The High Crusade (1994)

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Released 15-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 87:07
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Klaus Knoesel
Holger Neuhäuser
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring John Rhys-Davies
Rick Overton
Michael Des Barres
Catherine Punch
Patrick Brymer
Debbie Lee Carrington
Rinaldo Talamonti
Frank Kanakusen
Tahareh Becker
Ray Cokes
Holger Neuhäuser
Werner Baum
Tim Luna
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music 4. Stock


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.55:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.55:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The High Crusade is based on science fiction writer Poul Anderson's novel of the same name. Unfortunately, the film completely fails to recreate the humour of the book. Instead, it comes off as a rather lame Monty Python rip-off. The story centres around a bumbling group of medieval knights who come into possession of an alien spacecraft. They try and take it to Jerusalem to aid a fellow noble in distress, but end up on one of the alien's colony worlds instead. Of course, our hapless heroes manage to avert an alien invasion of Earth and return home in time for dinner. There are some mildly amusing moments, however some painful characterisations and lazy humour spoil the film's potential. On the plus side, there are some very nice old school special effects sequences (by old school I mean model-based rather than CGI).

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The High Crusade is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.55:1 with no 16x9 enhancement

    The transfer is really the only stand-out feature of this release. The sharpness and clarity of the on-screen image is very good. There is no noticeable grain or pixelization anywhere and the shadow detail is also good. There are numerous scenes where the lighting is low, particularly on the alien outpost, with the background detail remaining very sharp and clear.

    The DVD's colour presentation is also very good with skin tones remaining well balanced against the more garish colours on the alien ship. The original material was obviously of a high quality and the film seems to have been a big budget flop, as it is relatively obscure even though it was released in 1995.

    There are virtually no artefacts throughout the film. If you look very very carefully, you can occasionally see very brief, very small spots pop up. However, in normal viewing, the transfer is really very clean.

    There are no subtitles on this single layered disc.

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

Audio

    The only audio option available for The High Crusade is Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The sound has been mixed well with the dialogue always at the fore and always in sync. English is the only language option on the disc.

    There are no clicks or dropouts in the soundtrack and the audio quality of the DVD is as good as its visual quality.

    Music plays a very small part in the overall soundtrack but is used effectively enough and always sounds good in context. There is no surround or subwoofer usage.

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

Extras

    There are no extras on this disc. Heck, there isn't even a menu!

R4 vs R1

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

    After a bit of digging around, I found mentions of a 'making of' documentary on the R1 disc and also of it being a fullscreen only release. Therefore, it is difficult to say which is best. If you are interested in the making of the film, then the R1 version would probably be more attractive, however the 2.55:1 presentation of the R4 disc makes it the best choice if you are only interested in the film itself.

Summary

     An excellent basic presentation of The High Crusade with no extras, no subtitles or language options and no surround sound. Just the raw meat and potatoes. If you're a fan of Roland Emmerich productions (Stargate, Patriot), you might want this to complete your collection.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© George Soropos (read my bio or the puppy dies)
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using S-Video output
DisplayLOEWE Planus 4670 70cm 16:9. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderMarantz SR7200. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationLuxman LV600 valve hybrid stereo amp for front stereo pair and Marantz SR 7200 for centre and surround channels
SpeakersAltec Lansing Model 15's front stereo, matched Krix Centrix front and rear, Krix matched rear surrounds, Sony rear subwoofer (Altec's provide sub for front)

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