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January 30, 2010
The New World - The Extended Cut
Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
27/4/200615/10/2009Village RoadshowTerrence Malick
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1Dolby TrueHD 5.1MColin Farrell

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The native indians look wonderful.

Did you know Pocahontas was real? I always thought she was a fictional Disney character from the animated movie, but she is real and this movie focuses on her life, as well as Captain Smith played by Colin Farrell. The director, Terrence Malick had previously worked on the critically acclaimed The Thin Red Line. Seven years later he turned his hand to early American settlement and history with The New World which is now out on Blu-Ray.

The New World is set in the 1600's and depicts the historical battle between the Indians and the English settlers who were led to this new land by adventurer John Smith.

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Ships were built for filming The New World.
Zzzzz... Zzzzz... Zzzzz... Oh I can wake up now? Phew. I honestly don't think I have a longer, slower 172 minutes in my life. I don't mind long movies but this is long and so slow that it really turns you off any potential which the movie had. Apparently the theatrical version ran for a much slimmer 135 minutes, but from all reports was still a chore and sadly this Blu-Ray release doesn't offer both versions via seamless branching, but only the Extended Director's Cut.

Before this movie hit cinemas I recall seeing some trailers which looked pretty solid, and fairly action packed. Unfortunately this movie is extremely slow, long winded and quite the opposite of what you expect. Even the Blu-Ray cover depicts Colin Farrell battling a native, but this, in reality only occurs for a very limited amount of time in the film, probably only 15 minutes of the entire runtime. Christopher Plummer gets second billing in the movie, but is hardly seen and Christian Bale doesn't even make an appearance until the final act.

So who carries this film? Well it's pretty much a starring vehicle for Colin Farrell and admittedly he does a fairly decent job of carrying the picture while Q'orianka Kilcher is not only quite gorgeous, but actually fills the role of Pocahontas quite admirably. Can I recommend this movie? I would have to say no as it's just too slow. Still, some may enjoy this pacing more then we did.

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Q'orianka Kilche is impressive in The New World.
The New World is presented on Blu-Ray in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and has been encoded using the VC-1 codec. For a movie that runs for just under 3 hours, and with some extras on the disc I was quite impressed with the transfer, in fact some scenes were simply gorgeous. Running at Blu-Ray's typical 1080p resolution we later discovered that some scenes in the film were shot using a 65mm film process which offers some remarkably sharp images. Some of the scenes in this movie wouldn't be out of place in a big budget nature documetary. Spectacular.

Also adding to the impressive look of the film is the fact that only some interior scenes were shot with artificial light. All the outdoor scenes were shot in natural light which adds to the goergeous look of the film.

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Colin Farrell puts in a solid performance.
Having said that there were some issues with this disc too. At 33:02 there is some quite obvious red colour blocking in the darker areas while at 44:28 we noticed some wierd facial distortions which surely couldn't have passed unnoticed - perhaps they were intentional, but we're not sure how that fits in with the storyline.

AUdio on this Blu-Ray is provided via an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track (16-bit/48Khz) and it really is an impressive effort. At times I found the dialogue a little muffled, but generally it was clear with the Indian language subtitled where required. The music, composed by James Horner, really is quite gorgeous in places and is a treat on the ears while the effects make use of the surround sound channels on occasion.

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Visually The New World impresses.
There is no other audio track on this disc and only one susbtitle track for English Captions.

The New World comes to Blu-Ray With only a couple of extras at first glance, but the documentary is extensive, and quite impressive overall.

Making The New World (59:08): Split up into 10 parts this is a lengthy look at the making of The New World. There is plenty of on-set footage and interviews with discussions about Terrence Malick's filming styles, constructions of sets, finding the actors including the 8 months search for their Pocahontas, filming and post production. I actually found this documentary infinately more interesting then the feature film.

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Surrounded by the natives...
Theatrical Trailers (3:46): Here we have the Teaser Trailer and Theatrical Trailer. In my mind these aren't overly true to the movie. They sell it as an action movie when it's not really this way at all for the most part.

The New World is a very slow, artistic movie with some fine performances but the length and slow pace make this hard to recommend. The video is at times breathtaking, at other times disappointing, with solid audio. The extras are decent, but we just can't recommend this unless you have seen, and loved this movie.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.