In the Land of Blood and Honey Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, English SDH
- Region: A
- Rating: R
- Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
- Run Time: 126 Mins.
- Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: March 27th, 2012
- List Price: $24.98
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In the Land of Blood and Honey tells the story of the real war that tore about the Balkian regions during the 90s. As told from information Writer/Director Angelina Jolie gathered during his numerous trips to the country as a ‘Goodwill Ambassador’, we meet two different people in Danijel (Goran Kostic) and Ajla (Zana Marjanovic) who tell their own stories. Danijel fights fro the Serbians, while Ajla is a Bosnian held captive in a camp Danijel oversees. We learn that both knew in each other before war begin and, for a brief time, loved one another; however, as the war intensified, both grew apart as they were uncertain if their love could thrive or survive. The film itself is fairly well made (especially well shot), but overall ends up tripping over its own feet.
First off, I must commend Writer/Director Angelina Jolie for making this film. Not necessarily because of the topic, but more for the immense amount of research and physical time she spent studying the topics covered in this film. Now, perhaps because of my family’s background and the fact that my grandmother grew up in the now former Yugoslavia, I remember hearing about this war growing up as a child. It was because of this that I was interested to see what Jolie was going to present. Exactly how would she convey the topics that troubled that region? Well, the result is that Jolie has certainly visually made an impressive film, but subject wise, I’m not sold. Unfortunately, Jolie relied too much on the all too commonly used sense of melodrama.
The sense of melodrama, really is what ultimately kills any sense of lasting impact Blood and Honey may truly have ever had. Jolie creates characters, on the surface, that do initially have multiple layers to them. In both Danijel and Ajla we see the struggle both have. Do they align with their respective sides, or do they give it up to be with one another? Jolie tries to paint them as having internal struggles, however, they don’t really end up differing from any other character we’ve seen in other thematic war films. That, in the end, is what hurts Blood and Honey. It’s a shame too, because Jolie does paint a solid story and the acting is great, just I wanted more out of the characters.
The 2:35:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer is just about perfect. The film features a wide range color palette with dark blacks, light grays, blues and cold, bleak winter tones. All of these colors look excellent as detail is impressive. Facial close ups result in accurate flesh tones as well as contrast levels. Nothing has been overly pumped up. Instead DP Dean Semler chose to use many low-lit techniques that typically showcase fine clarity and all but capture the varying elements Jolie was aiming for. Grain levels are kept in check throughout only adding in a slight layer, which I would think was done to bring home the dreary, desolate locales. All in all, this is yet another great Sony transfer.
The film’s provided DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, available in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, is excellent. Dialogue is simple and easy to understand (and read) throughout. The different language choices are all accompanied by English subtitles. Discrete effects are one of the best aspects of this mix. Whether the quieter moments, where background noises like a car passing or someone talking, or the heightened moments, like an explosion, all sounded well placed. The film’s score by Gabriel Yared captured the elements of the film. Yared handles every range, quiet or loud, with a sense of true professionalism. Really, this score brings the emotional levels of the film to a new height. Atmosphere, as expected, is top notch. Truly, this is a fine, fine mix from Sony.
The included supplements are presented in HD:
- The Making of In the Land of Blood and Honey – Running 10:24, this making of serves as a mix of cast interviews, as well as information on what Jolie was aiming for by making this film.
- Deleted Scenes – Here we get 16:32 of deleted scenes. The scenes themselves, totaling 11 sequences, are well worth a watch as they add a bit to some of the film’s characters.
- Q&A with Writer/Director Angelina Jolie and Actress Vanesa Glodjo – This runs 1:02:03 and is an online questionnaire Jolie and Glodjo did. Topics include the purpose of the film, challenges by Jolie and Glodjo faced during shootings, Jolie’s time in Bosnia, Jolie as a director and numerous other topics. Certainly, this is a worth a watch for fans of the film.
- DVD – A DVD copy of the film is included on a separate disc.
The Definitive Word
Opinion on In the Land of Blood and Honey will certainly differ. On the surface, the topic is important. Instead of creating a truly impacting film, Jolie ended up giving us something that is certainly impressive to watch, but ultimately loses any lasting meaning due to melodramatic characters. That aside, Sony, as expected, has created another excellent Blu-ray with great video and perfect audio. I’d say if you enjoyed the film, definitely add this to your collection. Everyone else? Give this one a rent as your opinion may differ.
Additional Screen Captures
Tags: 1080p/24, Angelina Jolie, AVC/MPEG-4, Drama, DTS-HD Master Audio, Goran Kostic, Historical Fiction, In the Land of Blood and Honey, Rade Serbeozija, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, War, Zana Marjanovic