The region free Blu-ray of Cave of Forgotten Dreams includes both the 1080p/24 2D and the 1080p/24 3D versions of the film on one disc. The 2D version of the film was encoded using the AVC codec and is framed at 1.78:1, whilst the 3D version was encoded using the MVC codec and is also framed at 1.78:1. Since the film was shot digitally, the transfer for both the 2D and 3D versions is clean and is free of any unwanted manipulation. This doesn’t mean that the transfer is free of any problems but any issues with the image are the result of source artefacts. The film was shot on high definition 3D cameras that were built specifically for the film using consumer grade components and as such the images were never going to look stellar. Once you add in the shooting restrictions and the filming conditions, you can forgive the occasional problem.
Of course since Cave of Forgotten Dreams was shot in native 3D, this is the format you should watch it in if you possibly can. Perhaps more than any other film Cave of Forgotten Dreams really needs to be seen in 3D. As mentioned in the main review section, the use of 3D allows the viewer to truly appreciate the paintings as their creators intended. It is also a testament to Herzog’s abilities as a filmmaker, that despite the restrictions placed upon him he was still able to capture such remarkable 3D images. Given the fact that they are shooting in a cave there is always the danger that the images will be too dark for 3D but Herzog ensures that the paintings are properly lit and he uses the shadows to create both composition and depth within the frame. He also creates interesting 3D shots when outside the cave, at one point attaching the camera to a remote controlled helicopter to capture remarkable shots that have you wondering how they were achieved until the trick is revealed at the end of film. There are occasional problems with convergence and parallax and sometimes the image suffers from inversion and crosstalk but given their inexperience and the difficult conditions, Herzog and his team still managed to capture some incredible 3D shots. These images are perfectly replicated on the Blu-ray and anyone interested in the 3D format will not be disappointed.
The Blu-ray of Cave of Forgotten Dreams comes with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack that is the same for both the 2D and 3D versions of the film. Of course, since this is a documentary, no one is expecting any audio pyrotechnics and that is certainly the case. In fact the audio tends to be anchored to the centre channel, especially as the soundtrack consists largely of Herzog’s hypnotic narration and various interviews. However the haunting score by Ernst Reijseger is well recorded and mixed through the front sound stage and around to the sides to create a feeling of reverence that envelops the viewer. Herzog also makes effective use of the surrounds to place ambient sounds around the viewer when in the cave, thus complimenting the 3D visuals. Also at one point Herzog asks everyone to be quiet and the atmospheric sounds give you a real sense of actually being there in the cave. This is a lovely soundtrack that is both beautiful and subtle, perfectly capturing the tone of the film and helping to immerse the viewer in the 3D experience.
There are very few bonus features on the Blu-ray of Cave of Forgotten Dreams but at least what is included is interesting:
- Q & A with Werner Herzog (HD, 43:22) - This is the main bonus feature and is a video of a Q & A session held with Herzog after the UK premiere of Cave of Forgotten Dreams at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton. This screening was held simultaneously at 48 other venues, all of which were linked with the Ritzy Cinema for this Q & A. As is always the case, Herzog is a fascination person to listen to and in the course of the Q & A he discusses his thoughts on the film and the cave itself as well as his approach to documentary filmmaking.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:16) - This is just the standard trailer for the film that was shown in theatres prior to the film’s release and does a good job of promoting Herzog’s film.
This region free Blu-ray release of Cave of Forgotten Dreams contains the film on a single disc and is a fascinating documentary that brings to life cave paintings created over 30,000 years ago and provides an unforgettable glimpse into the very beginning of art itself. In Werner Herzog’s own unique way, he ruminates on the nature of humanity, the dreams of the past and the possible nightmares of the future.
The Blu-ray includes both versions of the film on a single disc, with the 1080p/24 2D version of the film encoded using the AVC codec and framed at 1.78:1 and the 1080p/24 3D version encoded using the MVC codec and also framed at 1.78:1. Since the film was shot digitally, the transfer for both the 2D and 3D versions is clean and is free of any unwanted manipulation. There are some problems with source material but given the conditions under which the film was made, we can forgive them. Whilst the 2D version is perfectly watchable, this is a film that really needs to be seen in 3D and the transfer on the Blu-ray perfectly reproduces Herzog's intent of showing us how the contours of the cave itself are an integral part of the paintings.
The Blu-ray of Cave of Forgotten Dreams comes with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack that is the same for both the 2D and 3D versions of the film. This is a lovely soundtrack that is both beautiful and subtle, perfectly capturing the tone of the film and helping to immerse the viewer in the 3D experience.
The extras are somewhat limited, consisting of a video of a Q & A with Herzog after the UK premiere of the film and the original theatrical trailer. However the Q & A is at least interesting, giving a valuable insight into Herzog’s thought processes. Ultimately Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a fantastic documentary that is worth seeing for that alone but if you’re a fan of 3D then it truly is an essential purchase.
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