NEW LINE/WARNER BROS has released the terrific Oscar Nominee for "Best Foreign film" of 2007, "MONGOL," on blu-ray and dvd.
Director Sergei Bodrov has presented a gripping, epic vision in "MONGOL," focusing on the earlier years of Temudjin, better known as "Genghis Khan." While there's room for great debate concerning historical liberties with this tale, it at least feels much more accurate and believable than any of the previous mediocre depictions of Genghis. After his father is murdered, young Temudjin must grow up quickly, marrying at a young age, having to earn respect of warring factions, and having to acknowledge the fact that his long-time friend, Jamukha, seeks to kill him, serving as the impetus for him to unite men to become their leader.
While there are some terrific battle scenes, this isn't an action film. It's actually a very introspective examination of Temudjin and other characters, and about how their individual stories impact on the events around them. Some of these events are surprisingly not depicted, certain to annoy some, but giving the film an very stylized, even daring narrative.
While not an "action" film, there are plenty of graphic moments that make it restrictive for younger viewers.
NEW LINE/WARNER BROS has preserved the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for the dvd(16:9 enhanced) and 1080p/VC-1 blu-ray. From the opening sequence, depicting a very dark atmosphere, it's obvious great care went into this transfer. Both dvd and blu-ray offer stunning contrast and black levels. There is flawless detail with inky blacks, making this one of the best looking dvds and blu-rays for contrast in a long time. Colors are stunning from beginning to end. Everything seems natural and balanced, and although the blu-ray blows away the dvd in terms of depth, the image is always impressive, even in standard resolution. However, comparing blu-ray to dvd, "MONGOL" makes a strong case for blu-ray adaptation. The locations are integral to the film's atmosphere, and Bodrov has succeeded in using every part of the framing to compliment the "epic" feel the film provides. This is made all the more impactful due to fine detail jumping off the screen in virtually every single scene. This impact is lost substantially in the dvd format if comparing the two images. Sure, it's still a great film, even on dvd, but why settle for less?
NEW LINE/WARNER BROS has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for both formats. There are some decent LFE moments, and ambient effects add to the film's environment, but surrounds are too restrained. One expects the surrounds to kick in with great impact during battle scenes, but even in these scenes, discrete effects feel far too reserved. Dialogue is perfectly focused and balanced throughout. Not a bad mix, but certainly one that cries out for Lossless dynamic range.
NEW LINE/WARNER BROS has provided a Digital copy of the film for owners to use on their computer.