"Melancholia" (2011) on Blu-ray. OR, "When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie, That's Extinction!"


"Melancholia" (2011), Blu-ray.  A Magnolia release from 2012.

Color, 2.35 aspect ratio, 2 hours 15 minutes. DTS-HD MA 5.1 48 kHz audio. Subtitles available. No Commentary. BD-Java style Resume Play works. 1080p Extras include two different Theatrical Trailers, 5 minutes (1080i) HDNET featurette, 4 minutes trying to pretend the film's physics and consequences are based on science, 10 minutes on the look of the film (trying to explain "Shaky Hand" for example), 7 minutes on special effects, and 12 minutes on the connection between this film and severe, disabling, depression.

As if there could be any other result.

The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes (losing out to, "The Tree of Life").  Kirsten Dunst also Won at Cannes for Best Actress.




A while back I saw a documentary which included work by a famous, Japanese, candid shot photographer.  His abstract looking prints were so popular, his new style was even acclaimed with a really profound-sounding Japanese name.  Profound, that is, until you found out it was simply the Japanese for, "Shaky Hand.  No Focus."

Well Writer/Director Lars von Trier has certainly made sure his DP adopted the Shaky Hand style.  In one of the Extras, he even admits the excessive use of unstabilized, hand-held camera work OUGHT TO result in quite a few viewers getting seasick!

He didn't do so well with No Focus. Much of this film (with a very few exceptions where the camera motion got TOO shaky) is in exceptionally fine focus. Another sterling result from the Arri digital HD camera and Zeiss lenses. I really like what this new era of digital cameras is producing -- very film like, but without a lot of the problems of film -- particularly for a movie like this which has to merge so many effects.

FILMMAKING NOTE: A surprising amount of the effects work in this film is actually practical stuff -- done in camera -- as opposed to CGI elements.

The PQ in this transfer is a delight. Just wonderful stuff!

The sound design is less dependent on the surrounds than many modern tracks.  But this is a surprisingly intimate film, notwithstanding its setting of global catastrophe.  The sound design works exceedingly well for that.

And the AQ in this transfer is, in a word, perfect!

As for the film itself, I really like the concept of encouraging the audience to root for the end of the world to hurry up and get here. These characters all deserve to be smooshed as quickly as possible. The universe will be a better place.

Seriously, the characterizations ARE over the top.  But then you are supposed to be viewing this stuff through the cracked lens of depression, and it takes some effort to get the audience into the proper frame of mind.

By the way, the physics in the film is nutzo, despite the paid astrophysicist they trot out to claim otherwise.  No matter.  It's just a film.

And AS a film it is one of the most INTERESTING film experiences I've seen in quite a while!  Very VERY different.  And, despite the irritating nature of the characters, it really does hold your interest!  Contrast with, "The Tree of Life" (2011), which to my eye had NOTHING going for it except for pretty pictures.

NOTE: Rated R for some gratuitous shots of boobs, and the death of all life on earth.  Seriously, this is not a film for the kiddies.  Even teens may find the "depression" aspects too disturbing.