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Showing 1-10 of 199 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 235 reviews
on April 21, 2014
If you are a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, you will love this film - especially if you've never seen him this young. At first I was impatient with the languid pace of the film, but there is a dark mood to it which the great musical score accentuates. Life aboard a large sailing vessel has never been depicted so artfully, and sometimes brutally. The film grew on me with repeated viewings.

Young aristocrat Edmund Talbot (Cumberbatch) is arrogant, willful, and clumsy at human relations, yet his Achilles heel seems to be his emotional vulnerability. Life aboard the sailing ship slaps him around a bit, and we see him learn and grow from a privileged brat into a young man suddenly aware that there are people who are different from him with whom he can still relate. I can't think of another young actor with the gravitas necessary to play a 'kid' whose opinions are sought out by his elders and superiors. Mesmerizing to watch, Cumberbatch is as skillful with non-verbal reactions as he is with dialogue and imbues Edmund Talbot with a burgeoning conscience and awareness of his actions as he narrates the film through his journal writing. He plays a flawed character that you can't help but love and his comic timing is impeccably subtle. He also excels at handling the physical demands of moving around on a gale-tossed sailing ship. When he falls, slides around and collides with other people and objects, it somehow looks like elegant choreography (and did I say he's mesmerizing to watch?), AND... DID YOU KNOW THAT CUMBERBATCH CAN SING REALLY WELL ? Check out episode #2, as he sings a few lines of opera while getting dressed.

The rest of the ensemble cast is really superb as well and the chemistry between Edmund and Miss Chumly is electric. However, Cumberbatch's performance makes this film compelling and I can't imagine any other young actor filling these shoes.
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on March 4, 2013
While the originally filming and production of this mini-series was probably high quality, this DVD transfer is very poorly done. Somewhere between the BBC and Timeless Media, the quality of this mini-series has been seriously degraded. Video quality is very poor, with a lack of contrast, overly-saturated colours and sound quality that varies between scenes.

The original production was filmed with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 or 4:3, ostensibly to fit the standard CRT TV format at that time. Unfortunately, on this transfer, the 4:3 aspect ratio has been stretched to 16:9, resulting in a badly distorted image when all the other TV and DVD player settings are set at default. So, if viewers wish to see the image in the correct Aspect Ratio, it's necessary to get into the DVD player's video settings and change the aspect ratio to correct this.

There's no excuse for this kind of transfer screwup.

As for the colour and contrast, little can be done because the DVD transfer material is so poorly done and there's only so much a viewer can do with the video settings on the DVD player and TV.

While these technical problems detract from the story, it was a treat to see a young Benedict Cumberbatch showing his mettle prior to his "Sherlock" and "End of Parade" roles.

Reviewers who complain about the story being vulgar, crude or boring appear have no concept of the harsh reality that many of our ancestors had to face when immigrating to a new land.
Some reviewers also display a breathtaking ignorance of the social structure and historical context of the time. This production is not claiming to be some "19th Century Reality TV Show", but attempts to portray what happens when a cross-section of British society is forced to endure in a 'closed space' for many months at a time. It's likely that some of these critical reviewers wouldn't understand "Lord of the Flies" either , if they could be bothered to read something other than the weekly "illustrated fashion/movie star" tabloid news.
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on September 3, 2015
I enjoyed this DVD but it appeared to have been made in the 60's not in 2005. Very low budget - Virtually no CGI & no effort made to actually show what it might've looked like being at sea on a very long voyage where people spend hours looking over the rail at the wide expanse of the ocean. All such scenes were obviously filmed in a harbor on an anchored ship with the camera held high to avoid the tourists' heads. While the acting was top notch the story line had some serious holes in it. Our hero pounces passionately on the best looking female passenger early on, then kicks her to the curb immediately upon finishing with her & she fades gracefully into the background. Yeah, women scorned are always graceful & resigned. And especially the last scene where our hero sees the ship ablaze from a hillside manor & has time to run down to the shore, grab a boat - row out to the ship & climb aboard to find the first officer & still has time to save himself but the seasoned first officer (who was aboard the ship & could've just jumped overboard any time) perishes. Really lame. Jared Harris played a very believable sea captain.
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Benedict Cumberbach in a early role is fabulous, and fans of his should get this.

Well done, the film suffers from one fatal flaw- no closed captioning and very hard to understand dialog, what with dialects and background and all.

Many times, I could not make out what they were saying, even with volume turned up.

Quite accurate, sure, but if you cant understand the repartee....
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on May 4, 2017
Did not state that this blu ray disc does not play in the U.S. Hello-am I dealing with or ?????? Just wasted $31 on a useless piece of plastic.
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on October 29, 2013
I liked this movie...didn't love it. However it did make me appreciate the trials one had to endure on long sea voyages of the past.
There was a lot of throwing up. A lot of sickness. Some nudity and a couple of sex scenes I could have lived without I don't think they added to the value of the story at all. And the Pastors self destruction over a sexual indiscretion was over the edge. More then anything else it would have been nice if there were subtitles for the hearing impaired. I'm not hearing impaired but because of the English accents it was hard to understand everything they were saying and I had to stop and rewind and listen again and sometimes again to get the meaning of what they were saying and it interferred with my involvement (I use the word involvement because you really can't say you enjoy the type of movie.) It was good period piece but "Could Have Been Better."
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on August 5, 2015
Benedict Cumberbatch delivered a terrific performance as a young aristocrat coming of age in this historically accurate and believable rendition of what it was like to travel halfway around the world in the age of tall ships. I thoroughly enjoyed all three episodes. It's more of a story about the normal lives of relatively normal people. I do also enjoy tales about the fighting ships of the era, but this isn't one of those; look elsewhere if you only want to watch swash being buckled.

My only quibble is that each episode ends with some not-quite-closed plot elements. You know pretty well what will happen, but I look to the storyteller to show how it happened.
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on December 19, 2016
This DVD is interesting and disappointing, in many ways. The depictions, of life, at sea, through the late 1800s, are crude, raw, vulgar and realistic. This video is not for children. The video portion of this DVD did not suffer, very much, from the compression algorithm, which was used to contain all 270 minutes on a single DVD. The audio portion, however, did suffer, substantially. The dialogue was, too often, muddy and, at times, completely unintelligible and garbled.
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on December 25, 2016
This was certainly a good depiction of life upon the high seas where travel by sailing ships sometimes took years, through storms and calms. It spoke to how passengers must learn that the ship's captain, by the then, current maritime laws, was an ultimate "god" aboard ship. You get to see what first class and coach class accommodations were like in those long distant traveling vessels. And you gain insights about the dangers of sea voyages, along with sprinkles of romance that happened between some of their passengers. The ship's rigging was a delight to see in all kinds of weather. Below decks, that was another story. Truly, nature had its effect upon everyone and everything on the sea.
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on June 11, 2017
Interesting movie. Gives a great picture of what it is like to travel on a passenger ship in the 1800's.
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