John Safran vs. God (2004)

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Released 22-Oct-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Additional Footage-Bonus Bob-11 Short Featurettes
Additional Footage-Bumped-14 Scenes
Deleted Scenes-7
Outtakes
Trailer-John Safran's Music Jamboree, The Corporation
Trailer-Bowling For Columbine, Calm Om Yoga, Letters To Ali
Trailer-Amandla!
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 199:28 (Case: 243)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring John Safran
Case Gatefold
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None 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 None Smoking Yes, incl Drugs
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    John Safran is a young Jewish man from Melbourne with courage and a good sense of what is funny. He first rose to prominence in Australia when he appeared in the first series of Race Around The World, an ABC game show/travelogue which involved young people being sent wherever they wanted on a shoestring budget to shoot amateur short films of their travels. They had to submit a short film each week and the films were judged by a panel of filmmakers. Safran did not win, but was the most popular by miles due to the things he got up to such as streaking naked through the centre of Jerusalem or adding an Iran doll to a Disneyland ride. Since then he has appeared irregularly on Australian television, especially after being involved in a scuffle with Ray Martin over Martin's rubbish bin. More recently he made a interesting series for SBS about the music industry which exposed numerous facts about how the industry really worked, combined with silly stunts like dressing up as Prince or singing Ozzy Osborne lyrics backwards on railway stations. It was called John Safran's Music Jamboree. A lot of his previous television work has had religious topics included either overtly or more subtly such as going back to his old Jewish High School to dance. This series takes the religious topics to a whole new level.

    John Safran Vs God is a series where John investigates different religions and organisations with religious subtexts around the globe. The series is a mixture of poking fun at various people's approach to religion and serious investigative journalism, although even the more serious sections take a comedic approach, with the exception of the last episode which focuses on his interactions with an exorcist called Bob Larson. Other than the final episode, the episodes are similar in structure, made up of a number of stories interspersed with John, sitting in a large red chair, either introducing a story or launching a diatribe. Most episodes also include a religion road test where John tries a religion out to see if it's for him. During the series John manages to insult just about all major religions in some way, so if you get offended easily you may not like this series. Personally, I think it's great television.

    Before I describe the episodes in more detail I should mention that this set is really well packaged, including lots of funny photos and other things like John's Israeli citizenship certificate (Ep3) and his Sorry! (sorta) plaque (Ep2). The only thing some people may not like about the packaging is that it utilizes fold-out cardboard instead of Amaray, but this allows the other pictures and jokes to be included. This is a 2 disc set.

    The episodes include the following sections:

  1.  John wants to see how difficult it is to get a fatwa issued by the UK Shariah court, so tries to get one on Rove McManus; Road Test - Peyote Way; Scientology; Atheists (this is a great start to the series, and is both funny and controversial).
  2. Funny stunt about Aboriginal land rights; Road Test - Buddhism; Great section on Masons; Diatribe on the design of Catholic Churches.
  3. Story on the Ku Klux Klan where John asks the Grand Master whether he can join and then mentions he is Jewish (top story); John spends time with Father Bob, a Catholic Priest in Melbourne (hilarious); John offers his Israeli citizenship to Palestinians if they can impersonate a Jew.
  4. John pitches a film idea to Mormon film producers; Road Test - Voodooism in Haiti (this is not for the faint of heart and even John looks petrified and horrified); John visits a group called Jews for Guns and takes the p*** out of Michael Moore and ends the episode with a very funny diatribe.
  5. John revisits the priest he visited during Race Around The World to confess the sins he committed last time he was there; John goes door knocking in Salt Lake City to try to convert Mormons to atheism (funny stuff!); a comparison of quotes from the Pope and the Dalai Lama to see who is more conservative; Road Test - Hinduism and a funny rant about Anti-Semitism
  6. John tries out for the Harlem Gospel Choir; John brings in Sara-Marie from Big Brother to try and solve the Middle East crisis; Road Test - Vikings; Vampires. This is probably the weakest episode but is still worth watching.
  7. John tries to get the curse on Aussie Soccer lifted by a witchdoctor (this is gross and involves John being covered in chicken blood); John buys Mormon underwear and reveals its secrets (great story); John discusses the Bible Code books and religious boycotts.
  8. This last episode is in a completely different format to the others. It contains only one story and very little in the way of jokes. John visits an exorcist in the US, Bob Larson, who believes he badly needs one after the stuff he has done during the rest of the series and his life. The exorcism he performs on John seems real and John seems genuinely affected by it. This is either a very powerful and confronting piece of television or one of the greatest acting performances of all time. You'll have to decide for yourself. Either way it's great viewing.

    Overall, this is an excellent series, which I would recommend as one of the best Australian shows of recent times. It is both funny and confronting. Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. There was some grain in evidence in some footage. The shadow detail was very good.

    The colour was generally good, however it did contain some colour artefacts such as rainbow effects from time to time.

    From an artefacts perspective there was some significant aliasing (although only occasional) which was particularly bad on newspaper clippings and other documents shown onscreen. I also noticed some macro-blocking on the red chair which John sits on to talk to camera in most episodes.

    There are no subtitles.

    The layer change is not noticeable and must be between episodes.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The theme song of this series, Hate Priest by Mozart on Crack is a thrash metal song, which personally I found a little annoying.

    The surround speakers added some atmosphere when played with Dolby ProLogicII.

    The subwoofer added bass, particularly to the music, as a result of my amp's bass management.

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

Extras

    Extras are non 16x9 enhanced except the menus.

Menu

    The menu included motion, and the ability to select episodes or play all. The menus were quite well designed and included some funny images.

More Bob

    This is a section of extra footage with Bob Larson, the exorcist, which is quite interesting and well worth watching. The specific sections are:

Bumped

    This is a section of stories and ideas bumped from the series. There is some excellent stuff here and it is definitely worth watching. The specific sections are:

Deleted Scenes

    Deleted scenes from the various stories including:

Outtakes (1:39)

    One of the least funny sections of the entire disc...

Madman Propaganda

    Trailers for Music Jamboree, The Corporation, Bowling for Columbine, Calm Om Yoga, Letters to Ali, Amandla.

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 coded for all regions but does not seem to have been released outside of Region 4.

Summary

    A funny and controversial series about religion by John Safran.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The set has an abundance of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
FUNNIEST MAN ON AUSTRALIAN TV EASILY....... -
Interview with John Safran -