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The Movie's Great! The Packaging is Weird... *Updated*
on March 25, 2013
I've owned the original "10th Kingdom" DVD set for more than 10 years now and have watched it many times, so I mainly bought this newer 2013 edition as a back up (because at such a low cost, why not?). I've run through the discs to see if there are any differences in this new edition, and yes, there are some differences.
The main thing that I noticed right away is the presentation of the episodes: in the original DVD set, there where 3 discs, with the opening titles at the beginning of the first disc only, and the mini-series was presented as one, very long movie. In this new set, there are still three discs, but the story is presented in the way they were aired - as 5 separate parts. I personally would have liked the mini-series to be presented the same way as the older DVDs, but at least this new set allows the viewer to enjoy the opening titles with each episode (and those titles are amazing, I doubt anyone'd get sick of it).
The Special Features in the new set are fewer than the older set, but really, that won't matter much. The 20 minute making-of featurette is identical in both editions (it appears to have been a promo for the mini-series on NBC) and it's got some fun bloopers and such - It was the only special feature worth viewing on the old DVD set, so you really aren't missing out on anything here. The featurette is on the last disc instead of the first, but is not labeled at all.
The menu screens are fairly simple, containing the chapter selections (there are surprisingly few - about 6 chapters per 1.5 hour episode) and the 2 episodes.
The packaging is why I gave this item four stars. It is the most unusual DVD case I've seen. The case is the size of an average single DVD case, which is great, but the discs are held in separate paper sleeves, which are housed in a squarish plastic mold that holds the sleeve corners. You'll have to be pretty careful with the sleeve because if the corners get worn or flimsy, the plastic case will do no good. I really don't understand the logic here.
Overall, I definitely recommend this DVD set. It's a great deal for a 7-and-a-half hour adventure with comedy, drama, a few scares, and a romance fit for a fairy tale. You can't beat the price, and the whole thing is pretty family appropriate (see other reviews for more details on content). It's presented in Full-Screen (it was made for TV, so there probably won't ever be a Wide-Screen release), and the picture is clear.
The main plot is about a young woman and her dad after they magically travel to a land where the classic fairy tales actually happened. They try to find their way back home, but they've got a prince who was transformed into a dog as their companion, a half-wolf who's loyalties are complicated, and a mercenary hunter after them all. If you like modern storytelling with throwbacks to classic fairy and folk tales - complete with an evil stepmother! - you'll love this movie!
UPDATE: I reviewed the picture quality of a certain scene to answer a question in the comments, and the picture quality seems to be pretty good for a DVD (I played it in my BluRay player on a high-def screen), but in doing so, I realized two things, both negative.
First, the packaging is annoying! What I thought at first was just unusual has become frustrating and tedious. Switching discs is cumbersome, and without good lighting, good luck getting everything in/out of the sleeves and case.
Second, I was trying to jump to a scene on disc one, Part Two, by using the scene selection feature, but it turns out that selecting any scene from Part Two would take you to the same scene number, but in Part One! I was trying to get to the Snow White Cottage scene, but would be taken to the prison scenes from the other episode... Seemed a bit of a sloppy mistake, but one that would probably never really hinder your enjoyment of the show.
I have decided that I actually prefer the layout on the old set, where the whole miniseries is presented as one long movie, rather than this newer set's presentation of each episode separately. For newcomers to the series or the DVD, this won't matter at all, so if you're in doubt, the pros outnumber the cons - Buy it!