Three Thousand Years of Longing

With such heavyweight Hollywood hits as the Witches of Eastwick, the Happy Feet movies, Lorenzo’s Oil, and of course, the Mad Max films – namely Mad Max: Fury Road which reignited the Miller fascination, there's simply no denying George Miller's place in the pantheon of extraordinary filmmakers. The guy just delivers time and time again.

However, there's a somewhat glaring hole in his diverse portfolio. Though known for his openness and enthusiasm for trying something new, he's never really delved into romance… that is, until now. And By George, he pulls it off with his latest film called Three Thousand Years of Longing, an extraordinarily inventive film about storytelling that brings together elements of action, adventure, and historical epic as it explores the great and powerful mystery of love.

"plenty of eye candy and an endless supply of whimsy and imagination"

The films stars Tilda Swinton as academic narratologist Alithea Binnie, a specialist at being an observer and content with her rather solitary study of storytelling and its importance through the ages. On her most recent trip to Istanbul, Alithea discovers a curious bottle in the bargain bin of a local bazaar. While attempting to clean the bottle, she unknowingly releases a mystical genie, a Djinn (Idris Elba) who must grant her three wishes in exchange for his freedom.

Naturally, the big predicament here is the fact that Djinn adds a few ground rules to the wish game such as not allowing her to wish for more wishes, can’t ask for eternal life, can’t pardon sin, etc., so there’s a fun little game within a game going on as we begin to ruminate the three wishes question in our own mind

Being a scholar of storytelling and possessing a wealth of awareness of all the cautionary tales of wishes gone wrong, Alithea’s skepticism doesn’t go unnoticed by the Djinn who pleads his case by launching into the fantastical stories of his past and how he ended up in the bottle in the first place.Three Thousand Years of Longing

And that’s how most of the film plays out - switching back and forth between their hotel room three-wish dilemma and visiting Djinn’s back story that gets into the complexities of love and desire and how falling in love, sharing human emotions, wants, and desires were the reasons for him ending up in the bottle… more than once. He’s showing a genuine vulnerability to gain his rescuer’s confidence. You’ll just have to watch it to find out if his tactic works, though.

Miller and his daughter Augusta Gore wrote the film’s script based on a short story by A.S. Byatt. Together they’ve created a fun little adult fairytale, the likes of which we don’t get much anymore. It’s a grand undertaking which not only explores the curious fringes of reality and fantasy, but also takes a deep exploration into what it is to be human.

And Miller and Gore mostly succeed with visually dazzling portrayals of historical events that take us to the court of The Queen of Sheba, and to the 19th century Ottoman Empire. Even the film’s more quiet, contemplative moments which take place mainly in the hotel room, find some gravitas as their script has plenty of astute observations about human nature and storytelling itself.

There’s a deliciously realized thread of self-awareness that snakes its way through the story. After all, this is a story about storytelling, and the creativity and imagination are off the charts throughout. Many scenes are absolutely breathtaking with beautifully rendered CGI moments, but as the third act played out, I just couldn’t shake the notion that as a whole, it isn’t quite as clever and brilliant as it thinks it is. As it all wraps up, and wishes come to be realized, it stumbles when taking that final step to greatness. And that’s too bad, as Hollywood has grown reluctant, of late, to take chances on films like this.

But as it is, with plenty of eye candy and an endless supply of whimsy and imagination, Three Thousand Years of Longing is far from a waste of time. However, I found myself, ahem, longing for a bit more magic.

3/5 stars

 Three Thousand Years of Longing

4k details divider

4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Warner Bros., MGM
Available on Blu-ray/4k UHD
- November 15, 2022
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English SDH; Spanish
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Discs: 4K Ultra HD; Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: 4K region-free; blu-ray locked to Region A

Warner Bros. and MGM team up to bring to glorious 4K UHD, George Miller's first foray into the the romance genre, Three Thousand Years of Longing, with a nice little 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital Code edition housed in a black eco-case. Notably absent is the cardboard slipcover. This is a good thing, my friends, as we don't need them. But we do need trees, so thanks, MGM and Warner Bros. Let's hope this trend gets adopted more widely. There is another glaring oversight that we'll get into a bit later.


If ever there was a film made for the 4K world, this would be it. The 2.39:1, 2160p native 4K picture with Dolby Vision HDR10 is a good as it gets. Miller incorporates an inordinate amount of CGI into his picture, and despite the impressive sharpness and clarity throughout, the technical merit of the CGI never looks fake or out of place.

Another of the film's indulgences is its use of color. And all is handled expertly. Every scene bursts forth from the screen with a sumptuous vibrance, while skin tones remain true and natural. There is also a great deal of darkness, whether it be in dimly-lit bath houses or pitch dark bowels of castles or tunnels, and Miller's colors pop against the dark backgrounds. This is demonstration quality stuff that will absolutely reinforce your belief in the 4K UHD format. It is that impressive!


Accompanying the film are an English language Dolby Atmos track as well as an English language Dolby trueHD 7.1 track that rattle the room with strong bass rumbles and swooshing overhead movement as Djinn flies around the room. Absolutely spectacular use of the sound stage.


Hear that? That's the sound of disappointment coming from the film's fans upon the discovery that there is no bonus material on the disc. None. Zilch. Not even a trailer. Miller's lavishly appointed film aches for a properly handled CGI making-of featurette, but alas, nope. Such a disappointment!


  • None

Special Features:

There is none. Not even a trailer.

4k rating divider

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 0/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars


Film Details

Three Thousand Years of Longing

MPAA Rating: R for some sexual content, graphic nudity and brief violence.
108 mins
: George Miller
George Miller; Augusta Gore
Tilda Swinton; Idris Elba; Pia Thunderbolt
: Fantasy | Romance
What would you wish for?
Memorable Movie Quote: "If there is fate, who can say? But in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, I chose a memento."
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 26,2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 15, 2022.
Synopsis: A lonely scholar, on a trip to Istanbul, discovers a Djinn who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom.


Three Thousand Years of Longing