The Lost City of Z (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 12, 2017 by  

Jim Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” is an entertaining film based on a true story of the mysterious disappearance of explorer Percy Fawcett in 1925. Featuring a wonderful performance by Charlie Hunnam., while the film shows one man’s dream, his ambitions as an explorer and his drive, we also see a man consumed by this obsession to find the lost ancient city where the risk is high.  I found it to be a satisfying and entertaining film but it may not be for everyone.  But I still feel it’s a film worth recommending!

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TITLE: The Lost City of Z


DURATION: 141 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1 aspect ratio, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS Digital Surround 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH, Espanol

COMPANY: Broad Green Pictures

RATED: PG-13 (Violence, Disturbing Images, Brief Strong Language and Some Nudity)

RELEASE DATE: July 11, 2017

Based on the book by David Grann

Directed by James Gray

Screenplay by James Gray

Produced by Jeff Abberley, Diane Miller Levin, Jamie Patricof

Executive Producer: Julia Blackman, Marc Butan, Jessica Chastain, Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Monroe, Joanne Sennitt, Pete Shilaimon, Michael Tollin, Robbie Tollin, Kevan Van Thompson

Co-Producer: Katie McNeill

Music by Harry Gregson-Williams

Cinematography by Andrij Parekh

Edited by David Coulson

Production Design by Suzie Davies

Art Direction: Jan Kalous, Dan Taylor, Magdalena Zemanova

Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Costume Design: Bina Daigeler


Charlie Hunnam as Percy Fawcett

Robert Pattinson as Henry Costin

Sienna Miller as Nina Fawcett

Tom Holland as Jack Fawcett

Edward Ashley as Arthur Mansley

Angus Macfadyen as James Murray

Ian McDiarmid as Sir George Goldie

Clive Francis as Sir John Scott Keltie

The Lost City of Z tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as “savages”, the determined Fawcett- supported by his devoted wife, son and aide de camp returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating his mysterious disappearance in 1925.

In 1925, British geographer, archaeologist and explorer Percy Fawcett and his eldest son disappeared during an expedition to find “Z”, Fawcett’s name for an ancient lost city in the jungles of Brazil.

The mystery of the disappearance of both men have been discussed and debated for decades and to this very day, no one knows the what happened to both men during their expedition.

While there have been numerous films, stories and characters based on Percy Fawcett’s explorations, probably the best known inspirations of Fawcett include Professor Challenger (for Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World”) and may be a possible inspiration for Indiana Jones.

But to explore Percy Fawcett, author David Grann explored the life of Captain Percy Fawcett in his 2009 non-fiction book “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession the in Amazon” and how he fell in love or was obsessed of trying to find “Z”.

The book received critical praise and also criticism but it is no doubt a fascinating exploration of Fawcett and his accomplishments.  Enough to receive a film adaptation courtesy of filmmaker/screenwriter James Gray (“The Immigrant”, “We Own the Night”, “Two Lovers”).

The film stars Charlie Hunnam (“Pacific Rim”, “Sons of Anarchy”, “Children of Men”), Robert Pattinson (“Twilight” films, “Remember Me”), Sienna Miller (“Foxcatcher”, “Burnt”, “Stardust”), Tom Holland (“The Impossible”, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, “Captain America: Civil War”), Edward Ashley (“In the Heart of the Sea”, “Last Tango in Halifax”, “Winter”), Agnes Macfadyen (“Braveheart”, “We Bought a Zoo”, “Equilibrium”), Ian McDiarmid (“Star Wars” films) and Clive Francis (“Mr. Turner”, “Sharpe’s Company”).

And now the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Broadgreen Pictures/Amazon Studios.

The film begins in the early 1900’s and introduces us to Percy Fawcett (portrayed by Charlie Hunnam), a skilled horseman, marksman and a man married to Nina (portrayed by Sienna Miller) and has a baby named Jack.

As Percy is sent to London to meet with officials of the Royal Geographical Society, because Bolivia and Brazil are close to war due to their mutual boundary, the British government are asked to survey it.  And Percy is given the job to lead the survey party but also to help restore his family’s good name.

With the assistance of Cpl. Henry Costin (portrayed by Robert Pattinson), who has knowledge of the Amazon rainforest.  And as the two and their party go through the Amazon forest, their Amazonian scout Tadjui tells them stories of a city covered in gold and full of people but hidden deep inside the jungle.  No one believes Tadjui until Fawcett discovers advanced broken pottery and small stone statues and realizes that Tadjui may be telling the truth.

When Fawcett returns, Nina had given birth to their second son but she also discovered a conquistador text which has information about a city deep in the Amazon jungle.  As Fawcett meets renowned biologist James Murray (portrayed by Angus Macfayden), Murray funds the expedition to fin what Fawcett has dubbed the mysterious city as “The Lost City of Z”.

But what happens when Fawcett, Costin, Murray and others revisit the Amazon jungle?  And through the years of trying to look for this lost city, how would his children, growing older, especially his wife and eldest son Jack (portrayed by Tom Holland) feel about Charlie’s obsession with the lost city and not being there for his own family?  Will Fawcett ever find “Z”?


“The Lost City of Z” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39 1 aspect ratio). Featuring close-ups with very good detail, the film looks very good as a lot of the scenes were shot outdoors.

Cinematography by Darius Khondji (“Amour”, “Midnight in Paris”, “Se7en”) is fantastic!

I didn’t notice any major artifacts, banding or issues with picture quality during my viewing of the film.


“The Lost City of Z” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DVS 2.0 and Espanol DTS Digital Surround 5.1. Dialogue is crystal clear and surround channels utilize environment ambiance.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Espanol and Francais.


“The Lost City of Z” comes with the following special features:

  • Feature Film Commentary –  Featuring audio commentary by director James Gray.
  • Adventure in the Jungle – (2:21) A short featurette with interviews with James Gray and cast.
  • Expedition Journal – A photo gallery from the film.
  • From Novel to Screen – (3:10) A featurette about bringing David Grann’s non-fiction book to the big screen.

Part of the fascination of watching James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” is knowing there was an explorer who would go far and find the lost city of a legendary city known as “Z”.

And adding more dimension to the film is reading the plethora of articles surrounding Gray’s exploration and the mystery surrounding what may or may not have happened to Percy Fawcett and his eldest son.

Was he obsessed with “Z”?  What was it that allured Percy Watson to leave his family to go to the Amazon jungle?

Part of the difficult of creating a movie about Watson is by going off information, may it be fact or fiction but then adding your own personal human understanding of how one would feel and then put it on film.  Filmmaker James Gray discusses this about how he interpreted various things, from his research and was able to craft the film.

But Gray’s interpretation, while still one of the stories of what may have happened to Percy Watson and his eldest son Jack is still a mystery and may be kept a mystery that will attract attention as much as the disappearance of American pilot, Amelia Earhart.  A lot of theories but no one knows the truth of what happened to them and throughout the years, people who are still fascinated by the mystery will continue to make films, write articles and more stories that make them more legendary.

There are many men and women who are driven by their goals and while others may hurt in the process, what we do know is that Gray was consumed by being the person of finding “Z”, no matter the danger.  It was his path that surpassed his wanting to be there for his family.  According to the film, he felt that as the adventurer, his wife would be the caretaker of the children.

The film does try to show the independent side of Nina, who challenges her husband for not bringing her to the Amazon and also the pain that his eldest son Jack has carried for his father not being there for him.

Part of the problem for this type of film is that it takes a while to generate any significant climax because the film is presented in arcs.  The first expedition of discovery, the second expedition with bringing someone who was not fit to travel in the jungle to ruin the expedition and the third featuring Percy and Jack.   For those who are captivated by the determination of Percy, will no doubt be drawn by the adventure.  But for those seeking some sort of build-up, it’s kind of hard when you know how this film will pretty much end.

For me, I’m of the former who enjoys the determination and persistence of one being driven to being the first man to discover a long lost ancient city, taking on any adversity that comes his way.

I know that for a few of my female friends who have watched the film, they thought Percy was a jerk for leaving his family for years to pursue this adventure.  Either way how you feel, it’s valid.  What Percy did in terms of an explorer was cool in an archaeological way, but in terms of leaving your children with a mother for years, to the point that your children don’t know who you are, that’s not really cool at all.

But once again, this film is based on David Grann’s non-fiction book and also included filmmaker James Gray’s own interpretations as well.  If anything, the subject matter will no doubt make one want to do research after the film is over.

As for the Blu-ray, the film looks wonderful in HD.  With the lush greens of the jungle, close up details are fantastic and for the most part, having a film shot outdoors, especially with the wonderful cinematography by Darius Khondji, added to the wonderful visuals of the film.

Lossless audio is also just as great with wonderful ambiance being captured of the jungle to the surround channels.  Dialogue and music are crystal clear and there are numerous special features included as well.

Overall, Jim Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” is an entertaining film based on a true story of the mysterious disappearance of explorer Percy Fawcett in 1925. Featuring a wonderful performance by Charlie Hunnam., while the film shows one man’s dream, his ambitions as an explorer and his drive, we also see a man consumed by this obsession to find the lost ancient city where the risk is high.  I found it to be a satisfying and entertaining film but it may not be for everyone.  But I still feel it’s a film worth recommending!

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