Most helpful critical review
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Save your money
on November 1, 2013
I expected, in ordering this video, to see a reasonable sampling of the various rooms in this massive palatial structure. Having seen it, I'd estimate that perhaps a dozen rooms are visited, and none of them are really explored. It's as if the filmmakers were told to stand behind the velvet ropes with the tourists. Some of the great halls are shown, but the camera seems to be locked down at one end of the room, with the lens repeatedly tilted upward and downward, or panned, to provide an overview of ceilings, walls and floors, mostly from a distance. There is no footage to indicate the complexity of interior architecture. And the same views of external facades are repeated again and again, as if the film producers were highly restricted, outdoors as well as indoors, as to where they could set up their cameras.
Henry's troubled relationships with his wives, all of whom occupied Hampton Court, is lightly touched upon. For an hour-long production, this one contains far too little of substance. The potentials for a fine documentary on this subject would seem very large indeed. But without filmmaker access to at least some of the intricacies of the grand structures, they are not realized. The viewer is left with the impression that the entire program could have been filmed by a tourist who had rented a good video camera.
For an extremely fine presentation on a related subject, buy the 2012 BBC production, "The Queen's Palaces," in which the royal family gave filmmakers far greater access to several famous palaces. I've watched it multiple times, and I'll watch it again. It's utterly fascinating.