'Tideland: Special Edition'
(Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Tilly, Jodelle Ferland, et al / Blu-ray / PG-13 / (2005) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: For his tenth feature, Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Twelve Monkeys) adapted Mitch Cullin's celebrated cult novel 'Tideland,' a work he once described as Alice in Wonderland meets Psycho through the eyes of Amélie.
Blu-ray Verdict: 'Tideland' is an amazingly perceptive flight of fantasy seen from a child's point of view. Viewed from this perspective, we can forgive pretty much any of Gilliam's transgressions, for in this film he takes us far beyond our visual and psychological zones of comfort.
But how deliciously we squirm in our seats watching this one. Viewing adults as extreme characters and caricatures, and grappling with the mysteries of death, sex, and the fear of being abandoned are indeed the dark but necessary truth of growing up.
In this respect, 'Tideland' is strikingly similar to Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away.' In both films we see the world as a young girl's perceptual mix of cruel reality and spirited fantasy.
Just as Chihiro's parents turn to pigs as the realization of her horror at their gluttony, so too the demise and/or mummification of Jeliza-Rose's parents is best taken not as a literal outcome but as visualizations of her curiosity about the consequences of death blended with the evil wishes that come with the perceived slights of childhood.
It's not a flattering picture, but the bizarre character Dickens, from this point of view, represents boys, men, male love objects in the broadest sense. They're strange, unpredictable creatures, somewhat brain damaged, who are obsessed with (symbolic) devices like submarines.
Should she play with him? Kiss him? Hate him? Marry him? The curiosity and the confusion over attraction mixed with revulsion that is the reality of an adolescent girl's perceptions is brilliantly manifested in Dickens' character.
The imaginative world of the adolescent girl is perhaps one of the last great mysteries of the world, and one few filmmakers have tried to seriously illuminate.
We are truly fortunate that two such wonderful filmmakers, Miyazaki and Gilliam, have both within a few years of each other given us such perceptive peeks under the kimonos. This is a Widescreen HD Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Commentary by writer-director Terry Gilliam and co-writer Tony Grisoni
Introduction by director Terry Gilliam
Getting Gilliam, a 45-minute documentary on the making of Tideland by Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice)
The Making of Tideland featurette
Filming Green Screen featurette with commentary by Gilliam
Interviews with Terry Gilliam, producer Jeremy Thomas and actors Jeff Bridges, Jodelle Ferland and Jennifer Tilly
Deleted scenes with commentary by Gilliam
Reversible sleeve featuring two choices of original artwork
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell