Mongol is framed in a 2.40:1 ratio and the codec used on this 1080P transfer is VC-1.
The shots of the landscape and the cinematography are simply stunning. This really is top notch stuff. Colours are vivid and solid from the lush greens of the fields, right to the wonderful breadth of the whole colour spectrum on show. The film simply bristles with beautiful colours. Skin tones are accurately rendered and the whites in the snow scenes come through particularly bright.
Some of the day-lit scenes can be over bright and appear washed out. The first battle with Jamukha in the mountains for example can appear a little parched at times. It's nothing too major to complain about though. On the other hand the night time or indoor scenes are fantastic. Shadow detail is excellent and the inkiness of the blacks and the stunning contrast put this transfer right up there with some of the very best. Add to that the artistic rendering of the shots and the imaginative use of lighting where needed and we are talking about a breathtaking picture canvas.
I could not see much or any evidence of edge enhancement, halos or ringing or any other video nasties. I don't mind a bit of sharpening (if applied correctly) as it can help make the hi-def image pop out at you which is particularly nice but it's all smooth here and the detail remains excellent. Even in the darker scenes you will see all the fine textures reveal themselves with ease. When Temudgin defeats Jamukha in the final battle and he is sat in his tent awaiting him, you can see the beads of sweat and battle scars on his face without any trouble at all.
What you are getting here is an incredibly artistic and beautiful film.
Audio comes in one flavour and it's a Mongolian Dolby Digital 5.1 offering. No HD resolution on offer here I'm afraid.
Dialogue is firmly anchored to the centre channel and the front sound stage dominates proceedings throughout. Voices are crisp and clean enough. The panning across the stage is good and transient although not adventurous enough in the surround channels. Rear channels are used infrequently but there's enough to suggest that the soundmix engineer was trying to accurately steer the sound to the appropriate channels.
The haunting score helps keep the feel of the movie going and give it some more ambience. Whilst battle scenes are few and far between in this movie the LFE does kick in and give it some slam and depth where needed. Horses thudding along and the rumble of distant thunder help to liven up the mix.
The audio is actually not that bad here but if they had gone to the lengths of a re-engineered lossless soundtrack it would have gone much much further to partner the excellent video aspects of this movie.
Sergei Bodrov's biopic presents us with a very different perception of Genghis Khan than most will be used to or even expecting. Depicted as a troubled man throughout his formative life, he's hardened by solitude and compassioned by love. These are usually not the trait that you would expect of a ruthless 12th century conqueror but that's what you get on offer here.
The movie is filmed and shot impeccably throughout. It really is an artistically beautiful film and the cinematography is pure class. It goes out as a warning that some of the best movies really can be and are made outside of tinsel town. The transfer into high-definition is superb and the video quality of this blu-ray disc excellent. The acting is top notch as well and while Tadanobu Asano plays his part well so do the remainder of the cast including the child actors and Honglei Sun.
Expected to be part of a trilogy this movie somewhat fails to set itself off in a truly epic style. Although the film itself has visions of grandeur it has far too many flaws that hold it back from being an epic. Namely, it lacks in continuity where much of the scenes and battles are cut off half way through leaving the viewer to use supposition. A lot of this may have been to do with a restrictive budget but it's no excuse for the end result.
The biggest failing of it for me was for all its beauty I always felt it was continually leading onto something better that never actually transpired. Whilst the main battle at the end had a build up, its delivery fell rather flat as it was left severely cut short. There is definitely an hour or so missing out of this movie and the run time should have been up at three hours. Mongol is a movie worth seeing but personally I felt a little short-changed by the end of it all.
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