George Miller’s romantic fantasy Three Thousand Years of Longing arrives on Blu-ray with a great transfer and nothing else.
The Production: 4/5
Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is a narratologist, one who studies and relates stories of stories. While at a conference in Istanbul, Turkey, she begins to have distracting visions while speaking to the audience. Later that day, she finds an interesting bottle at a thrift shop, and when she takes it back to her hotel room, the cap flies off while cleaning it with her electric toothbrush (yuck!) and a large man claiming to be a Djinn (Idris Elba) appears, granting her three wishes. Not believing him at first, she begins to question him about his past, and in return he begins to tell some interesting stories of his previous encounters. Alithea becomes fascinated by his stories, but at the same time still skeptical, based on mythical stories of Djinn’s who granted wishes that benefitted them rather than the person making the wish. The two quickly form a connection, and Alithea makes her first wish, one that Djinn never expected.
Based on the short story The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye by A.S. Byatt, Director and co-writer George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) and screenwriter Augusta Gore weave a rather adult romantic fantasy that resembles a modern day 1001 Arabian Nights as Djinn relates his past stores to Alithea, starting with an alternate retelling of the biblical story of Queen Sheba and King Solomon. It is the imagery that often takes center stage in this film, yet these epic stories also draw in the viewer, almost forgetting that these are being told from am modern day hotel room in Turkey. Swinton and Elba have excellent chemistry together, but the film does lose some of its momentum in the third act as the two characters try to come to terms of living in the modern world.
3D Rating: NA
Three Thousand Years of Longing was captured digitally in 4.5k resolution on Arri Alexa LF, Mini LF and Red Komodo cameras by cinematographer John Seale (Mad Max: Fury Road) and completed as a 4K digital intermediate. Warner provided a Blu-ray for review (the film is also available on 4K UHD Blu-ray), and it looks absolutely stunning. Colors are as rich as they can be, really pushing the boundaries of the disc format’s BT.709 color space. Detail is exceptional, revealing the velvety textures of the white hotel bath robes, minute grains of sand during the story-telling sequences, etc. Contrast is also very good, with deep blacks that provide fairly strong shadow detail with minimal crush and bright highlights that come very close to appearing blown out.
The default Dolby Atmos track is wonderful. This is a wide and active track with excellent dynamic range and clarity, but never deafening. The swirling smoke as Djinn is released is one of the more impressive uses of sound on the disc, as the woosh of the mystical smoke quite literally swirls above, around and behind you. LFE is strong, providing nice emphasis to many of the sound effects used in the film as well as Tom Holkenberg’s (aka Junkie XL) score. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout. In addition to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core (for those without Atmos playback capability), a redundant and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track has been included as well as an English Descriptive Audio track in lossy Dolby 5.1.
Special Features: 0.5/5
Some Blu-ray copies of Three Thousand Years of Longing made it out to retailers with a slipcover indicating that this was a Blu-ray+DVD+Digital combo pack. Unfortunately, the DVD was a typo, as all that was inside was a Blu-ray disc and digital copy slip housed in a single disc Blu-ray eco keepcase. The Blu-ray disc is also as barebones as you can get, containing nothing else but the movie itself.
Digital Copy: The insert includes a code to redeem an HD copy of the film on Vudu. This is not a Movies Anywhere eligible title, as this is an MGM release distributed by Warner. When redeeming the code, Vudu does provide access to the following special features: A New Cinematic Odyssey, The Djinn and the Genius, Conjuring the Djinn, Empires and Epochs, George and Junkie XL and the film’s theatrical trailer. The real annoying issue here is that the movie is on a BD50 disc and takes up only 34Gb, so theoretically those special features could have easily fit on this disc.
George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing is a rather thought-provoking and magical journey for older audiences (how often to we get a chance to see those these days), but the total lack of extras on a disc that has plenty of room for them is the biggest disappointment of this release.
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