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Three Thousand Years Of Longing (Blu-ray Review)

Before George Miller returns to the wastelands of the Mad Max realm for the upcoming Furiosa, he’s dropped upon us his first original live action non-sequel, non-franchise film since 1992’s Lorenzo’s Oil. Three Thousand Years of Longing was one of the many original films released in the end of summer in August that looked like something to stand out from the pack. But alas, and like clockwork, people didn’t really bolt out to see it. While its been available on digital for a couple months, its now coming to disc on 4K and standard Blu-rays. Unfortunately, zilch has been included for bonus features. This particular review will be covering the standard Blu-ray edition. You can order a copy of the older format by using the paid Amazon Associates link at the bottom of the page.

Film

Dr Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is an academic…a creature of reason. While in Istanbul, she happens to encounter a Djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. At first, she doubts that he is real and she knows all the cautionary tales of wishes gone wrong. But the Djinn pleads his case, and eventually she is beguiled and makes a wish that surprises them both!

Three Thousand Years of Longing is the kind of wondrous, original adult entertainment people clamor for on the internet and then don’t go and see it. George Miller’s film is envisioned for the biggest screen and even has a sort of IP swag (genie in a bottle) to tag on to it. But alas, this beautiful tale of romance, guidance and reflections through thousands of years will have to go on to a possible cult status.

It feels strange to make a compliment the way I’m about to about the cinematography and strongly praise the film for it, but here we go. George Miller actually knows how to properly utilize the 2.39:1 frame and actually take advantage of it at the same time. His film doesn’t cost as much as tentpoles and the scale of the feature doesn’t demand as much, but damn if it isn’t huge to take in. He’s a montage of playful, artful and effective all at the same time. Three Thousand Years of Longing is the kind of film real visionaries deliver.

Our story at hand has a nice anthology nature to it. Many stories of the Djinn’s history with a wrap around of his conversation on the analytics of the stories and the concepts/truths behind the wish granting. Its all adventurous, alluring and thoughtful. Miller’s film is a wonderful deconstruction of those mythos, while also adding onto the details, providing weight and giving some substantial depth to the being of legend. Its also in the service of Swinton’s character to as its a nice mirror up to her and both a challenge and a growth of her own to take a hard look at this age old concept of wish granting.

George Miller has put together a fantasy character drama all unto itself here in Three Thousand Years of Longing. Its such a shame his live action output is pretty sparse following Babe: Pig In The City that came out in 1998. He certainly has one of the most unique visual flares with good character work and a beautiful weirdness to boot. With his latest outing, he’s presented one of the year’s very best films and one that hopefully is returned to with frequency by those who find it.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Three Thousand Years of Longing provides a very colorful, vivid and sharp image in its debut on the Blu-ray format. Its a gorgeous feast for your eyes to really behind. Plenty of texture, patterns and finer details are quite clean and discernible through and through. This takes the format to the limits in showing off the best it can realistically pull off.

Depth:  Depth of field is pretty strong, with good pushback and some nice three dimensional zest coming from the cinematography. Movements are smooth and natural with no issues stemming from blur or jitter caused by rapid action, edits or camera swooping.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and rich with really good shading and darkness that handsomely help define the image and give its some great contrast to really let the colors pop. Darker corners still carry finer details, patterns and textures. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors really burst out with reads being a rather stronger and more rampantly used one. But even natural greens, whites, browns and the like have a fantastical and pretty look to them. Many of the palaces seen in the movie showcase a lot of upholstery and fabrics with good, well saturated and bursting color.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures showcase really miniscule details like sweat beads, moles, wrinkles, scars, make-up brush strokes and more.

Noise/Artifacts: None

Audio

Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Luckily, even though this is a standard Blu-ray, they’ve done the responsible thing and included the Dolby Atmos track with it (Doesn’t always happen). This mix is a whirlwind of blending quiet hotel room moments with big, grand Arabian kingdom parties and battles. And the score from the film really radiates in a beautiful way around the room. Its a balanced mix with loads of depth, accuracy and playfulness to fill out the viewing space.

Height: From above there are plenty of swooshes around the room and magic floating dust as well as some contributions to the score and music.

Low Frequency Extension: This has some really good, accurate and harnessed power to the subwoofer. Magical bursts, crashes, horses clip clopping along with the strings, horns, bass and drum in the score really have a good bump and hum to them.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This one really reads the room and disperses accordingly. There is plenty of power in the rolling sound. Nuances come from any given place, be it rear, sides or front. Its a nice accurately realized experience that isn’t afraid to add some playful touches.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Three Thousand Years Of Longing comes with the DVD edition and a redeemable digital code. There are no featurettes, trailers, commentaries, photo galleries, deleted scenes or anything on this disc – NOTHING. No bonus features. Perhaps its waiting on a user to wish for them?

Summary

Three Thousand Years of Longing is a terrific, original and TRULY visionary film (Sorry, Russos). So of course audiences were allergic to it at the theater. Nonetheless its available for actual ownership now. Unfortunately, there are ZERO bonus features to come with it, so its gotta come down to the strength of the film alone which I think warrants it. There is however a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray available for this, too, and if you have the capabilities, that should be the version you spend your dollars on.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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