The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Biographical / Drama / History / War
Sony || Unrated - 158 minutes - $28.95 || December 2, 2008
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2008-11-27


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Luc Besson
Writer(s): Andrew Birkin & Luc Besson (written by)
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, John Malkovich


Theatrical Release Date: November 12, 1999


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • BD-Live
  • Previews


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Francais (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Portugues (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Espanol (Dolby Digital 5.1), Thai (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Francais, Espanol, Portugues, Thai, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Dutch, Indonesian, Korean

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.::THE FILM::.

Who saw Titanic? You know that movie where the ship sinks at the end. Yeah, I just spoiled for you three hours of the stupidest movie ever. Feel free to write me an e-mail saying I ruined your day. Who goes to see a movie they know the ending too? Whatís the point? So odds are if I said this is a review of The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, you probably know the ending if you took any sort of history class in school. But for those who didnít, read on and be amazed.

Joan of Arc is the story of a girl who when she was young said she heard voices from god telling her what to do and what to say. She heads to a field one day and a sword appears by her side after she awakes from day dreaming. Disturbingly enough she returns to her home to find the village in flames and being ransacked by enemy soldiers.

In a truly terrifying scene, Joan hides in her parentís closet while her mother is brutally killed by a soldier in front of her very eyes. Traumatized by the incident she moves away with another family to start a new life.

Still hearing the voices, Joan heads off to France to help them ward off the English from their lands. She asks to speak with the Dauphin (John Malkovich) who ends up playing a trick on her. The Dauphin tests Joanís ability and has a dummy king take his place while he hides. But to no avail, as Joan knows this is a setup and rightfully finds the Dauphin.

Joan aides the France in pushing England out of their lands through a serious of battles where she slowly gains the respect of her fellow soldiers after showing that she does indeed talk to God. With her knowledge of battles and the strength of her army she leads the fights and wins them for the good of England. But can she win every battle? Will her luck eventually run out? Can France find a way to stop the brilliant strategist who hears voices from conquering all of the lands?

Letís be honest. Joan of Arc isnít for everyone. At nearly two and a half hours long, this is a really long movie to sit through if you arenít into history or curious to know more about the famous hero from the olden times. It is however educational but incredibly violent. In this unrated edition nearly ten extra minutes are shown, as well as more bloody fights and a scene at the start that I have already described.

Overall though, it is a terrific film to watch. The cast is phenomenal in the acting category and the script is solid. The length may be a problem for some, but you can always pause it and come back at a later date.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Previews - Various previews showcasing Blu-rayís spectacular capability. Youíre watching a movie on Blu-ray; do you really need a preview of it?

BD-LIVE Ė As of writing this review the BD-LIVE feature is unavailable, as though itís not out the public just yet. I will update it when the features are added.

For a film nearly ten years old itís shocking to see such an empty special features area. No commentaries, no history of Joan, zilch.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Surprising enough a movie made in 1999 looks just as good as movies made in the past year. The transfer to Blu-ray has been kind to Joan, as this is a fine looking movie. Colors are spot on and are vibrant. Artifacts are non-existent and the contrast stays well throughout. The fight scenes are near reference material as well. There is little to complain about, except towards the end the transfer does get a bit spotty. Watch the last half hour or so and you should notice the scenes become darker and grain becoming apparent. Other than that, this is an excellent transfer. It is in every way a definite improvement over the DVD copy.

Right on par with the video, the audio is thunderous throughout the movie. Every battle scene rumbles your sound system with its Dolby True HD 5.1 option, and weary is there a time when the subwoofer didnít activate. Dialogue is at the right level and constant throughout the film even in the battle scenes. The lone complaint happens once again towards the ending of the movie, when the background noise does take heed over the final twenty or so minutes. Maybe itís for dramatic purpose, maybe not. Otherwise, this is a phenomenal track.



.::OVERALL::.

While Joan of Arc may be entertaining for some, itís not for everyone. Clocking in at over two and a half hours you need to set aside a good portion of your free time to watch it. The movie does however have exceptional audio and video qualities, but suffers greatly from having absolutely no special features. History buffs will want to pick this up right away, while all others should rent it first to make sure that this is a movie for them. Fight on Joan; just be prepared for the long haul.