Virginia, 1607. English ships arrive and a colony is set up, but with considerable difficulty. Famine and disease take their toll. Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) heads off to seek help from the Powhatan. He is captured, sentenced to death, but saved by Pocahontas (Q’orianka Kilcher, whose character is never actually given that name). So begins a fateful relationship.
Terence Malick has something of the Stanley Kubrick around him: he only puts out a movie about once a decade, hi… work is very much his own, and his movies are always gorgeous. No exception here. There is also plenty of meditative voice-over, which is either profound or pretentious, depending on your take. I though it worked in The Thin Red Line, but here the musings are too often banal. The pace is, as one might expect, stately, but one’s patience is taxed without sufficient payoff this time around. For all that, the sheer beauty of the film does keep one watching.
All of that beauty extends to the sound design, and this is given a truly wonderful 5.1 mix. Whether one is hearing the gorgeous score, the sounds of birds or insects, the rush of wind, the patter of rain, and so on, the placement is nothing short of spectacular. The sense of an environment here is nothing short of astonishing. Soundtracks don’t get much better than this.
Malick and DP Emmanual Lubezki should be pleased with the transfer. “Sumptuous” is a rather inadequate word here, especially when it comes to the greens of the vegetation. All of the colours are fine, as are the contrasts and blacks. The image is extremely sharp, and there is no grain or edge enhancement. So sit back and feast your eyes. Your mind might not be as engaged as you’d like, but your visual senses will be hugely satisfied.
The 10-part “Making of The New World” documentary adds up to an hour’s worth of material, and is a pretty substantial work, leaps and bounds ahead of the usual making-of fluff. Other than that, though, the only extras are the teaser and the theatrical trailer. The menu is scored.
Worth seeing, even if it is something of a meandering misfire. Very beautiful, but a bit thin on the extras.
Special Features List
- “Making the New World” 10-part Documentary
- Theatrical Trailer and Teaser