DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Lech Majewski
Josh Hartnett, John Malkovich, Bérénice Marlohe
Writing Credits:
Lech Majewski

Entwines Navajo lore with a reclusive trillionaire and his would-be biographer, creating a fascinating, mysterious and idiosyncratic vision of America.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 127 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 8/11/2020

• “Making of” Featurette
• Trailer & Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Valley of the Gods [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 8, 2020)

Given its title as well as a tagline that reads “Worlds Will Collide”, 2019’s Valley of the Gods sounds like it should offer an action/sci-fi effort. Instead, it brings a quirky character drama.

Wes Tauros (John Malkovich) amasses an estate worth trillions, but this doesn’t seem to satisfy him. Always eager to amass more wealth, he feels determined to mine Navajo territory for uranium.

Middle class journalist John Ecas (Josh Hartnett) endeavors to write a biography of Tauros, and this gives him an up-close view of the battle for the sacred lands. Tauros finds himself beset by legendary forces that he couldn’t anticipate, and Ecas documents these events.

That’s what we call a deceptive plot synopsis, mainly because it makes Valley look a lot more straightforward and linear than it is. In truth, this turns into abstract movie that rarely seems to demonstrate any discernible purpose.

Unless you just enjoy this kind of visual-oriented, semi-surreal experience, I guess. I can appreciate a movie that eschews traditional filmmaking to a degree, but I need to find some point to that work, and I struggle to do so with Valley.

Oh, I’m sure writer/director Lech Majewski came into Valley with clear goals, so I don’t believe he intended to make an impenetrable tale. However, Majewski can’t find a way to make much of this seem clear, as the only apparent message we take from the film equals “rich people bad, poor people good”.

And even that seems like a backdrop to the meandering nothingness we usually confront. Whatever purpose Majewski wants to pursue, the movie seems so stuck on its quirky sensibility and visual focus that we never grab hold of the meaning.

Valley often feels like an attempt to out-Malick Terrence Malick. The latter filmmaker’s influence seems abundantly clear, as Malick loves long films with lavish photography and loose narratives.

Even by Malick standards, though, Valley seems too unfocused. It comes across as loose plot and character ideas tossed into a blender and cobbled together without much real care for how matters progress.

Valley offers the kind of film in which we get no meaningful dialogue for its first 17 minutes, and even after that, the lines usually mean little. When we do find comments from the characters, the movie tends toward monologues with language that no one would actually use.

When Valley attempts insights, it seems feeble. For instance, at one point, we get the “deep” observation that people prefer the safety of their own little prisons versus the challenges of a more complex world. That’s a revelation?

Perhaps Valley comes chock full of meaning and emotion and I’m just too much of a dope to understand it. Or perhaps it offers a dull, pretentious bore that mistakes incoherence for substance. I lean toward the latter view.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Valley of the Gods appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a consistently positive presentation.

Sharpness came across well. Occasional interiors demonstrated a smidgen of softness, but not to a major degree, so most of the flick appeared accurate and concise.

I saw no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. No print flaws interfered with the image.

In terms of palette, Valley often opted for an amber/orange palette to suit the desert landscape. The colors seemed appropriately developed given these choices.

Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows seemed clear and smooth. I thought the transfer worked fine.

I also felt pleased with the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, though I can’t claim it excelled. Much of the material concentrated on environment, as the film lacked many moments that made compelling use of the channels.

Still, the track balanced well and created a good sense of the various settings. We got som enough action to add involvement to the package. Music also used the speakers nicely and gave a boost to the soundtrack.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech seemed concise and distinctive, while music was full and dynamic.

Effects showed good accuracy and clarity. Though never an especially memorable soundtrack, the mix suited the movie.

A Making of featurette spans 19 minutes, 15 seconds and offers notes from writer/director Lech Majewski and actors Keir Dullea, Bérénice Marlohe, Josh Hartnett, and John Malkovich.

The featurette looks at story/themes, Majewski’s impact on the production, sets and locations, and working on green screens. Some useful notes emerge, but much of the show exists to praise Majewski.

The disc opens with ads for Cut Throat City, The Legend of Tomiris, and A Soldier’s Revenge. We also get a trailer for Valley.

Essentially a plot-free two-hour visit with unhappy people who wallow in their misery, Valley of the Gods offers a long ride to nowhere. Slow, boring and pointless, the movie brings a tedious experience. The Blu-ray offers solid picture and audio but it lacks substantial bonus materials. Avoid this snoozer.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main