Sinbad-The Complete First Series (2012)

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Released 5-Dec-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV Series Featurette-Making Of-The Magic of Sinbad
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Magic of Malta
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Magical Costumes of Sinbad
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 513:25 (Case: 563)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Andy Wilson
Brian Grant
Colin Teague
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Elliot Knight
Marama Corlett
Elliot Cowan
Estella Daniels
Dimitri Leonidas
Junix Inocian
Orla Brady
Naveen Andrews
Tuppence Middleton
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Christian Henson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
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 Dutch for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     In the port of Basra, the Emir (Igal Naor) is a man of science, promoting learning throughout his city. His brother, Lord Akbari (Naveen Andrews), has a different view and is not above employing the older black arts. When gutter rat Sinbad (Elliot Knight) accidentally kills Lord Akbari’s son in a fight, Sinbad is captured and his brother executed by Akbari. Sinbad escapes but his grandmother (Janet Suzman) places a curse upon him; he will not spend more than one day on land until he finds atonement for his brother’s death.

     Sinbad stows away aboard a trading ship, the Providence, but a storm at sea wipes out most of the crew and passengers. Those remaining are the diminutive thief Rina (Marama Corlett), Norseman warrior Gunnar (Elliot Cowan), aristocratic noblewoman on the run Nala (Estella Daniels), ship’s doctor and scientist Anwar (Dimitri Leonidas) and Cook (Junix Inocian). Together, the motley group sail the Providence into a series of adventures. Meanwhile, back in Basra Lord Akbari is not prepared to allow Sinbad to go free and turns to the sorceress Taryn (Orla Brady) to track Sinbad down through her black magic.

     Made for British Sky B TV and aired from July 1012, Sinbad season 1 consists of 12 episodes of approximately 43 minutes each. Filmed on location in Malta, Sinbad looks glorious with wonderful sets and colours. The series, however, struggles for an identity. It is advertised on the DVD cover as “family blockbuster adventure” and “an adventure the whole family can enjoy” and certainly it looks wonderful, the music is rousing and blockbusterish and the violence is of the old fashioned film kind, with lots of movement and swinging weapons but little bloodshed and no severed limbs. There are also some wonderful magical creatures, such as the flying Roc in episode 2. However, the series adds adult themes, such as when Sinbad is seduced by the Queen of the Water-Thieves, and some quite scary black magic sequences at various times including the sacrifice of a chicken, a demon snake and a Balrog type creature.

     Partly the different tone, no doubt, is due to the fact that the series’ episodes run over 9 hours and utilise three directors and three different writers. The Pilot episode is exciting and sets the tone well, but episode 2 is weak and episode 3 just plain silly, perhaps the strangest episode of the series. However, when the series starts to concentrate upon the backgrounds of the characters, the increasing bonding of the team, and upon the Sinbad / Akbari / Taryn conflict as Sinbad is lured back to Basra, it improves. Yet some of the plotting is quite silly; for example, the group fail to get the idea that a sexy blonde woman all alone on a desert island is not what she seems, or they never question why a woman they free was been trapped, and closely guarded, inside a box for 35 years! I mean, come on! Then, in episode 7 of the 12, the principle story arc we have been following since the pilot episode concerning Sinbad, Akbari and the grandmother’s curse is resolved. From there the series goes in a whole new direction, and becomes concerned with Sinbad’s quest to access the Land of the Dead and find his brother. At this place also the series loses a main character, Nala, and gains another, the bounty hunter Tiger, (Tuppence Middleton). It is as if there were two separate story arcs that have been cobbled together.

     Also uneven is the costumes and the acting. The costumes are all over the place, with some straight out of the Arabian Nights while other episodes include modern looking suits, Rina in some fetching hot pants and Tiger in an Indiana Jones hat. Acting may hold a series together, but an inexperienced actor like Elliot Knight, while he looks good, does not have the ability to make some of the more silly dialogue and situations in Sinbad work. As well, Orla Brady as Taryn, perhaps the most interesting character in the series, lacks presence and many of the women who Sinbad meets in different episodes, such as Sophie Okonedo as the Queen of the Water Thieves, Georgia King as the siren and Hannah Tointon as the goddess Kuji, are weak. Others, such as Junix Inocian as Cook, are comic characters that are not funny; however Naveen Andrews, Elliot Cowan and Dimitri Leonidas are better.

     Sinbad is thus a mixed bag. Some episodes are excellent but quite bleak, such as when the Providence picks up Death (Timothy Spall) as an extra passenger, others have intriguing premises and some are indeed old fashioned exciting adventure tales. Others, as noted above, are weaker.

     Sinbad is a fantasy adventure series with magic, mystery, menace and monsters that looks spectacular and has some exciting moments but struggles with an uneven tone, diverse scripting and indifferent acting.

     Sinbad: The Complete First Series brings together the 12 episodes of the first season. The twelve episodes are split evenly over three discs, and each disc also contains one extra.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Sinbad is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     Detail throughout the series is sharp and crisp, colours are deep and vibrant showing off the spectacular locations, and even the green screen work looks pretty good. Skin tones are natural, blacks solid and shadow detail very good. There are no marks or scratches but motion blur against mottled backgrounds is frequent (see episode 5 19:54 for an example). Otherwise artefacts were absent, except in episode 8 (and occasionally in episode 9) where the print does not handle the flickering lights against a mottled stone background and produces some blocking (see, for example, the sequence between 34:26-47 in episode 8).

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are in a clear white font. They seem to cover the dialogue well and add occasional additional information.

     Over the 9 hours of the series the print looks wonderful, with great detail and colour. The only real issue is the blocking in episodes 8 and 9.

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

Audio

     Audio is a choice between English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps or English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded at 224 Kbps. Note that the default audio track is the 2.0 and that the 5.1 needs to be selected from the menu. The 2.0 is OK, but lacks the depth and separation of the 5.1. The comments below refer to this latter track.

     Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The surrounds are used constantly for ambient effects, such as the creaking of the ship’s hull and rigging, and music giving a nice enveloping feel although I did not notice any directional effects. The sub-woofer added bass to the music and effects, such as the storm, but was not overused.

     The orchestral score by Christian Hensen is epic, loud and rousing, fitting the tone of the series perfectly. However, in a number of places it overwhelmed the sound design, drowning out the Foley effects. This occurred mostly, but not always, in action scenes.

     I did not notice any lip synchronization problems.

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

Extras

     Extras are spread over the three discs.

The Magic of Sinbad (25:41)

     On Disc 1. Items covered include the world of Sinbad, the role of sorcery, the various characters, the scale of the production, green screen and CGI effects. This featurette consists of series footage, some behind the scenes footage and interviews with a wide range of people including cast Elliot Knight, Marama Corlett, Elliot Cowan, Junix Inocian, Dimitri Leonidas, Orla Brady, Naveen Andrews, Janet Suzman and Estella Daniels and crew Martyn John (production designer), Tim Hains, Sophie Gardiner (executive producers), Brian Grant (director) and David Houghton (VFX supervisor). Fairly superficial, and everything and everyone was wonderful, but still worth a look once.

The Magic of Malta (12:51)

     On Disc 2. Maltese born Marama Corlett hosts a brief look at Malta and some of the shooting locations used in Sinbad, plus some of the locations used by other films shot in Malta; with Mark Sansone and Cornelia Azzopardi-Schellmann. Malta looks fabulous.

The Magical Costumes of Sinbad (8:13)

     On Disc 3. Phoebe De Caye (costume designer) guides us through the wardrobe department of Sinbad looking at the costume design, scavenging, manufacture and controlled aging of the material. Quite good fun.

R4 vs R1

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

     Sinbad: The Complete First Series is released in an identical 3 disc set in Region 2 UK. There is not currently a Region 1 US version listed. Buy local.

Summary

     Beautifully photographed in Malta for British Sky B TV, Sinbad is a fantasy adventure series with magic, mystery, menace and monsters that looks spectacular but struggles with an uneven tone, diverse scripting and indifferent acting.

     The video, except in a few places, is exceptional, the audio is good. There are a few extras, superficial but still worth a look.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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