There Will Be Blood

by DeAnn Welker April 16, 2008 3:44 pm
There Will Be Blood

How you feel about There Will Be Blood is probably as complicated as the movie itself. You might be sucked in by the ambitious, elegant filmmaking of Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis's phenomenal acting. Or you might find yourself bored -- or possibly even driven mad -- by first the lack of dialogue, then the frequently overlapping dialogue, and always the sloooooow pacing of the thing. You'll find yourself alternately puzzled, amused and entranced by the film's score, which is part classical, part tribal, and almost nothing you'd expect.

But it's smart and weird in all of the right ways. Not that that justifies two DVD editions, but it seems more and more DVDs are being released this way these days. You can get the bare-bones single-disc set, which consists of absolutely nothing but the film in a standard DVD case. Or you can splurge (it's around $5 more) on the two-disc collector's edition, with the feature on one disc and a handful of extras on another. There was no reason for this to be broken up into two discs, but who's going to quibble with an edition that comes in this slim, sleek cardboard case? It's the perfect packaging for a P.T. Anderson period piece (if there is such a thing), and it even includes a page from what looks like an original edition of Upton Sinclair's Oil, on which the movie was based.

The two discs have the same menu background: just a picture of the back of Day-Lewis's Plainview in front of the oil rig -- nothing noisy, obnoxious, or animated. You can actually load this DVD and do something else for five minutes without wanting to throw things at your TV. Trust me: What some might deem as a lack of creativity is actually a blessing.

It's a paltry smattering of extras, but what's here is worth the extra money.

You've got your traditional teaser and trailer -- standard extras, as this point. They're finely made, but nothing you'll watch again once you've seen the movie.

"15 Minutes," which is around 15 minutes of course, is a collection of the photos and video that went into researching for the making of this film. This feature actually will serve to enhance your love for the film, because you'll realize how much attention was paid to the details here -- from the clothing and sets to the oil rigs.

There are a few deleted/alternate scenes that are interesting, but don't really add anything to the film. They were better off not in the movie, considering it was already more than 2 1/2 hours long. Seeing them here is plenty.

The longest extra is the short film (around 25 minutes long), "The Story of Petroleum," a 1923 silent film about the oil business in that era. It has a cool score just like the main feature and it's a pretty illuminating look at the 1920s oil industry in this country. Like "15 Minutes," it helps to highlight how true Anderson & Co. tried to be to the original era of this film.

So, now that we've covered the extras, let's ponder the bonus feature that is sorely missing from this set, shall we? A collection of Day-Lewis's acceptance speeches from all of the awards he won for this role. It's an excellent performance, sure, but that's not why we want to see those speeches again. It's those quirky Day-Lewis-isms, that sincerity and eccentricity, and that real humility that is never expected from someone with such a native talent. Well, I'm here to give you that missing extra (you can thank me later). Someone put this compilation of his first several speeches together (which, really, why couldn't the DVD makers have done that for us instead?). If you stop watching before the end you'll miss Day-Lewis honoring French actress Marion Cottillard "for sheer balls alone."

Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to find an Oscar speech online, but you can watch him on the official Oscar thank-you cam, thanking the people he forgot to thank on stage.

With that one additional extra, then, the DVD would have been complete.




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