The Mission (Umbrella Ent) (1986) (NTSC)
Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Director - Roland Joffe
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Omnibus - BBC Documentary
Theatrical Trailer-The Mission
Teaser Trailer-Umbrella Trailers
|Year Of Production||1986|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Roland Joffé|
Robert De Niro
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Unknown||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, watch the entire final credits.|
In 1986, Roland Joffé's, The Mission made an impression with critics and audiences alike. The film picked up the coveted Palme D'or at Cannes that year and Chris Menges' amazing cinematography won the Academy Award in that category. But despite winning many international awards and an even greater number of nominations, The Mission remains today, a low profile film.
The story and screenplay by the late, Robert Bolt (A Man for All Seasons, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago, Ryan's Daughter) takes the viewer on a journey of immense beauty and trepidation. The film is based on true events and was shot under very difficult conditions on location in the jungles of Columbia.
Instead of using actors, the filmmakers decided to use actual Waunana tribe's people. This obviously brought further complications to the production with barriers of culture and language. But this also delivered a level of authenticity that would have been impossible to replicate otherwise.
The story behind The Mission is every bit as fascinating as the film itself. An excellent BBC documentary is included on the second disc of this DVD presentation and details the complex behind-the-scenes aspects of the film.
The Mission is set in the 18th century and unfolds in the uncharted jungles of South America. The ancient Guarani Indian tribes who inhabit this jungle have never had contact with "civilised" man and are naturally wary and cautious. Imperialist traders see an opportunity to plunder the jungle and its people. But on the other side, Jesuit Missionaries see their duty as delivering the word of God to these indigenous people.
Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert De Niro) is a shrewd and evil trader who has great plans of wealth from exploiting these Indians. However a cruel and irrational act leaves him a broken man, in search of redemption. With the support of the missionaries, Mendoza sets himself a monumental task of faith. To relieve the burden of his terrible sin, he must drag his weapons and armour the entire journey to the mission. He will then live his remaining days as a man of God.
Mendoza and Gabriel (Jeremy Irons ) develop the San Carlo Mission deep in the jungle. For a time, the Indian tribes are protected from evil intentions, but soon a treaty is signed between Portugal and Spain. The church hierarchy is commissioned to decide the fate of the Guarani community. After consideration, the hierarchy issues the order to abandon the mission.
Although they have a common goal, Mendoza and Gabriel are at odds regarding their method of defending the mission. Mendoza prepares for an armed, psychical battle, while Gabriel insists on passive resistance.
The Mission opens with a majestic shot of a sacrificed Jesuit Priest, strapped to a wooden crucifix. The crucifix floats calmly down the river until it accelerates over a massive waterfall, taking the priest to his death. From the moment of this unforgettable scene, not a single frame of film is wasted on the mundane. Another important and worthy asset of this film is the beautiful score by veteran composer, Ennio Morricone.
The Mission is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which is 16x9 enhanced. It must also be noted that this is a NTSC transfer. With this in mind, it appears highly likely that we have the same DVD presentation as the R1 Special Edition (see below R4 Vs R1).
Umbrella has done the film great justice by delivering an excellent transfer. The image has a constant and high degree of sharpness. Blacks were clean and free from any noise issues. Shadows held an impressive degree of detail.
The colour palette used in this film is lush and vibrant, with the greens of the jungle being a clear standout. The colours on the DVD appear completely natural and beautifully balanced.
There were no MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts weren't an issue and film artefacts were almost non-existent.
English subtitles are available on the DVD. They are easily legible in bold white and were mostly accurate.
This is a DVD 9 disc. The layer change occurs at 74:47 and is perfectly placed.
There are two audio tracks on the disc, English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).
There were no problems with dialogue quality and audio sync appeared to be mostly accurate.
The original music for The Mission was scored by the renowned Italian composer, Ennio Morricone. With many superb film scores to his credit, his music for The Mission is inspirational and moving. This score has become a favourite for many people over the years.
The newly remastered Dolby 5.1 track is a very sensible mix and uses the surround channels in a subtle, yet very effective manner. The main scenes to benefit from the surround usage were the river and waterfall scenes. Naturally, the subwoofer offered great support during these scenes also, enforcing the roar and rumble of the bass elements.
|Surround Channel Use|
On disc one, the main menu is static, 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of Ennio Morricone's score from the film. There is no menu on the second disc - the featurette plays automatically at the conclusion of the Umbrella logo.
Roland Joffe is articulate and philosophical in his commentary. He avoids the common trap of simply describing the scenes and gives an informative and intelligent discussion about the production. He talks openly about most aspects of the film. In particular, he highlights his experiences with the people of the Waunana tribes, who performed so perfectly in the film. Recommended.
This fascinating documentary was filmed during the production of The Mission. It is mainly focused on the casting of the Waunana Indians in the film and their journey from their tribes to the jungle set located some 1000kms away. There are interviews with various crew members and also advocates of the Indians. The image quality is a little poor, but this is really fascinating viewing and is well worth the inclusion in this DVD presentation. This documentary is also a NTSC transfer and is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As previously mentioned, this Umbrella two-disc set seems to be on par with the R1, two-disc Special Edition - released by Warner Home Video in May 2003.The R1 set also includes cast & crew filmography, with the addition of French and Spanish subtitles. The R1 edition obviously doesn't feature the Umbrella trailers.
Unless the French and Spanish subtitles are important, there seems little reason to track down the R1 edition.
Roland Joffé's, The Mission is a beautiful and inspirational film. It is a recommended and worthy of inclusion in the DVD collection of any serious film enthusiast.
The video and audio transfers are both excellent.
Although there isn't an abundance of extras, the inclusion of the BBC documentary and Roland Joffé's commentary makes for an excellent DVD presentation.
|DVD||Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu Ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||Hitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||Panasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS|
|Speakers||Fronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17|