Wallander-Series 1-3 (2008)

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Released 2-Jan-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery Main Menu Audio
Featurette-6
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 932
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Philip Martin
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Slip Case
RPI ? Music Martin Phipps
Vince Pope


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Kurt Wallander is the creation of Swedish crime writer, Henning Mankell. The novels (and some short stories) which began to be published in Sweden in 1991 have been bestsellers in their native Sweden and around the world in translations. According to the author, he has now written his last novel in the series, The Troubled Man, which will be adapted in the fourth and final series of Wallander according to Kenneth Branagh. These novels have been adapted previously in Sweden for movies and a television series. These also featured extra stories written directly for the series rather than based on novels. This English adaptation is based directly on the novels and has been very successful, winning numerous awards including BAFTAs. It has also been nominated for Emmys and Golden Globes.

     Wallander (Kenneth Branagh) is a detective in the Ystad police force, a small town in Southern Sweden. Similar to the fictional Midsomer in England, Ystad seems to attract a lot of murders (in the series anyway). Each episode focuses on one case (and is based on one novel) and so far nine feature length episodes have been made over 3 series. The three series have all been released separately on DVD and here are collected into one six disc collection in a special case and cardboard slipcover. Contents are seemingly the same on the individual sets as on this collection. This is the one to buy if you don't have any of the previous seasons but there is no reason to upgrade if you do.

     One of the things which makes this series of stories stand out compared to other murder mysteries is that the show is equally about the cases and the impact that they have on Wallander and his family. Wallander is very personally involved in his work and struggles with the emotions that he feels during and after the cases. Wallander changes as a character over the course of the episodes, driven by the impact of the cases. This is an extremely well made series with excellent cinematography capturing the wide open spaces and big skies of Southern Sweden. This brings a stark and isolated feel to the show highlighting the lonely existence of the main character. It was shot on location in Ystad and the surrounding areas. It is really only the use of English as the language that indicates this is a British show, except the presence of well-known English actors like Branagh and Tom Hiddleston. The spare and atmospheric music also adds significantly to the feel of the show. The acting is high quality with Branagh magnificent as the complex, cranky but caring Kurt Wallander.

     Recommended especially for fans of mystery or crime television.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good.

     The series is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced. This show was shot on the RED digital cameras.

     The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout. The shadow detail was very good.

     The colour was excellent with no issues to report. The colours of the Swedish countryside come out very well.

     There was some motion blur but no other noticeable artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English which are clear and easy to read.

     The layer changes are not obvious.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

     This set contains English soundtracks in Dolby Digital 2.0 (default) and Dolby Digital 5.1 on all seasons, despite what the case says. On season 1 there is also an Audio Descriptive track.

     Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to hear and understand, although subtitles would certainly have helped with some dialogue. The soundtrack displayed some good front separation.

     The music sounds great and is a highlight of the production as mentioned above.

     The surround speakers were used to add atmosphere and the occasional mild effect. The subwoofer mostly supported the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A very good selection of worthwhile extras.

Menu

     The menu included music and on season 1 only, audio navigation.

Who is Kurt Wallander (51:13)

     An hour long documentary about the character and novels, made in conjunction with the first season. It is hosted by another crime writer, John Harvey and includes the thoughts of many other crime writers about Mankell's work. Harvey travels to Sweden to investigate Ystad and the surrounding area. He meets with Branagh & Mankell to have a discussion about the books and the series. High quality extra.

The Wallander Look (11:51)

     Featurette about the look of the show covering locations, the long twilights in Sweden, the use of the RED camera, how they approached shooting in Ystad, lighting and sets. Good stuff.

Branagh/Mankell Interview (27:04)

     Branagh and Mankell have an interesting discussion about the characters, novels and the show itself. Another quality extra.

Branagh's Wallander (15:51)

     This featurette focuses on how Branagh approached the character and how he felt his portrayal developed over the original three shows.

Wallander Country (15:21)

     A featurette on the second series and how they improved the look for the second series including differences between Ystad and how they showed it, plus shooting and sets.

Being Kurt Wallander (10:10)

     A second series featurette on the character and the themes in the second set of episodes. More discussion on how Branagh developed his portrayal over time.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This set is available in the UK in the same format but not in Region 1. There is also a Blu-ray available in the UK but not locally. May as well buy local for DVD.

Summary

    A high quality series of Swedish mysteries starring Kenneth Branagh.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    A high quality selection of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, January 14, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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