DVDs: Reference Disc

The New World (New Line; Movie •••½, Picture/Sound ••••, Extras •••), Terrence Malick's film about the fateful collision of English settlers with Native Americans in 1607, is short on dialogue and long on trippy shots of sunlight leaking through virgin forests. You may find your attention wandering during the ponderous voiceovers, but stick it out and you'll be rewarded with an authentic-looking depiction of life in the original Jamestown colony. The 2.35:1 images are wonderfully crisp, with shots of nature that are loaded with fine detail, inky shadows, and rich, nuanced color. Skin tones of both the "Naturals" and the pale-skinned settlers also appear consistently realistic. A small amount of edge enhancement is visible in a few shots, but it's not disturbing. The 5.1-channel sound is impressive, with wind, insects, and rain flowing in from all directions. And there's plenty of low bass to be heard when the cannonballs fly. A making-of featurette documents the filmmakers' efforts to recreate the period.

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