Neil Middlemiss

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The New World Blu-ray Review



Terrence Malick’s The New World, much like The Thin Red Line before and The Tree of Life after, breathes across the screen as a masterful demonstration of framing, music, and importantly editing. In The New World, Malick’s ode to nature and humanity is rich with stunning natural beauty and the essence of love and tragedy. With three versions of the film, the...
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TonyD

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Going to watch with my wife next week.

She's never seen it Andy i haven't since I saw it at the movies.

MighT have been the most beautifully filmed movie I ever saw.
It brought tears because I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
 
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Bryan^H

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Fantastic review Neil. I watched it last night(first time watching the extended cut) and was very impressed with the video quality. It is a great movie in my opinion, and I had a great time watching it. I am not brave enough to recommend it to anyone however. I loaned out my dvd copy quite a few years ago to a couple friends, both times it was returned it was noted how much they hated the movie.
 
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Lord Dalek

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The guy over at Criterion Forum bashed the transfers for the theatrical and first cut versions of the film for being taken from "older sources" (ie: The original 2Ks). Any comments on that?
 

Reggie W

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This is basically the last Malick film I really loved. I enjoyed Tree of Life but To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, and the forthcoming Weightless all seem to be made up of outtakes of the Sean Penn bits of Tree of Life. Lots of low wobbly cam shots looking up at the characters as they stare meaningfully (or vacantly) off into the distance...or at the sky...or at the floor...and some truly crappy shots following characters from behind or badly framed handheld...and yes, wobbly...close-ups that look like your toddler got hold of the camera.

Basically, I wonder if he will ever get back to making a film like The New World or any of the older films that caused me to love his work again.
 
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PMF

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Fantastic review Neil. I watched it last night(first time watching the extended cut) and was very impressed with the video quality. It is a great movie in my opinion, and I had a great time watching it. I am not brave enough to recommend it to anyone however. I loaned out my dvd copy quite a few years ago to a couple friends, both times it was returned it was noted how much they hated the movie.
Well, I am.
The trick is in knowing what your friends like and don't like.
And I would ever so boldly go with the Extended Cut, as well.
Damn. My new 4K of "The New World" is sitting at The Post Office.
One more delivery day to go.
 

PMF

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This is basically the last Malick film I really loved. I enjoyed Tree of Life but To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, and the forthcoming Weightless all seem to be made up of outtakes of the Sean Penn bits of Tree of Life. Lots of low wobbly cam shots looking up at the characters as they stare meaningfully (or vacantly) off into the distance...or at the sky...or at the floor...and some truly crappy shots following characters from behind or badly framed handheld...and yes, wobbly...close-ups that look like your toddler got hold of the camera.

Basically, I wonder if he will ever get back to making a film like The New World or any of the older films that caused me to love his work again.
That's a funny take, for sure; but the only other alternative would be if Malick were to return to his 7-20 year breaks, which just might mean nothing more, at all. Certainly, we wouldn't want that, either.
At this stage of Malick's 72 year life, I am all for the prior Bob Dylan type of route; meaning one output per year and seeing what sticks.
Perfection can also come from being Prolific, too.
Crank 'em out, Terrence !!!
 
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Reggie W

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I love Malick and I do really like the fact he is making films he wants to make but To the Wonder and Knight of Cups were not great films. They seem to be experiments in playing in the editing suite and attempting to find a film instead of creating something you set out to make. I think that is what is taking up his time on these projects. He is actually using a bunch of footage they have shot over the course of these last 4 films and stitching it together in the editing room.

I mean in Tree of Life he seemed to know exactly where he was headed but in these last two he seems only to be shooting for some philosophical musing set to some pretty images. I understand where Christopher Plummer and Colin Farrell are coming from when they say the actors in his films have no clue what Malick is actually going to use. There can be what seems like an important scene with a dialogue exchange between key characters and they shoot it but then in the film Malick edits in voice-over or music and we just see the characters and never hear what they are talking about. This combined with some generally lousy handheld camera work when he shoots the characters cut with beautiful shots of nature sometimes just sort of randomly inserted has become his "style" in the last few pictures.
 
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Peter Neski

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"argued to be Malick’s most profound accomplishment" sorry I don't agree at all Badlands is a much better film , the first two Films are clearly his Best ,His New style is a mixed bag of "way too Loose ,way too Much Handheld -Steadycam stuff Plus the results have been mixed ,Thin Red Line is so far my favorite of the bunch,Night of Cups is clearly much better visually (IMHO) than the three before it .
Which compared to other Films might look great,but to the standards set by the first two films fall short for me
 
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PMF

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It is my understanding that "The Tree of Life", "To the Wonder" and "Knight of Cups" were an intentional trilogy.
Without having had the benefit of yet seeing "Knight of Cups", I wonder if someone here at HTF could confirm this to be true or not?
 

Vincent_P

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The guy over at Criterion Forum bashed the transfers for the theatrical and first cut versions of the film for being taken from "older sources" (ie: The original 2Ks). Any comments on that?
The earlier cuts don't look as great as the new 4K master of the extended, cut they don't look bad, either. It would be great if all three cuts could have been reconstructed via the 4K master, but I imagine that would have been cost-prohibitive, and this new 4K was probably created with the idea of making a DCP of the extended cut beyond just this Blu-ray.

Incidentally, this set was my first time viewing the 150-minute first cut, and I think it's now my favorite overall version of this great film.

Vincent
 

Vincent_P

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It is my understanding that "The Tree of Life", "To the Wonder" and "Knight of Cups" were an intentional trilogy.
Without having had the benefit of yet seeing "Knight of Cups", I wonder if someone here at HTF could confirm this to be true or not?
They're all autobiographic and draw from Malick's own life, so you could definitely say they form a sort of "trilogy", but I really think THE TREE OF LIFE stands alone. I think the upcoming WEIGHTLESS will likely fit in as a trilogy with TO THE WONDER and KNIGHT OF CUPS.

Re: Malick possibly returning to a more narrative-driven work, I imagine his next film (http://collider.com/terrence-malick-radegund-august-diehl/) will have a more tradition storyline, being based on real events as it is.

Vincent
 
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PMF

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Thanks for confirming and clarifying.

With "To the Wonder" and "Knight of Cups" being the first of two installments to a Malick trilogy, perhaps this might explain some of the observations made by Reggie W. Being that "Weightless" is the final installment, it will be very interesting to learn how all three works get ultimately tied together; and, very possibly, unto an even larger scale.
We shall see.
One thing is for certain, Malick is an original; which, after a 100 years of filmmakers, is no easy feat.
The way I see it, all artists, authors and composers always create and explore within their own familiar themes to one varying degree or another.
 
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Reggie W

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I think Weightless and Knight of Cups were basically shot as part of one long shoot and Malick then entered the editing suite and using some footage shot during Tree of Life and To the Wonder he has been cobbling together all of these films and Voyage of Time (which uses more of the hours of footage he shot for Tree of Life). I think he seems to be being very productive right now but he really has just compiled a ton of film which he spends a lot of time editing.

I think if I was pairing Tree of Life with anything it would be Voyage of Time because those were shot together. Then To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, and Weightless form some sort of philosophical "trilogy" but my guess is people's mileage may vary.

I am looking forward to Radegund because it will be another period piece where he will probably step away from the sort of "perfume commercial" aesthetic of these last three pictures. Obviously he is working some things out with To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, and Weightless but I am fairly done after three pictures with the handheld, low angle, wobbly cam, looking up at the characters as some droopy dog philosophical voice-over plays...I mean, OK, Terrence, we get it.

Plus I have to laugh because he assembles these amazing casts for these films then pretty much chops out all performance from the actors and uses them as mannequins in a landscape and then records them whispering voice-over thought tracks that make the original Blade Runner voice-over seem like pure genius.
 
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PMF

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[...] I am looking forward to Radegund because it will be another period piece where he will probably step away from the sort of "perfume commercial" aesthetic of these last three pictures [...]
That's some funny stuff, too; but isn't it possible that the "perfume commercial aesthetic" had been copied from Malick; only to serve those ad execs, who reduced it all down to their own brand of trite?
BTW, what I'm about to say is meant in the lightest and most whimsical of terms; but when reading your last Post I first had wondered if you had re-written a hybrid of your two earlier Posts. But then I re-read it. Indeed, there were newer comments and observations - therefore it was not a reprint of your earlier Post - and yet, interwoven were things already familiar to me:
[a narrator's voice - unknown to PMF - is suddenly heard and addresses Reggie W]
Were you expressing and crystalizing your earlier thoughts?
Were you expanding?
Were you re-editing to include your newer points of view?
Or were you, yourself, coming down with a touch of Malick-itis? :lol:
 
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Reggie W

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I don't think I'm coming down with it...I am totally infected!

“Once the soul was perfect and had wings and could soar into heaven as only creatures can. But the soul lost its wings and fell to earth, there it took an earthly body, and now while it lives in this body no outward sign of wings can be seen, yet the roots of its wings are still there and the nature of these is to try to raise the earthbound soul into heaven. When you see a beautiful woman or a man, the soul remembers the beauty it used to know in heaven and the wings begin to sprout and makes the soul want to fly but it cannot yet, the man is still too weak, so the man keeps staring at the sky like a young bird. He has lost all interest in the world around him."
 
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noel aguirre

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I pounced on this day 1 at the Barnes and Noble criterion sale and saved a 20% coupon especially for it. Total came to $18- a steal.
It looks incredible- unconverted on my 4K Triluminous Sony. And for once the sound source is perfect- no cranking it up to hear dialogue. Best use of Wagner since Appcalypse Now.
Everyone should get this. There are images that remind me of the early settler paintings at the National Hallery of Art. Awesome!
 
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