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Tideland
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English DTS-HD 5.1 Surround
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Commentary by writer-director Terry Gilliam and co-writer Tony Grisoni
  • Introduction by director Terry Gilliam
  • Getting Gilliam, a 45-minute documentary on the making of Tideland by Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice)
  • The Making of Tideland featurette
  • Filming Green Screen featurette with commentary by Gilliam
  • Interviews with Terry Gilliam, producer Jeremy Thomas and actors Jeff Bridges, Jodelle Ferland and Jennifer Tilly
  • Deleted scenes with commentary by Gilliam
  • B-roll footage
  • Gallery
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two choices of original artwork
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectorís booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell

Tideland

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Terry Gilliam
2005 | 120 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: Arrow Video
MVD Visual

Release Date: August 21, 2018
Review Date: August 20, 2018

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SYNOPSIS

For his tenth feature, Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Twelve Monkeys) adapted Mitch Cullin's celebrated cult novel Tideland, a work he once described as "Alice in Wonderland meets Psycho through the eyes of Amťlie." To escape her unhappy life in a remote part of Texas, nine-year-old Jeliza-Rose dreams up an elaborate fantasy world. But the reality of having junkie parents - played by Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski) and Jennifer Tilly (Bound) - and the influence of her eccentric neighbours begins to encroach, turning her daydreams ever darker. A rich slice of Southern Gothic blurring whimsical fantasy with unsettling reality, Tideland is among Gilliam's most personal works - indeed, with its shifts between the amusing and the macabre, expressive camerawork and striking special effects, the film could be the very definition of Gilliamesque!


PICTURE

Terry Gilliamís Tideland makes its North American Blu-ray debut through Arrow Video. Unlike the previous DVD edition the film is presented in its proper aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and delivered on a dual-layer disc. The 1080p/24hz high-definition encode comes from a high-definition master provided to Arrow by Universal Pictures.

The film is fairly recent so I was expecting it to look pretty good but it manages to surpass my expectations. Iím not sure how old the master but whatever the case may be it ends up holding up fairly well. There is a lot of detail present in this film, from the grassy fields to the intricate details of the dilapidated house (and the corpse that plays a big part in the film), and all of that detail is delivered marvelously and without a hitch. Every shot is crisp and clean, and this manages to provide wonderful textures and depth in the image. Film grain is present and rendered fine enough, but it could probably be cleaner, looking a little messy in some of the darker portions of the screen

Colours are really striking as well. It can be a bit of a gloomy looking film, but I found the golds and yellows of those grassy fields to look glorious, and there are some spots of blue and red which also look spectacular. Sometimes blacks can come off a little milky but for the most part I found the black levels strong and shadow detail to be decent. I donít recall a single blemish ever popping up, yet considering the film is from 2005 this isnít a big shock. Still, after learning that this wasnít receiving a new restoration I came to this with a little hesitation and I was prepared for some issues, but thankfully there is nothing conspicuous. Despite oneís feelings about the film itís hard to argue the film isnít a marvel visually and this Blu-ray does a spectacular job with it.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The filmís 5.1 audio is presented in DTS-HD MA. The sound is a little frustrating, and this isnít uncommon for Gilliam films. I recall him mentioning in one commentary (probably Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) his shortcomings in sound design and this probably feeds into my general issues with the sound in his films, or at least his later ones. In the case of Tideland it does have quite a bit going on in it regarding surround use. During many of the filmís flights of fancy we get some wonderful splits and movement through the sound field, appropriately and naturally positioned in relation to what is on the screen. The music is lively and full of life and fills out the surround environment nicely. But what made it frustrating are voices. A lot of the time the dialogue comes off a bit muffled, and sometimes I swear the actors are mumbling, and I had to strain to hear. Itís not on the same level of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, where I give up eventually every time I try to watch the film (and in fairness itís suiting for that particular film), but Iíd swear the dialogue track has just been flattened out. Where the rest of the presentation has strong range and fidelity the dialogue has none of that and just comes off lifeless.

This could just be me, but ever since Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Iíve had this issue with his films, where I have to strain to hear what is being said. Even when I saw the rather loud The Brothers Grimm in the theater I had the same problem, finding the dialogue just flat and bland, but I donít have that issue with any of his titles made before 1998. I donít think it has anything to do with Arrow (and again, I want to stress, it could just be me) but I had to work extra hard to pick up dialogue because it comes off muffled or mumbled while the rest of the track (music and effects) sound great. I ended up just flipping on the subtitles.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Arrow disappointingly doesnít offer anything new in comparison to the old DVD edition, simply porting everything over. It appears this edition is just more Arrowís effort to get the film out on Blu-ray and in the proper aspect ratio since that was unlikely to happen otherwise (the original North American distributor, ThinkFilm, has since gone belly up and Iím unsure who owns the rights now outside of international rights belonging to Universal, from whom Arrow got the master).

At any rate, you can first watch the film with an optional 1-minute introduction from Gilliam, addressing how polarizing the film can be and suggesting how one should approach the film. Most newcomers, even those familiar with Gilliamís work, should probably give it a go. But far more in-depth and rewarding is the optional audio commentary featuring Gilliam and producer Jeremy Thomas. I like Gilliamís tracks as theyíre always energetic and informative, and heís not one to shy away from obvious issues with his films. Having Thomas there also proves helpful, but I felt this track was a bit more cynical and negative than most of Gilliamís other offerings. His films always suffer some controversy and/or critical/audience drubbing, but the reactions to this film were especially harsh and I think that has frustrated Gilliam (and Thomas) to a more significant degree than usual. They do talk quite a bit about the negative criticisms and the aspects the people found controversial and why they donít agree with any of them. I admit I have issues with the film (more in terms of length) but do agree with Gilliam and Thomas on how a lot of the criticisms lobbed at the film donít entirely hold up and I think those who donít like or even hate the film may want to give the track a go. But the track is probably better when the two talk more about the technical aspects of the film, including the filmís visuals, the effects, scenes that he dropped (I was rather horrified that the film was initially a half-hour longer) and working with the filmís young actor and the other actors (I was not surprised to learn that Jeff Bridges was excited to play a corpse). Probably one of Gilliamís more negative tracks but still worth a listen.

All of the video material from the old DVD also gets carried over. The strongest of these would have to be documentary Getting Gilliam, directed by Cube and Splice director Vincenzo Natali. I figured the 45-minute film, made for the CBC in 2005, would have been a making-of but itís actually more of a look into Gilliamís techniques, using the making of Tideland as a launching point. There is a lot of on-set footage, Gilliam working with the crew to visualize his ideas and then working with his cast, paying a great amount of attention on Jodelle Ferland (I was especially amused by a moment where Gilliam is explaining what ďderivativeĒ means to the filmís young star). Since Natali is more interested in what makes Gilliam tick than the making of this film, he offers a look at Gilliamís films and their common themes, and looks back at his (disappointingly) normal childhood, even getting an interview with Gilliamís mother. Itís a playful and fun documentary, with a Pythonesque spirit to it and Iím happy Arrow was still able to port it over.

The rest of the material, unfortunately, varies. Thereís a 5-minute featurette on the making of Tideland but itís more promotional in nature than much else (the Natali documentary does a better job even though that wasnít its goal). A bit better is a 3-minute featurette on a selection of green screen effects, showing the various layers that went into them, accompanied by a forced commentary by Gilliam. There are also 6-minutesí worth of deleted scenes, which even showcase some abandoned effects shots, which also come with a forced commentary by Gilliam, explaining why the scenes were excised. The commentary suggests there was more material than what we are provided here, but he also suggests some of this footage is lost.

There are a collection of interviews that look to have been recorded during press junkets or on set. Both Gilliam and Thomas get their own, running 14-minutes and 9-minutes respectively. The two go over material covered in the commentary, though Gilliam addresses the controversies around the film a bit more specifically and Thomas shares his feelings on how the film will grow in stature over time. Following these interviews is then a 5-minute compilation of interview footage with Jodelle Ferland, Jeff Bridges, and Jennifer Tilly.

Closing off the disc is 21-minutesí worth of B-roll footage, allowing us to simply observe behind-the-scenes footage, followed by a photo gallery, which is a 2-minute video presentation of behind-the-scene and production photos. The disc then closes with the filmís original theatrical trailer.

Arrow does add a booklet, though, and I donít believe one came with the old DVD. In it youíll find an essay on the film by Neil Mitchell, who writes a little about the film though works more to provide a defense against some of the criticisms thrown at it, and even goes over its reception and (non) release in North America. I do kind of wish Arrow was able to provide some sort of on-screen interview from a scholarly type but the essay does a decent job filling out this gap.

In general Iím disappointed there isnít much new here, but at the very least all of the stronger material from the DVD (the commentary and the documentary) have at least made it over.

7/10

CLOSING

Iím a little surprised Arrow doesnít add anything new (outside of the booklet) but fans will be happy to finally get the film on Blu-ray and the end results look quite good.




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Purchase From:
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