Twilight Time Blu-ray: Heaven & Earth (1993)

Heaven & Earth (1993)

Blu-Ray Company Release: Twilight Time

Starring: Hiep Thi Le, Tommy Lee Jones, Joan Chen, Haing S. Ngor

Plot: Born in a small, peaceful village in French Colonial Vietnam, Le Ly (Hiep Thi Le), like her country, is thrown into chaos inflicted equally by the Viet Cong, the South Vietnamese government, and invading American forces. Brutalized in every imaginable way, this young woman looks for rescue to an American soldier (Tommy Lee Jones), only to find more trouble in store when she comes to America as his bride.

My Review and Thoughts

Film: (4/5)

I have always felt this was an underrated Oliver Stone film. I remember seeing it in the theater when it came out and fell in love with it. I was very happy that Twilight Time Blu-ray decided to choose it for one of its special edition release of 3 thousand copies. Finally this powerful drama has an outlet of perfection on this amazing Blu-ray. This is given the treatment it deserves just like all the films Twilight Time chooses to release.

This is considered a part of Oliver Stone’s Vietnam War trilogy of films. Stone always has away with telling gritty stories and also giving the story he is detailing a voice. Heaven and Earth showcased a wonderful drama mixed with haunting images and also an understanding of life. Stone adapted this from two books When Heaven and Earth Changed Places and also Child of War, Woman of Peace which both where written by Le Yy Hayslip. These books are based on her true story during this unforgettable and horrible war.

Like I have said I never understood the negative reviews for the film. I never understood why the movie seemed to bomb. It has an extraordinary story, acting and a music soundtrack that is mind numbing. The soundtrack won Best Original Score at the 1993 Golden Globe Awards and it deserved it. This beautiful Blu-ray expresses the beauty, haunting drama induced music by composer Kitaro. Kitaro is a music god. His stunning expertise in the logic, beauty and exploration of sound through the heart strings of soul inducing artistry that shines still inside the viewer long after it’s over. It specifically shines in Heaven & Earth. Kitaro’s work is a masterpiece of historical music. That is what is so passionate about Twilight Time Blu-ray is the special features for their products, which is the isolated scores to the films they bring out. Sadly and heartbreaking is this is not one of the special features to this release. You do get an Alternate Opening with his score as a special feature which is great and worthy to buy the disc just for that, but sadly I felt hollow without the special feature that I am always looking forward to on these discs. Don't let that stop you from buying this amazing product because it deserves to be owned on any movie lover’s shelf.

The lack of isolated score does not take away from the mastery of this special edition. Twilight Time has given the beauty to the film that it deserves. Plus you the alternative opening with Kitaro's score which is a plus.

Now what makes this film passionate and thought provoking and truly original is that Stone took the inside Horrors of War in Platoon and then took the horrors of the after math of war in Born on the 4th of July, but in Heaven & Earth he lets the viewer experience the idea of this horrible painful and disturbing war through the eyes of a Vietnamese woman. To me this film is an honest portrait of family and the reality of one’s home and how the roots of life flow through the earth to tell ones story. Stone took an amazing story and told the world through his visionary talent and the word play of Le Ly Hayslip that there are many sides to the dynamics of war and those affected by war.

Why is this a landmark film, because it feels as if it's a natural setting? The believable reality and the logical emotional ordeal of the other side of war. This is a different view of the Vietnam setting and it explores not only the underlining purpose of the movie, (the effects of War) but the very foundations of those directly involved with the horrors around them. Its one thing for you and I, or at least those who have never been to war or dealt with war to sit by and not get it or understand it or feel the emotional bond that these involved with war experience. I, living in America, which for the most part has never been attacked full scale. We have had or lone terrorist and an attack on Pearl Harbor but in reality we have never truly experienced war on our own land. This film lets you experience a woman and her surroundings and her ultimate uprooting. She then is rooted, into a new place, different and shocking.

The outstanding cast of performers is also what makes this stand out. This is one of Tommy Lee Jones best performances. He shines in the art of acting. He lets you experience his emotional reality to his character. He gives a sense of hardness, of love, of darkness. His character is given ultimate life through his performance. I really enjoyed and felt and became enthralled with Hiep Thi Le as your main character. She gives you a reality based setting of her plight. She allows you to experience everything her character experiences. Both Jones and Le come together to craft chemistry and understanding of their roles and personas.
Stone gives you a personal side of the human aspects of war. He gives you the eye view and visceral experience of the emotional makeup of heart and soul of those involved.

A brilliant film that deserves accolades. Twilight Time did this film justice. They allowed the beauty and brilliance of this film to be showcased and experienced in a whole new way through the craftsmanship of hard work in bringing this to a Special Edition Blu-ray.

Audio/Video: (5/5)

The best I have ever seen it. A lot better than it was on the theater. It’s vibrant and very crisp in image and the sound is stunning. Twilight Time aced it yet again with the beauty they give to the art form of cinema through there amazing skills and love for protecting and bringing out top quality products of importance.

VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA
1993 / Color

Extras: (4/5)

Wonderful special features. Loved the alternate opening and the deleted scenes. Amazing commentary by Oliver Stone. The winner of this special features is the Alternate Opening. Another wonderful special feature is always the insert booklet by Julia Kirgo. I always look forward to these booklets. So informative and passionate in expressing the films Twilight Time brings out.

Audio Commentary with Director Oliver Stone / Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary/ Alternate Opening with Score from Kitaro / Original Theatrical Trailer

Overall: (4/5)

Loved it. Experienced it in a whole new fashion of the art form of Blu-ray. Beautiful and vibrant like it’s never been seen. Twilight Time did another great job and gave another great movie watching experience that I expect from them.


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