Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1Good Kill on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

'The Good Wife' Cush Jumbo Tackles Comparisons...
'Class': 'Doctor Who' Spinoff Series Coming to BBC Thre...
'The Revenant' Trailer: Leonardo DiCaprio Seeks Revenge...
Will Trevor Noah Live Up To The Hype During Monday's 'D...
Watch Eddie Vedder, Beyonce Duet on Bob Marley's 'Redem...
'CSI' being laid to rest after 15 years ...
Big Brother Season 17 Finale Recap: Super Fan & Trombon...
Dancing With the Stars Recap: Bindi Irwin and Derek Hou...
Emmys 2015: Who should win Outstanding Lead Actor in a ...
Shark Tank Robert Herjavec 'Very Grateful' To Have Met ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Zeitgeist Video presents
The World (2005)

"Give us a day, we'll show you the world."
- A sign in World Park

Review By: Jeff Wilson  
Published: March 02, 2006

Stars: Zhao Tao, Cheng Taisheng, Jing Jue, Jiang Zhongwei, Huang Yiqun, Wang Hongwei, Liang Jingdong, Ji Shuai, Xiang Wan, Alla Chtcherbakova
Director: Jia Zhangke

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for adult themes, language
Run Time: 02h:19m:38s
Release Date: February 14, 2006
UPC: 795975107433
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

A film about the effects of capitalism and globalization doesn't normally sound like an evening's hot entertainment, but Jia Zhangke's The World isn't your normal film. Jia uses one of the more bizarre theme parks as its setting, located just outside Beijing. The park, known simply as World Park, presents visitors with an array of sights from around the world; want to see that famous New York City skyline? It's there, Twin Towers and all, along with 105 other places of note from around the globe, reproduced in small scale. The Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and others dot the map, which visitors travel through by monorail, while also viewing stage shows starring park employees. There's something inherently weird about the idea, assuming that people will want to visit a model, even a big one, of a famous place rather than actually go there. Beyond any questions of the park's intent, it serves as a rich metaphor for the forces of commerce and globalization creeping into Chinese life, as we come to see in the lives of the park employees.

Though many people pass through the film's loose narrative, the main focus is on one couple, Tao (Zhao Tao) and Taisheng (Cheng Taisheng), as they make their way through typical days at the park. The venue's day to day function isn't Jia's main interest; he spends much of the film looking at the lives of the employees and their circles of relatives, friends, and acquaintances, including their lives in the park, looking at the ways in which they adapt to new surroundings and jobs. Tao is a dancer, moving about the park from "country" to "country," and Taisheng is a security officer. They both hail from rural China, hoping to make their fortunes in the big city. Neither has gone very far, and the same holds true for most of their coworkers, who seek bigger things but remain trapped in positions that will go nowhere. The only one of Tao's friends to get a promotion only does so by sleeping with the boss, and then admits that she still has no real authority.

The setting of World Park obviously serves as a stand-in for the larger world, one seemingly close at hand, yet still unreachable. And in the midst of this encroaching yet still distant world, those who have left their homes and emigrated to the city find themselves disenchanted and finding they belong nowhere. A more sinister undercurrent is witnessed when several Russians join the Chinese park's staff. Under subtle pressure, they are forced to give up their passports, effectively trapping them. Tao's friendship with Anna (Alla Chtcherbakova), one of the Russians, is an oasis of real feeling amidst the surreal, phony atmosphere of the park. The end lesson, however, for all these transplants to the big city is that the old world is gone forever. We see more than once that old bonds between families slowly disintegrate once divorced from the villages where such bonds mean more and are able to be maintained.

The film also makes heavy use of the most ubiquitous item of the new century: the cell phone. Characters interact as much on their phones as they do face to face, and text messaging plays its own role, functioning as a transitional device into animated sequences that allow the characters freedom they never possess in reality. It's a bold switch from the somewhat drab world the characters inhabit, and it works well. Mention should also be made of the musical score, comprised of thumping electronic music as used in the staged shows put on in the park. The distinct lack of human presence within the electronics indirectly hints at the lack of individuality and personality these people endure. All in all, it isn't a cheery film, and the ending underscores that, at least in my view. It's a bit of an unexpected twist, but perhaps a humane one in some ways.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The box trumpets the transfer as being a pristine new high-def transfer, and it does little to disappoint, though the image retains a certain amount of haziness. The animated sequences are fairly spotless.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Mandarinno

Audio Transfer Review: A Dolby 2.0 mix of the original soundtrack is provided, which is in a mix of Mandarin, Shanxi dialect, and Russian. It sounds good, and the electronic score by Lim Giong thumps solidly through the speakers.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Insert interview with Jia, character sketches, World Park overview
  2. Photo gallery
Extras Review: The most interesting extras are contained in the insert, which has a guide to the characters with a sentence or so of background information on each, details about the World Park, and a series of quotes from Jia about the film and its subject matter. On the disc, a Canadian trailer for the film, based solely on an interview with film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, is so brief it doesn't give as much analysis of the film as most would like. There is also a photo gallery, which includes tantalizing shots of deleted scenes not included on the disc.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

The World is a fascinating, moving, and engrossing film, taking us to the other side of the world to see how changes wrought by the emerging capitalism in China have affected people there. The disc looks excellent, and contains relatively minimal, but still interesting extras.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, the good wife, cush jumbo, archie panjabi, julianna margulies, bbc3, class, doctor who, buffy the vampire slayer, hunger games, steven moffat, brian minchin, movie, the revenant, leonardo dicaprio, tom hardy, alejandro g. inarritu, christmas day release, comedy channel, trevor noah, daily show, jon stewart, music, global citizen festival, pearl jam, byonce, ed sheeran, eddie vedder, cbs, csi, ted danson, elisabeth shue, elisabeth harnois, william petersen, marg helgenberger, big brother, abc, liz, steve, vanessa, julia chen, dr. will, dancing with the stars, bindi irwin, derek, hough, chaka khan, emmys 2015, laurence fishburne, tracee ellis ross, anthony anderson, will forte, jeffrey tambor, kym johnson, shark tank, robert herjavec, jungle book, cgi, scarlet johansson, bill murray, ben kingsley, idris elba, christopher walken, drama, celebrity apprentice, arnold schwarzenegger, donald trump, nbc, taylor swift, bad blood, emmy award, original interactive program, the late show, stephen colbert, ashley madison, horror, silent, epcot international food & wine festival, walt disney world, the chew, october, celebrity, jimmy fallon, tonight show, dj khaled, all i do is win, country music awards, eric church, little big town, miranda lambert, kenny chesney, sam hunt, maddie & tae, kacey musgraves, chris stapleton, late night, jeb bush, george clooney, war room, straight outta compton, faith-based drama, a walk in the woods, robert redford, september 8, documentary, history, movies, steven spielberg, the bfg, dreamworks, walt disney company, fashion police, melissa rivers, kelly osbourne, giuliana rancic, zendaya, mtv vma, njcki minaj, miley cyrus, anaconda, jennifer lawrence, amy schumer, billy joel, uptown girls, chicago

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store