    The picture is very sharp and clear. There is some irregular mild grain throughout and some occasional mild macro-blocking in backgrounds. Shadow detail is very good.

    The colour was excellent showing the epic beauty of the Mongolian landscapes very well.

    The only artefact other than those mentioned above is some very minor aliasing.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which are clear and easy to read in SBS yellow. Some line of dialogue seemed much longer than the subtitles but they generally flowed well, so I don't think much of import was missed.

    There was no layer change during the movie.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448Kb/s and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. This soundtrack was very immersive and featured excellent music and sound design. The music by Thomas Kantelinan had a Chinese classical style mostly.

    Dialogue seemed clear and easy to understand but since it was all in Mongolian this did not help me much.

    The surround speakers were used regularly for music and sound effects adding greatly to the immersive quality of the soundtrack.

    The sub was also well sued for music, battle scenes and storms.

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

Extras

    One quality extra is always better than lots of crappy ones.

Menu

    The menu included motion and music from the film.

Making of Mongol (25:50)

    An honest, open and interesting making of featurette. Most of the major cast and crew are interviewed in various languages and there is an overdub is Russian which is then translated by English burned-in subtitles. Despite this the subjects discussed and interesting including onset tensions, brawls, the actual story of Genghis Khan, casting and a variety of technical topics. Much better than most making of featurettes on Hollywood productions.

   

 

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 edition of this film is in the correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1 but does not include the featurette. It will depend on your personal choice however the correct aspect ratio makes the Region 1 the choice for me. This film is also available on Blu-ray in the US.

Summary

    An impressive historical drama about the life of Genghis Khan.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    One quality extra is included..

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, November 24, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
yet another bad crop - REPLY POSTED
Aspect Ratio - wolfgirv
Mongol, various - penguin (there is no bio)