Xena: Warrior Princess-Season 3

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Released 27-Jun-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production ?
Running Time 919:51 (Case: 924)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (40:35)
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Jace Alexander
Josh Becker
Mark Beesley
Eric Brevig
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Lucy Lawless
Renée O'Connor
Ted Raimi
Adrienne Wilkinson
Hudson Leick
Kevin Smith
Case ?
RPI $89.95 Music Velton Ray Bunch
Joseph LoDuca


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    My overall impression of Xena is one of a slapstick send up of ancient Greek mythology. I was surprised at just how slapstick the fight scenes were - very similar to the Three Stooges in their execution and humour. I found the portrayal of Greek mythology really great fun and I wonder sometimes if this is not a more accurate portrayal of how the Greeks of the time actually saw their Gods and Goddesses, rather than the staid modern view that has grown up around the mythology. There are Gods of War, the Furies, and many other entities; the actors have a fun time interpreting these characters.

    The protagonists are of course Xena and her ever-present companion Gabrielle. Both seem to enjoy their characters and the roles they play thoroughly. A number of other characters make semi-regular appearances as part of the overall tapestry of the world the show inhabits. The women are of course wearing the minimum acceptable for this particular time slot, while the men dispense with their shirts at the drop of a sword. The producers could have done a tiny bit more research on some of the times being portrayed, such as the Roman's incorrect armament, but this is probably a silly complaint in the context of this show.

The Furies (41:33): The Furies from Greek Mythology were the daughters of Uranus and Gaea: Tisiphone (avenger of murder), Megaera (the jealous) and Alecto (constant anger). They would pursue wrongdoers and infect them with madness. They were meant to be horrible to look at, with snakes for hair and blood dripping from their eyes, but that would never do in Xena and they are portrayed by three rather naive young ladies. The God of War has convinced the Furies that Xena should be pursued because she had not avenged the death of her father. One little problem is that it is her mother that killed her father, and while the Furies don't like unavenged murder they also don't like people who kill their parents. This leaves the steadily more mad (in the insane sense) Xena with a little problem.

Been There, Done That (40:36): A very clever amalgam of Groundhog Day and Romeo and Juliet. The day will repeat itself until Xena manages to 1) work out just what is going on, and 2) just how she is going to manage to solve the problems of the two houses warring in a single day. Lots of fun.

The Dirty Half Dozen (41:33): The title really says it all. The God of War has handed a new kind of metal to some nasty types. With this metal they are basically invincible, as the weapons of the average inhabitant of the period simply cannot penetrate their armour nor stand up to their swords. Xena decides that this new technology is just too dangerous in the wrong hands and sets out to eliminate it. As the bad guys have a distinct advantage she is going to need some help, so she brings together some unsavoury characters of her own. Will they manage to breach the castle walls, or will they end up killing each other long before they get there?

The Deliverer (42:29): Xena and Gabrielle are drawn into a battle, one to defend a people that Xena once betrayed. Xena is particularly interested in getting into this conflict, not to atone for a past misdeed, but because the enemy is Caesar and Xena has a particular score to settle with him. They meet up along the way with a priest who claims to be representing the one true God, a God that preaches love and peace. This is particularly attractive to Gabrielle and her own philosophy but things are not as they seem, and Gabrielle is betrayed and manipulated.

Gabrielle's Hope (41:30): Gabrielle is suffering from the oldest malady in the business: unexplained nausea in the morning. Problem is that it can't have happened the normal way, leaving Xena with the belief that this is the child of the evil god Dahak. Not even their close friendship looks able to survive this one.

The Debt (42:00): First of a two-parter, Xena is called to China to repay a debt she owes. In this and the second half there is a lot of great back story that rounds out Xena's character considerably. Gabrielle is not impressed that Xena can just drop everything and run off to China without her.

The Debt II (42:29): A lovely complex episode where Gabrielle's betrayal of Xena wakes her up to a little reality, but also touches Xena. The final scene is a great example of just how good this show can be.

The King Of Assassins (41:32): Joxer's twin brother is an assassin and is out to kill Cleopatra. Xena is off somewhere else for the first part of this episode, so Gabrielle attempts to think like Xena and prevent the murder all on her own. Well, at least with a little 'help' from Joxer. Thankfully, Xena returns before the end of the episode.

Warrior...Priestess...Tramp. (41:33): It is amazing just how many Xena look-alikes there are. We have met Meg before, but a sex-hating virgin Hestian priestess that looks just like Xena? A plot is afoot to take over the temple of Hestia and wipe out all those lovely virgins, but not if Xena can help it. (I doubt if they dressed like that in those days that they would remain virgins for long).

The Quill is Mightier (42:00): After having her temple desecrated, Aphrodite is not amused and casts a spell on Gabrielle's scroll so that anything that she writes comes true. Her penchant for exaggeration and the literal interpretation of the spell leads to some very amusing episodes - the only way out is to write down the events exactly as they are.

Maternal Instincts (42:29): Callisto and Hope (Gabrielle's daughter) combine powers to bring about a great tragedy and drive a wedge between Gabrielle and Xena.

The Bitter Suite (42:27): Even if you are her best friend, when blinded by grief Xena is a dangerous enemy. Thankfully the Gods (and the continuing of the series) dictate that something must heal the breach. In this case it is a trip to Illusia and a series of musical numbers.

One Against An Army (40:34): Gabrielle takes a poisoned arrow to the shoulder, an arrow from an advance party of the entire Persian army. Xena has to find the antidote while, as the title suggests, battling the Persian army single-handed.

Forgiven (42:01): The Urn of Apollo, that supplies forgiveness to those who seek it, has been stolen. In their hunt for the perpetrators, Xena and Gabrielle are joined by a young, tough, street urchin called Tara who wishes to redeem herself for past transgressions. Gabrielle is not impressed despite Xena being tolerant as Tara reminds her of herself at that age.

King Con (42:28): Joxer makes a killing at the local gambling house but does not go more than 50 paces before he is conned out of his winnings. When the thugs from the gambling house come looking for a refund they find no money and take the proceeds out of Joxer's hide. Xena and Gabrielle are not impressed and join forces with the con men who took Joxer to pay back the owner of the gambling house.

When In Rome (42:30): Vercinix, the great Gaul warrior, has been captured by the Romans and Xena is on the job. She and Gabrielle take on Caesar and play a great game of shells to triumph.

Forget Me Not (41:02): Anyone who has been through what Gabrielle has been through, particularly in this season, is going to be wracked by images from the past. Desperation drives her to the temple of Mnemosyne where you can have your entire memory erased, but the price is that not only are the bad memories erased, but everything goes: the good and the bad.

Finns, Fems and Gems (41:30): Aphrodite gets her hands on the fabled Mystic Diamond and hopes to place it into the sky as a permanent memorial to herself. This would blank out the north star, which all those in the northern hemisphere use for navigation. To prevent Xena and company recovering the diamond she casts a spell that leaves them obsessed with various things.

Tsunami (42:28): There are more holes in this episode than in the boat that Xena, Gabrielle and a group of travellers end up in. Unfortunately for them, due to a tidal wave they end up inside the boat at the bottom of the ocean. Xena's take on the Poseidon adventure.

Vanishing Act (41:01): A very large golden statue of Pax has presided over a number of villages and ensured long term peace. On the eve of a festival the statue is mysteriously stolen, and things go sour very rapidly. With the aid of Autolycus, Xena and Gabrielle set out to steal the statue back in the most spectacular fashion possible.

Sacrifice (41:33): It would seem that Callisto is just about impossible to keep down. She has returned and attempts to bring Hope back to life, and through her the eternal reign of Dahak. A two-parter that finishes up the season.

Sacrifice II (42:33): Aries has cut a deal with the Fates such that if Xena kills Hope, her own thread will be cut. He tells Gabrielle this and leaves her in a real quandary, as part of the deal was only possible because of her betrayal of Xena in The Debt. The final scene leaves us with the season cliffhanger...not to be resolved until season four.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented at 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced, the transfer is pretty good overall.

    The image is sharp in most scenes, though the occasional darker scene is not as sharp. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are good, well saturated and free of noise.

    There are no MPEG artefacts or film to video artefacts present in the transfer. Grain is present but not distracting.

    There are no subtitles on these discs.

    There are two discs with layer changes in this package. The third disc's layer change occurs at 33:23, during one of the many fade to blacks for the ad breaks. The sixth disc's layer change occurs at 40:35, which is actually well into the credits at the end of the episode.

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

Audio

    Somewhat strangely on the discs I received for review, the first disc's audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 with a bit rate of 192Kbps, while the remaining discs all have a bit rate of 224Kbps. I could not really hear much of a difference between them other than a slight loss of brightness.

    Dialogue quality is good, as is the audio sync.

    The music continues to rock along with a variety of influences, both modern and ancient.

    Engaging Pro-Logic II decoding produces a nice ambience from the surrounds, with the occasional special effect sneaking into the rears.

    The subwoofer receives a small amount of redirected material that supports the soundtrack well, but there are no earth-shaking moments present.

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

Extras

Menu

    The 1.33:1 menu has fire burning in the lower part of the screen, while scenes from the series play in a diamond-shaped insert in the centre of the screen. It is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this box set misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    We obviously have a clear Region 1 winner here!

Summary

    In one of the episodes in this series, Gabrielle has been left waiting in a bar where there were apparently a lot of drunken men. When she catches up with Joxer, who was supposed to meet her there, she complains about the wait and comes out with the line - "I have been grabbed more times than the Golden Fleece". This line epitomizes this series: not only funny within the context of the scene, but also very clever in its use of mythology from the times in which it is set.

    The video is good.

    The audio is a functional surround effort.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Friday, December 17, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR800
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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