Spartacus: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]
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Spartacus: The Complete Series [Blu-ray]
- Directors : Jesse Warn, Michael Hurst, Rick Jacobson, Brendan Maher, John Fawcett, Mark Beesley
- Writers : Steven S. DeKnight, Brent Fletcher, Aaron Helbing, Todd Helbing, Seamus Kevin Fahey, Jed Whedon
- Starring : Lucy Lawless, Nick E. Tarabay, Peter Mensah, John Hannah, Manu Bennett, Dustin Clare
- Language: English
- Run Time: 2136 minutes
The classic tale of Spartacus, the Republic's most infamous rebel comes alive in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Then, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena will explore its deadly history before the arrival of Spartacus, and the death he carried with him. Spartacus: Vengeance continues to follow Spartacus as he is faced with a choice to either satisfy his personal need for vengeance, or make the sacrifices necessary to keep his growing army from breaking apart at the seams. Finally, in Spartacus: War of the Damned, Spartacus will carve his name into history as he plots to avenge his wife's death and leads Batiatus' slaves in a bloody uprising.
New audio commentaries, and Bonus Disc including:
SPARTACUS Fan Favorites With Liam McIntyre
Scoring A Hit: Composer Joseph LoDuca
An Eye Full: Roger Murray
SPARTACUS: Paul Grinder
The Last Word: John Hannah
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7 x 5.5 x 2.2 inches; 1.35 Pounds
- Item model number : 29158120
- Director : Joshua Donen, Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Steven S. DeKnight
- Media Format : Blu-ray, Box set
- Run time : 35 hours and 36 minutes
- Release date : September 16, 2014
- Actors : Liam McIntyre, Andy Whitfield, Lucy Lawless, Peter Mensah, Viva Bianca
- Studio : Artisan / Lionsgate
- ASIN : B00L6AW1D2
- Number of discs : 13
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I stumbled upon spartacus when the first season was beginning, and from then on, the series held my attention as one of the greatest television series I have ever seen.
I will get one thing out of the way first. The first episode is pretty mediocre in my opinion. It tries too hard to be like the movie "300" and because of the budget, it's not up to the level of Hollywood films. So as a precaution, please do not expect te first episode to be like the rest of the series.
Season 1, called "Blood and Sand", tells the story of spartacus, played by the late Andy Whitfield, from his journey of Thracian soldier to legend of the arena. After the dismal first episode, the rest of the season is an awesome ride to vengeance filled with tons of violence and sex. Besides that, the acting is top notch and all the characters are awesome and you will more than likely develop and attachment to them.
Following "Blood and Sand," the prequel season, "Gods of the Arena," begins. Tragedy befell the spartacus series with the sudden illness of Andy Whitfield being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Because of this, the series decided to give backstory by way of prequel telling the story of Spartacus' Roman owner, Batiatus and his wife Lucretia.
The prequel deals with Batiatus' rise from lowly owner of gladiators to the man we see in "Blood and Sand." There are only 6 episodes for this season but every single one is awesome and moves the story at a great pace. Besides Batiatus, we also see the introduction of a new character, the Celtic gladiator, Gannicus.
Andy Whitfield was no longer able to play the character because of his illness and sadly, Andy passed away from the cancer.
Following "Gods," we go back to the current time with season 3, called "Vengeance." We once again follow the titular character, now played by Liam McIntyre. Andy was a great spartacus and fortunately, Liam makes the role his own and the season does not falter. We follow the ex gladiator and his band of rebels as they free more slaves and face the Roman Praetor called Glaber. The season is awesome as the previous seasons have been and sets up the last season for an amazing end.
The last and final season is "War of the Damned," and for me this is probably the best season of the entire series. Spartacus' group of rebels has grown to an incredible army and we now face the inevitable clash between the powerful Roman legions and the courageous band of rebels. On the Roman side we have Marcus Crassus and also an unexpected but awesome appearance from arguably the most famous person in Ancient Roman history. This last season is an incredible thrill ride and the series ends with some of the greatest large scale fight scenes I have ever seen. I will also get it out of the way and say that this is the first time I have ever cried at the end of an episode. The final episode is a tearjerker and it reminded me of how far the rebels came for the reason of freedom.
The entire series is amazing and if I was to only review the series itself, it would get a full 5 stars.
On to the special features. All the special features from the previous stand alone season blu rays are here as well a few extras. I haven't seen all of them but I believe it gives more bang for your buck.
The box set itself is pretty crappy. I expected all the seasons to be separated in their own mini boxes but all of them are basically crammed into a mini booklet almost like a little photo album. If you look at other box sets, especially the breaking bad barrel, this would look like someone found empty cardboard and used that to put all the discs in.
As a whole, this complete series is great and if you haven't watched the series or are a fan, I would definitely recommend this.
Across four seasons, we are immersed in a particular world. Blood and Sand introduces us to Spartacus and the slaves he acquaints himself with and befriends until the eventual uprising. The actor in this season, Andy Whitfield, made his mark as Spartacus, a character that we sympathize with from the first moments in to the end where he becomes the leader against slavery. Real life tragedy afflicts Andy Whitfield with lymphona, delaying the production of the show for a second season. Instead, Gods of the Arena (set as a six episode prequel to Blood and Sand) is made and not only gives us cause and reasoning behind the motivations of many characters chronicled in Blood and Sand, but also introduces us to a character who manages to make their mark enough they return later. Spartacus's actor died during the same year of Gods of the Arena, leading to finding a worthy successor in Liam McIntyre to take up the mantle of the lead. Vengeance released, leading to War of the Damned as the show's final season. By this time, four seasons of the show had formed an entertainment niche that had become exciting to watch and saddening to see end.
The packaging is a hard outer casing that folds open, showing a little book inside that has cardboard pages for individual discs. You also get the UV voucher for this as well.
Overall, this show is a niche one. If you're a fan of Stephen S DeKnight's work on Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, and Smallville (and lately, Daredevil's first season as showrunner), and you want an excuse to watch high definition special effects of blood, sex, nudity, violence, and the like, look no further than this gem.
IF YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN SPARTACUS OR SAW AND ENJOYED THE MINISERIES 'ROME', YOU WILL PROBABLY ENJOY THIS AS WELL. GREAT COSTUMES AND SETS, WELL WRITTEN PLOTS, VERY WELL CONCEIVED AND WRITTEN DIALOGUE (A RARITY IN 'SWORD AND SANDAL' EPICS), AND GOOD ACTING. THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF NUDITY AND VIOLENCE, BUT ALL REALISTICALLY PORTRAYED AND RELEVANT TO PLOTLINES. I AM NOW READING 'THE SPARTACUS WARS' BY BARRY STRAUSS..EXCELLENT. THE STARZ SERIES IS A REASONABLY ACCURATE ACCOUNT OF THE ACTUAL HISTORY OF SPARTACUS AS FAR AS HISTORIANS CAN RECOUNT.
Top reviews from other countries
After the first three or four episodes of season one, I felt that I had made a big mistake. It was painful viewing: stiff dialogue, wooden acting, awful ‘300’-esque action scenes and an over-reliance on over-the-top and all-too obvious CGI. I very nearly gave up, but I kept going due to a stubborn refusal to disown my investment until I was absolutely sure of its failure. I am so glad that I persevered. Both my partner and I ended up adoring this programme (and she initially disliked it every bit as much as I did). It improved dramatically after the first four episodes and, once it got into its stride, we couldn’t get enough of it.
It is violent in the extreme, sex and nudity is highly prevalent and the language is frequently foul. If you are turned off by any of those things, this is definitely not for you. We, however, had already watched series such as Deadwood and Banshee, so to us the gratuitous elements of Spartacus weren’t quite as shocking as they could have been. Don’t get me wrong, for there is plenty to shock within these episodes – it does not spare the rod, so to speak. Furthermore, and most importantly, it is all set within the context of an age that was very different to our own, in which attitudes to nudity were very different and the Roman sense of superiority over its ‘barbarian’ rivals certainly led to terrible acts of violence – crucifixion and gladiatorial combat being just two horrific facets of this.
Literally everything improves after the first few episodes. The story and subplots are engaging and riveting, the dialogue is clever and well-implemented, the brutal action is edge-of-the-seat stuff and the all-too obvious CGI environments soon give way to scenes that are much more convincing, as belonging to the real world, even though CGI remains prevalent – it becomes much improved in its style.
It isn’t all perfect. Some of the acting remains wooden, for example, but such instances are just minor blips that do little to spoil the proceedings. Overall though, the passion and dedication of all the people who were involved in this production is both obvious and commendable. It is a labour of love and, because of that, the result is quite remarkable.
With those elements out of the way it’s on to the series itself. Imagine the violence of 300 dialled up to 3000. The visceral aspects and ‘sexposition’ of Game of Thrones notched up considerably. The arena based brutality of Gladiator taken to an ultimate level of gore. Spartacus is a show designed to give the announcers who make pre-exhibition warnings about nudity, bad language and violence more work to do. It’s nasty, curse-heavy, loaded with naked bodies of both sexes, sprays the screen with blood at all times. In other words, a television experience that amounts to the absolute opposite of something for squeamish viewers to enjoy. Anyone expecting an update of that nice Kirk Douglas movie are in for a surprise.
Fortunately, Spartacus has a lot more going for it than its 18 certificate qualities. It works hard to portray ancient Rome as a world where life was cheap, and violence commonplace and brutish, but it also gives a reasonable description of the other key aspects – the system of patronage, the clear differences between classes, the importance of gladiatorial spectacle in keeping the masses under heel. There is a subtle change to language, to the way people speak, elevating the dialogue to almost Shakespearean levels, a level of Latin formality creeping in to even casual banter between slaves. The show does a very good job of showing how far, say, Batiatus sits above the gladiators, and yet even he – literally with the power of life and death over his slaves – is small potatoes compared to Glaber, the Praetor whose patronage he desperately seeks, while in turn Glaber is below the likes of Crassus in the complicated political order of the Republic. All this is done without getting bogged down in the detail or becoming boring. The characters’ motivations, their efforts to improve their lots, are a reality of life. To them their place in the social order is everything.
Enter Spartacus, a wrecking ball within the Roman world because he represents everything that’s opposed to the establishment. If you make the argument that the first series is the best then in part it’s because Andy Whitfield added layers of intensity and motivation to the character that was simply absent in later years. Welsh born Whitfield played Spartacus as a broiling figure of resentment and fury, smart too but what you remember is the anger that defined every sword thrust on the training sand, each glower at Crixus, the sheer hatred that washed off the screen with the moments he came across Glaber. A sadness; Whitfield was diagnosed with cancer after completing filming of the first season. While waiting for their star to recover, Starz produced a prequel series, only for his condition to resurface and claim his life. There was no choice but to recast the part, Liam McIntyre taking over for the last two seasons. A little like the time Jason Connery replaced the departing Michael Praed in Robin of Sherwood, the show was never the same again. McIntyre played a decent leader of men, but Whitfield was all wrath and fire and that quality was gone.
The other actor who made the first series such a success was John Hannah, playing Batiatus as an aspiring Lanista with all the ambition, street language and underhandedness that made the character so compelling and fun. Hannah appeared to appreciate that Batiatus was one rung above street level and performed him that way – foul mouthed and scheming, though always impishly charismatic. Together with Lucy Lawless as his equally Machiavellian wife, they were a modern take on Macbeth and his Lady, unafraid to get their hands dirty and only redeemable at all because they loved each other. Hannah got to reprise his character for the prequel series, and as with Whitfield something was lost when he departed. Craig Parker’s Glaber was a fine villain, prone to moments of extreme violence, but the show missed Hannah’s earthy charms. Lawless was superb, and matched by the increasingly brilliant Viva Bianca as Glaber’s sexed up, ingratiating wife. As Crixus, Manu Bennett was chosen for his physicality but added smoulder. Peter Mensah made for a statuesque Oenomaus, while Dustin Clare got in a likeable turn as Gannicus, former champion and now a lover of wine and women.
All these characters were real people, or at least interpretations of actual historical figures. Many of the events depicted in the show really happened, or did so according to contemporary writers, with enough information rendered vague for Starz to fill in the blanks. Where Spartacus differs from reality is in its reinvention of its main character as a hero bent on freeing other slaves and overthrowing Rome. His real interests lay in escaping, at any cost, with much brutality undertaken in the effort, which makes his attempt to keep captured Romans alive in the final series a fanciful and very unlikely one.
The show’s shortfall comes in some of its digital effects work. Spartacus clearly did not have the funding of HBO offerings like Rome or Game of Thrones; either that or its ambition did not match its production costs (Rome was infamous for building up to battles, only to cut away in order to save money). Sometimes, it looks cheap. It also takes a few episodes to really get going. Impressions left by the first instalment, which shows how Spartacus becomes a gladiator, can be unfavourable and come across as plugging the weak narrative with blood and sex. But stick with it. With the death of a major supporting character halfway through the first series, after he had been carefully developed, the show exhibited a willingness to up its own stakes, to demonstrate the dangerous arena in which Spartacus was now embroiled. It was a turning point and it never looked back.
While not quite up to the standards of Game of Thrones, a level of quality that it did not intend to meet, Spartacus remains good fun, compelling, and at its best in a ‘boxset’ format. I think it’s thrilling entertainment, even if the quality drops ever so slightly after its sublime first series and prequel.
Much of the fine detail appears to be accurately represented. The conditions in the 'ludus'; the food they ate'; the willingness of Roman 'matrons' to bed gladiators of prestige; the fact that death did not always follow 'combat'. The Roman treatment of slaves as chattels, mere objects to be used (and gladiators were no better treated than any other slave) was well illustrated in my view. The slave had no rights under Roman law and could be used, and abused, in any way that the owner saw fit.
There is a lot of, what might be considered, gratuitius nudity and 'simulated sex' (one of the reasons, I admit to my shame, was to catch a glimpse of Lucy Lawless' breasts, although, given the advances in CGI, can one even look on them as anything more that a 'body double' with the face 'mapped on'.
The primary 'sticking point' from my view point was the over-over-use of the slo-mo blood-spattering across the screen. It had traction in the first episode and perhaps in episode two but to persist with this so obvious effect denigrates any sense of what a gladitorial combat might have meant to those pressed into the arena, spectators to a bloodlust that they, by privelege or station, could never attain.
The series is perhaps nost notable for the producers' decision to forego a season developing the character and his story arc in favour of a 'retrospective' developing the 'back story' due to the central character's (Andy Whitfield's) illness (lymphoma).
That the producers should have even contemplated such an action should beggar belief; perhaps, once and a while, corporate capitalism can be compssionate.
As to the blu rays themselves....they are brillaint quality and full screen and the sound equally as good,giving great steerage around the arena shots...Colour...sound and story line are top notch..Highly Recommended..Cheers
The truly noticeable thing was that everyone, Roman aristocrats to slaves all had dirty fingernails and perfect teeth.
For my next reincarnation I want to be a Roman. They had three ladies to help them bath and they didn't scrub too hard!