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Riverworld

3.3 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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(Jun 22, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Matt, an American journalist, and his fiancée Jessie are killed in an explosion, but reawaken in a very unusual afterlife—a mysterious planet with an endless river terrain. Everyone who has ever lived on Earth has been resurrected simultaneously in this strange new world. Determined to find Jessie, Matt joins forces with an intrepid crew including a 13th century female warrior and Riverboat captain Mark Twain. Embarking upriver, their adventure begins, all the while tracked by the watchful eye of a mysterious alien force.

Special Features

Behind the scenes with Alan Cumming
Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Tahmoh Penikett, Laura Vandervoort, Mark Deklin, Peter Wingfield, Jeananne Goossen
  • Directors: Stuart Gillard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2010
  • Run Time: 178 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0039PGH9G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,697 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Riverworld" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
What is Riverworld? That was one of many questions swirling through the epic, emotive Syfy miniseries "Riverworld," an adaptation of Philip Jose Farmer's epic science fiction masterpiece. "Riverworld" tells the story of Matt Ellerman (Tahmoh Penikett, "Battlestar Galactica", "Dollhouse"), a war zone journalist, as he wakes from death along the banks of a seemingly endless river where everyone who lived and died on the earth has been reborn into their youthful bodies. But what is the purpose of this place? Why has Matt been "chosen" by the blue-skinned alien Caretakers? Is it an afterlife or a purgatory? What *is* Riverworld?

These questions and more fuel this strange journey along the banks of an endless river, populated with a lively cast of characters each with their own agenda. As Matt begins the search for his missing fiance, Jesse (Laura Vandervoort, "V", "Smallville"), he runs afoul of Sir Richard Burton (Peter Wingfield) and Francisco Pizzaro, joins forces with Samuel Clemins, a.k.a. Mark Twain (Mark Deklin), and begins an epic journey along the mighty and endless river to find the source of Riverworld and find answers to his many questions.

"Riverworld" raises many questions over the course of its four hours, and not all of them are answerable. While questioning the very purpose of humanity on an alien world, "Riverworld" neatly dodges overloading the viewers with existential angst while providing thrilling action and fascinating glimpses into the microcosms of history that have developed along the banks of the titular river: Francisco Pizarro's conquering Spanish army and the slave camps they've set up as part of their empire, and Mark Twain's riverboat and its memorable crew draw polar opposites of the good and the bad arising in the Riverworld.
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Today the SyFy channel showed this updated 4-hour version of this movie. It is not the one with Brad Johnson. I have seen that one and it is not even close to being as good as this version. I just hope that if I pre-order this one I don't get the older one. Okay, there are some actors/actresses in here whom I don't know by name. I had to go to the SyFy channel web-site to find the names. The main actors are, Alan Cumming, Tahmoh Penikett, Laura Vandervoort, Peter Wingfield and Jeananne Goossen who plays this fine Japanese female Samurai warrior. Also from the SyFy site, the DVD movie is 178 minutes long. From what I remember from the first movie, there are more female lead characters in this one. Old people come back in their prime years, around 25-35 years old and there are no children. Yes, we have Sir Richard Burton, but no Nero, thank god. There is a gay male couple and a male lip-lock is shown on TV. The alien caretakers of this world are shown as well as a conflict between factions in the alien race. And, characters come back if they are killed either by suicide or other causes, but others don't for some reason. More is learned about the aliens and about the background of the story. The Riverworld planet is said to be @ 100 times bigger than Earth and the Earth was destroyed about 6 years after our main character died. I couldn't see this as a full blown series though. Maybe a 10 hour mini-series. Yes, they could stretch this movie a little longer to put an end that makes sense. You will see when you watch this one. The story is better told than the first version. Way to go SyFy channel.
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I'll shift my comparison of the books to this mini-series to the comments section, to save space.

Overall, I thought it was a fun, entertaining 3 hours. I recommend splitting this in half while watching it, though. I only vaguely remember SciFi's earlier attempt at this story, but this new version is definitely closer to the original, for both good and bad.

This miniseries was intended to be the pilot of a series, so as such, I can forgive its incompleteness. Anything left unexplained could be covered in future episodes. However, considering the possibility that this won't be turned into a series, they really should have explained Burton's motivations more fully. There are a few problems with the plot, for instance: Clemens steals the boat from Pizarro. He heads upstream towards the source of the river. An unknown amount of time later, he meets Pizarro. This could work if Pizarro died, came back to life upstream, and established a new kingdom, I guess, but do you buy that explanation? Rewiring everyone's heads to speak English is, well, okay, it's cheesy, but what do you want them to do?

Reagarding the actors/characters: The hero is fine, I suppose, and is appealing to the ladies. Laura Vandervoort and the actresses playing the Japanese and Italian women are attractive, so I'll have to exempt myself from judging their acting skills. I don't have a problem with the Caretaker aliens. The actor playing Clemens/Twain is more of a charicature than a character. The actor playing Burton gets a pass here, because most people don't have an idea of how Richard Burton (the 19th century British explorer, not the 20th century actor) is supposed to act.
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Bonus features?
The movie was so hideous why make it worse by adding more?
Apr 17, 2011 by sail1993 |  See all 2 posts
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