Certainly one of the very best films of the year, now is one of the very best Blu-ray releases of 2011. Fox's 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer captures every nuance of Emmanuel Lubezki's poetic cinematography. Shot in both 35 and 65mm, the picture has the filmic grain expected for a film that was made with natural light. The noise, however, is light and never dampens details. Colors are are a heightened natural feel, almost painterly. Blacks are deep and rich. The big bang sequence shines with an even richer color palette. The lava explosions glow with rich reds. The CG dinosaurs blend perfectly into the soulful imagery. Digital issues are non-existent.
A disclaimer plays before the film stating that the filmmakers suggest to play the volume loud. They deliver on their suggestion. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 uses the entire soundscape effectively. Dialogue, voice over, the haunting piano music and the big and subtle sound effects are brought together perfectly. The score is surrounds the viewer drawing them into the film and fades into the background to allow poignant ambience to emerge. Once again the big bang sequence rocks the soundscape as well. Explosions boom and rumble on the LFE track.
The only real special feature is the making of doc "Exploring the Tree of Life." It's disappointing that it's all we get but at least is very good. The piece interviews the actors, producers and the artists from all the key departments to get into the mind of publicity shy director Terrence Malick, who is not featured. Star Brad Pitt, as a producer, also gives a good history of how the project came to be and how Malick put together the unorthodox feature. Hearing all the people involved giving their point of view of the picture just highlights the richness of themes in this masterpiece.