3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Rich Tapestry of the Renaissance Comes to Life!,
This review is from: The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance (Amazon Video)
Though this is episode 1 of a 4 part series, the viewer is urged to watch the complete series. THE MEDICI: GODFATHERS OF THE RENAISSANCE is a four-hour docudrama that is at once entertaining and educational. Using the technique of contemporary seated scholars in discussion with the viewer interspersed with actors playing the roles of the peoples of Florence and Rome and the famous Medici family that spanned three centuries of control and influence in Italy, this highly entertaining and beautifully photographed history lesson is a valuable addition to schools, historians, and lovers of history and biography.
The Medici family was a mercantile line that amassed enough wealth to be able to live (and even become) royally. The Medicis are attributed with the advent of the Renaissance, having been the patrons of the greats of Western Art and Science, not the least of which are Michelangelo, Botticelli, da Vinci, Vasari, Bruneschelli, and Galileo. But patronage of the arts was not their only forte: through sheer power they were able to produce two popes (Leo and Clement)and it was through the debauchery and power of Leo, bankrupting the papacy with his earthly appetites, that the use of Papal Indulgences (anyone could 'purchase' redemption for a price that fed the papal coffers) that was the immediate cause driving Martin Luther to initiate the Reformation.
Along the 4 hours of this DVD we are introduced to Savoranola, Machiavelli, Pope Julius II, and the various fighting factions of Florence Italy wherein the Medicis held court for over 200 years. Despite the recorded evils of this infamous family, they were enlightened (especially Lorenzo the Magnificent) to see the gifts of Michelangelo, da Vinci, etc and were it not for their patronage we may never have had the beauties of the statues David, Pieta, the Medici tombs, or the Sistine chapel frescoes to mention only a few. Nor would Galileo, the giant of Science, have been able to nudge his theories of the Universe, gravity, telescopic drawings of the moon, etc.
The filming is magnificent, especially the use of very Renaissance period costumes and actors with faces that seem to leap from the paintings of the era. Bloodshed is not spared: the period would not seem completely evaluated with out the atrocities of the Inquisition. At times the docudrama portion seems a bit pushed toward the Hollywood spectacle, but how else could this colorfully rich and historically important period be represented? The one flaw that is a constant is the atrocious music score: every moment of death or defeat is backed by a simplistically awful plagiarism of Wagner's "Gotterdamerung" and non-authentic vocal wailings by bad boy sopranos attempting to sound like folk music or plainsong. But these flaws are minor in evaluating the whole project. This is definitely a DVD that every home should own - for pleasure, for historical resource, and for appreciation of where we are as a civilization today. Excellent!