A small town in America. Life is simple and the town clearly lives on its own. The reason for that is that in the woods towards the cities, there are monsters. For years, the village elders have been telling stories about these monsters and how they’ve made a pact with them: the villagers don’t enter the woods and the monsters don’t enter the village. All types of red are also banned from the town as that color is used by the monsters and seems to attract them. Instead, the color yellow is seen as “the safe color”.
As medicines are in low supply, one of the younger inhabitants, Lucius (Phoenix), requests permission to go to the city to renew their stock. The elders deny this request but when Lucius finds out that Noah (Brody), a mentally retarded man, has been in the woods to get some red berries and could get back without a problem, Lucius dares to take some steps into the woods. That night, the monsters return to the village. Everyone has to flee to the cellars. Lucius barely manages to save Ivy (Howard), a blind girl who quite likes him and his silent nature. Lucius and Ivy grow closer to eachother but when something terrible happens to him, the only possible way to save his life, is to get medicine from the cities. While the elders do not want anyone to enter the woods, Ivy is determined to get help from Lucius. But will the monsters let her pass ?
Sound and Vision:
Except for some minor edge enhancement and solarisation the image quality is very good. The use of filters has given The Village a very distinct image with rather pale colors except for the main colors of the villagers and monsters (red and yellow). The level of black is very fine while also the contrast and depth are good enough to give you plenty of detail during the darker scenes.
The soundtrack is very good as well. The focus is more on the front channels but certain scenes do use the surround channels when necessary. The whole is nicely supported by a decent amount of bass from the subwoofer while the dialogues are at all time clear and understandable.
– Lucasfilm THX Optimizer,: some testsignals that help you set up your home theater as good as possible
– Analysing The Village : A making of that’s presented in different chapters which can also be viewed with a “Play All” feature. The footage is accompanied by interview fragments with the main cast & crew and most aspects are covered well.
– Deleted Scenes including commentary
– Bryce’s Diary: Bryce tells the things that happened from the moment she got the script and what these things meant to her.
– Private movie from M.Night: each dvd of his movies contains something he created as a child and here he tells about how hard it was for him to find something that suits with the movie.
– Photo Gallery: 38 color pictures that were taken on the set
When The Village got released in cinemas, the movie got a lot of criticism and some critics even said M. Night’s streak of great plot twists had ended. I didn’t see the movie in the theatres but now that I’ve checked it out on DVD, I understand the critics. The movie is hardly unpredictable. While Night’s previous movies were slow but had decent plots that kept you interested, The Village actually starts to bore and it doesn’t even take long to do that… The plot twists are hardly unexpected if you think about what Night could come up with and even is so far fetched that it’s hardly believeable.
Too bad for the actors as Joaquin Phoenix again gives an excellent performance while newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard manages to stand tall next to stars like William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver who don’t quite seem to know what they need to do this time. All in all, Buena Vista has done a good job on the technical and extras part but this doesn’t make up for a rather slow and boring movie that doesn’t manage to rise above average.