on December 26, 1998
Originally released as an IMAX film in the mid-80s, Chronos on DVD unfortunately can not match the power of the IMAX experience. But really; what TV can compete with a 5-story-high screen? I saw the film three times in IMAX and each time I saw something new and amazing. I couldn't wait to get this film on DVD. Any shortcomings the Chronos DVD has are related to the size and clarity of the image as displayed on a television, not the film's content. The images of earthly constructions both natural and man-made are drop-dead-gorgeous, and the music -- a nonstop electronic instrumental score -- is mesmerizing. At roughly 45 minutes in length, you'll not want it to end. The disc has a spare and clunky interface and no special features, but who cares? Chronos is a wonder that I find myself watching again and again.
on January 17, 2010
Playing my Chronos Blu-Ray I was literally shocked at the incredibly poor image quality that was possible in a transfer to Blu-Ray. As one reviewer stated - even some standard-def DVDs look better. The image resolution is not what I expected from a HD format. Excessive grain permeates even the brightly lit scenes. The constant brightness shifting or flickering was simply annoying and was present throughout the entire presentation. The shaky image in the first Grand Canyon scene looked amateurish. I thought Chronos in Blu-Ray would be an impressive feature to show off the capabilities of HD , unfortunately I would be embarrassed to show this to anyone.
The subject matter of Chronos was impressive in some locations but the harmonious blend from scene to scene that was displayed in Baraka was not present , simply a conglomeration of shots that seemed to be added together with no real theme. The dated music (even by 1980s standards) by Michael Stearns makes watching this poor quality Blu-Ray that much more unbearable.
Basically the worst image quality Blu-Ray I have ever watched.
on May 10, 2008
I saw this when IMAX was brand new (last century) and was blown away by the scope and beauty of the piece. I was so happy to get it on DVD (I had VHS,too). But this Blu-Ray version is definatly the best! I'll admit, while it doesn't look as "perfect" as say, "Cars" on BD, it is very much VERY WATCHABLE and only the very pickiest of video geeks would be distracted by the PRACTICALLY NON-EXISTANT grain, outline or color uneveness. A much better transfer than I expected, near perfect, especially considering the age of the film. The DRS company did a fine job.
As far as the film itself, this is a "Bolero". Not intended for ADD viewers or fast food consumers. This is art, not product. It's Fricke's first major film (that I'm aware of). It's a beautiful exploration of the passing of time with unpresidented cinematography. Films like this are why I got my big screen hi-def TV and BD player. Other movies are fun, and look great, it's true, but Fricke's work a whole different world.
on January 30, 2010
I loved (and still do) Baraka on BluRay, and thought this may be similar. While the scene choices are dramatic, it becomes quite obvious that the filming technology (or the scanning of the original film) is far below current BluRay players. It's deceiving to sell this title on BluRay as that implies superb picture quality, and I totally disappointed in what is delivered. I would return this if I could get any portion of a credit, but it sat for the holidays, and was not viewed, so too much time went by (I assume). This is a total waste of time, as the people who scanned the original film either compressed it digitally WAY TOO MUCH, or the original film is just not that great. It's only just beyond normal DVD quality. I watched it for about 10 minutes, was disgusted, and it has never been on since. Ron Fricke's Baraka is so superb on BluRay, I keep telling myself it was a 'vote' towards his films, and hope for another Baraka some day.
Chronos on BluRay is grainy, choppy and I could not stand to view it for more than 10 minutes. I have many BluRay films, and have superb results with picture quality using the same setup (BluRay player over HDMI using a 46" Sharp 700UN series LCD-LED HDTV on 1080P).
If you are expecting crystal clear images, you will be disappointed, I certainly was.
If you do not own Baraka, STOP and buy that INSTEAD of Chronos! That film, on BluRay, can be found for a similar price and its image quality (on BluRay) is superb (plus the film is superb on ANY medium. Saw it for the first time on VHS and loved it!). I found 'Chronos' to be boring, as it did not 'suck me in' Like Baraka does (even after seeing it many many many times).
The idea is the same on both movies, and it may just be that Chronos being 6 years before Baraka just did not have the technological 'umph'? I bought Chronos BASED on Baraka and the fact that Ron Fricke did them both. I wish I had read the negative reviews on Amazon, but looked (lazily) at the overall star rating and because I am so impressed with Ron Fricke's Baraka. Luckily I only paid about $10 for Chronos, so not a huge deal. I would sell it at a yardsale for $1...
But in taking the time to write this review, I want to be accurate about what buyers will see, and give proper expectations to people considering purchasing Chronos.
on March 13, 2004
Released in 1985, "Chronos" is a forty-minute long "visual-music journey". It is a Presentation of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater of San Diego, California and S.E.M. Lagode, Paris, France.
"Chronos" was filmed on location at over sixty sites around the globe. Images of significant natural beauty, architectural complexity, iconic historical sculpture and various panoramic cityscapes were captured on 70mm film using mostly slow motion and time lapse cinematography.
The wordless narrative structure of the work primarily attempts to convey feelings of reverence and appreciation for the breath-taking subject matter. In addition, it also suggests states of significant anxiety experienced as a consequence of the pace and complexity of modern urban life.
Electronic music, composed and performed by Michael Stearns, is thoroughly integrated with the considered, slowly paced editing of Alton Walpole and Ron Fricke. Image and sound interpenetrate one another to suggest and convey the eloquent wordless scenario, which was conceived by both Constantine and Genevieve Nicholas.
Having begun as cinematographer for director Godfrey Reggio's film "Koyaanisqatsi", we see with "Chronos" that Ron Fricke helped to sow the visual and conceptual seeds of wordless narrative film. This medium finally bore satisfying fruit with 1992's feature length work "Baraka". "Chronos", however, remains as essential viewing.
By this passionate evidence of Mr. Fricke's ongoing struggle, we see that their is, at last, some sign of harmonious life beyond the scenario of Godfrey Reggio's dire trilogy.
on April 9, 2006
I remember seeing "Chronos" way back in 1987 at the IMAX theater in Los Angeles. I thought it was really great, especially the fantastic soundtrack by Michael Stearns and Constance Demby. This DVD is beautifully done, a better quality version of the IMAX experience. I do agree that the layout of scenes should have been more progressive from location to location instead of jumping from one location of the world to another. Even with this error in editing pace, the film stands as a wonderful tribute to the beauty of nature and chaotic life on Earth. I've always loved seeing time-lapse photography in action. It's amazing how a city at night, like Los Angeles in the film, appears as if it is a big circuit board with constant energy currents flowing through it where the freeways are located. This film has awakened my keen desire to get the soundtrack. It is wonderfully atmospheric with celestial tones that bring the listener into a realm of aural pleasure. The DVD also has an audio commentary track well worth listening too. Michael Stearns, Alton Walpole and Ron Fricke give a lot of interesting facts on a scene-by-scene perspective of the production. There are also some in-depth behind-the-scenes featurettes that give more info. on how the film was created as well, plus plenty of textual info on the locations, people and other movie-related things. For me, I loved the short featurette by Michael Steans on "The Beam" instrument used for soundtrack. Another excellent IMAX movie created by Ron Fricke and Michael Stearns at the same time as "Chronos" was "Sacred Site", which played as a double bill with "Chronos" in 1987. I really like this movie, more so the soundtrack. As mentioned before, the only thing that stands out as a slight negative point is the weird editing style of jumping around to different worldly locations so quickly instead of progressively moving from one place to another. One minute you are in Monument Valley, Arizona and the next you are viewing the Giza Pyramids in Eygpt, then you're on Lake Powell in Utah. I don't mind, but it is an odd way of editing.
on January 8, 2006
It has come as a shock to learn that a truly, Special Edition of this pre-cursor to Baraka exists. I have owned the laserdisc to Chronos for a long time. Suffice to say, the IMAX picture featured on this dvd is STUNNING; it is a vast improvement over what I've seen before. This version contains a multitude of extras: commentary, a shot-list, and much more. WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN NOW: I am on my knees begging for the SAME treatment to be done to Ron Fricke's masterpiece - BARAKA. The current dvd edition of that film is woefully slight, featuring only as an extra an 8 minute "featurette" - nothing more. If only Baraka could be remastered, be given a commentary by Fricke, and DEFINITELY a subtitling option listing the name of each location (full shot-list) would serve humanity itself for the greater good. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!
on September 2, 2011
I had hoped this would be similar to the WONDERFUL Baraka movie. That film is epic, engaging and memorable. This film was in contrast terrible. The quality someone chose during the transfer to bluray was a disaster. I should have returned it while I could. Luckily I only paid ten dollars for this. Baraka is phenomenal in comparison...
on December 30, 2008
I bought the Blu-ray version after having watched Baraka in the same format.
This is a far worse transfer then Baraka, the image is shows alot of grain and other film artifacts, alot of viewers will literally be able to see the film running, since alot of it is timelapse based it will give you a headache very quickly as the screen will flash.
First of all Chronos cannot really be compared to Baraka in anyway, as it's earlier and more experimental in its nature, alot of people come to see it and expect to see Baraka 2.0, it's not, its really for the fans of Ron Fricke who would want to see how he went about creating Baraka after having started sketching out the concepts in Chronos. There is a directors commentary on the disc however which is a great addition.
Besides that there is absolutely no other extras at ALL. Simple written location notes are not extras in my view.
I still love it as I watched the films in order from Koyannisqasti, to Chronos to Baraka but I think most people would not so I would recommend to stay away.
on January 10, 2010
I LOVE this movie....love it...but after watching it for 5 minutes, I realized that the transfer is just crap! Whomever did the compression from Imax film to Blu-ray should be fired. The amount of grain is almost too much to handle...and destroys the majesty of this film. Most of my SD DVD's look better...and this is Blu-ray! HD! Honestly...it's crap. If you want to see another film by this legendary director, get the Blu-ray of Baraka...the transfer to Blu-ray is the best out there....BY FAR!! I highly recommend it. I do not recommend this copy of Chronos...until they re-issue it with proper compression and transfer techniques.