Overall | Babylon 5-The Gathering (1993) | Babylon 5-In the Beginning (1998) | Babylon 5-Thirdspace (1998) | Babylon 5-The River of Souls (1998) | Babylon 5-A Call to Arms (1999)

Babylon 5-The Movie Collection (1993)

Babylon 5-The Movie Collection (1993)

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Released 2-Mar-2005

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Overall Package

    This is a good collection of TV-movies that makes up part of a much greater whole. When viewed in their individuality, they do not rate as brilliant, but when measured up as part of the series, they do indeed serve a place, particularly in terms of bridging Babylon 5 and Crusade.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Nathan L

Comments (Add)
Warning: there are significant differences in Region 1 -
Legends of the Rangers? -
Re: Legends of the Rangers? - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!)

Overall | Babylon 5-The Gathering (1993) | Babylon 5-In the Beginning (1998) | Babylon 5-Thirdspace (1998) | Babylon 5-The River of Souls (1998) | Babylon 5-A Call to Arms (1999)

Babylon 5-The Gathering (1993)

Babylon 5-The Gathering (1993)

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Released 2-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Listing-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 90:51
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Richard Compton
Studio
Distributor
TNT
Warner Home Video
Starring Michael O'Hare
Tamlyn Tomita
Jerry Doyle
Mira Furlan
Blaire Baron
John Fleck
Paul Hampton
Peter Jurasik
Andreas Katsulas
Johnny Sekka
Patricia Tallman
Steven R. Barnett
Billy Hayes
Case ?
RPI ? Music Stewart Copeland
Christopher Franke


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

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

Plot Synopsis

There is a hole in your mind...

    In the early 1990s, J. Michael Straczynski conceived of a science fiction series that would break the mould of traditional sci-fi and tell realistic stories on the edge of space that would in turn create its own mythos. The pilot of this series, The Gathering, was however a rather uninspiring piece.

    Set a full year before the beginning of the first season, the movie-length pilot revolves around an assassination attempt on the mysterious Ambassador Koch of the Vorlon race. However, it seems that the station captain, Captain Sinclair (Michael O’Hare) is the prime suspect.

    While not a fabulous piece of television, it does serve to set the rest of the series up. To that end, it introduces us to the majority of the long term cast, including the reptilian N’arn Ambassador G’Kar (Andreas Katsulas), the Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik), the Minbari Ambassador Delenn (Mira Furlan), chief of security Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle) and commercial telepath Lyta Alexander (Patricia Tallman).

    When viewed in context of the greater whole, this is pretty good. As a one off, it does not grab your attention. But every great series has to start somewhere, and it has certainly been this reviewer’s experience that it’s hard to get any new show with its own mythos off the ground. From these meagre beginnings, Babylon 5 did exceptionally well.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Transferred in its original 1.33:1, Full Frame, not 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio, this PAL transfer is much clearer than the original NTSC R4 release, but not noticeably different from the PAL R4 re-release. This is also the only Babylon 5 episode that was not originally filmed in 1.78:1.

    The picture quality is the same as the R4 PAL re-release so I will not waste words on detail. The picture quality is good, the colour is well saturated although a touch washed out, there is a bit of grain, particularly in low light scenes, and the special effects overlay scenes are of a noticeably lesser quality.

    There is little in the way of transfer artefacts, with only some minor aliasing and moire in the background. Again, this is a significant reduction compared to the original R4 NTSC version. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are quite a lot of film artefacts, some of them quite noticeable. Several large hairs in the corners of screens crop up from time to time, and there’s usually a dot of dirt on the screen somewhere if you look hard enough.

    Subtitles are available in English, and English for the Hearing Impaired. They are white with a black border, clear and easy to read, and follow the dialogue pretty closely.

    The disc is single layered.

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

Audio

    Unfortunately, the only audio available is the original English 2.0 Dolby Surround track.

    Dialogue is well produced, and there was no difficulty in understanding what was being said. There were some minor sync issues that were source faults, but nothing too appalling.

    There is a good range here for a mere 2.0 surround track, and the remixed score by Christopher Franke comes up well, although noticeably lacking by comparison to the series.

    There is a decent amount of surround information, but most of it is left-to-right.

    My set up kicks bass down to the sub which gives this a really growly feel, but when I switch the mix back to normal the sub remains silent.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu is static with the score in 2.0 Dolby Stereo.

Cast & Crew

    A still containing a list of principal cast and crew.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 release of this disc in this set is the same, although it has NTSC colour formatting and R1 encoding. There is also available a dual-sided disc containing both The Gathering and In The Beginning. The R4 release probably has slightly better picture quality.

Summary

    The Gathering is a rather uninspiring beginning to a first rate magnum opus of a series. Well worth watching, though, as it is a great introduction to the mythos.

    The video is good considering the limits of the source.

    The sound is only available in 2.0 Dolby Surround. Maybe one day we will get a 5.1 Dolby Digital remix.

    There are sadly no real extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, May 06, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-676A, SACD & DVD-A, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Is this the TNT Special Edition? - REPLY POSTED
A bit Confusing -
3 Versions Now... - NovaDust

Overall | Babylon 5-The Gathering (1993) | Babylon 5-In the Beginning (1998) | Babylon 5-Thirdspace (1998) | Babylon 5-The River of Souls (1998) | Babylon 5-A Call to Arms (1999)

Babylon 5-In the Beginning (1998)

Babylon 5-In the Beginning (1998)

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Released 2-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 90:27
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Michael Vejar
Studio
Distributor
TNT
Warner Home Video
Starring Bruce Boxleitner
Mira Furlan
Richard Biggs
Andreas Katsulas
Peter Jurasik
Theodore Bikel
Reiner Schöne
Michael O'Hare
Robin Atkin Downes
J. Patrick McCormack
Tricia O'Neil
Robin Sachs
James Patrick Stuart
Case ?
RPI ? Music Christopher Franke


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 English
French
German
Dutch
Swedish
Danish
Finnish
Polish
Greek
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

And so it begins...

    Between its second and third seasons, the TV network carrying Babylon 5 was somewhat concerned that viewers would not be able to follow the complex plotting of the show. Accordingly, this TV movie (In The Beginning) was commissioned to bridge the gap for anybody who had not been following the show closely to this point.

    Understanding that this was necessary in order to keep the funding coming, creator J. Michael Straczynski decided that the best method to use was an ‘envelope’ within which the pivotal events of the first three seasons could effectively be encapsulated. The chosen envelope involves an aged Emperor Londo Mollari (Peter Jurasik) talking to a group of children in the Centauri Palace as the city burns around them, talking to them about his role in the downfall of their empire and his role in it.

    If you haven’t seen the first three seasons of B5, The Gathering really spoils a lot of good moments and slow revelations that made it all so watchable. Really, leave this one until you need to watch it, or if you want something to tie all those threads together for you. This movie also had a large contribution to the series as a whole, enabling the creator to revisit a lot of the old scenes that were not properly done and have them redone to be reinserted in the DVD re-release of the first season.

    As a story on its own, this one also holds up pretty well, and I like to watch it as a little interlude between seasons. It’s like a strange bedtime story, particularly when you know the full extent of what is going on. Well worth having in the collection.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Transferred in its original 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, aspect ratio, this PAL transfer is much clearer than the original NTSC R4 release, and from what I can tell identical to the PAL R4 re-release.

    The image is still a bit grainy, but the colour saturation is getting progressively better. Definition is good, but not exceptional.

    There is a fair bit in the way of transfer artefacts, noticeably some rather irritating aliasing and background moire. The SFX overlay scenes are noticeably worse for wear in this regard.

    There are no overt MPEG artefacts.

    There is still a fair bit of dirt and debris floating around on this print, but I think this is on the whole a little better than the pilot. The first few seasons of Babylon 5 were noticeably worse than the last couple in terms of dirt, and as this movie is from that era, it is hardly surprising.

    Subtitles are available in an array of languages. They are white with a black border, easy to read, and the English track is fairly accurate.

    This is a single layer disc.

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

Audio

    Sadly, again we only have the original 2.0 Dolby Surround soundtrack. This is a real disappointment as this is one of the more intense of the B5 movies, and a 5.1 Dolby Digital remix would have been appreciated.

    This is, again, identical to the original R4 PAL re-release. Dialogue is loud and clear, there are no atrocious sync issues, the range is good and dynamic, and there is a decent amount of surround information.

    Christophe Franke' amazing score for this is given good treatment, but I would have preferred a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix of it.

    I got some subwoofer kick with my system, but when I turned the crossover to normal there was no life in the lower registers.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. They are static with the score from the film playing in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

Cast & Crew

    A still containing a list of principal cast and crew.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 release of this disc in this set is the same, although it has NTSC colour formatting and R1 encoding. There is also available a dual-sided disc containing both The Gathering and In The Beginning.

Summary

    In The Beginning is one of the best in this movie series, with its prequel setting that nevertheless sets out a few surprises for later in the series. Oddly compelling, but must be watched after the first three seasons.

    Video is grainy, but acceptable.

    The sound is only available in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

    There are no real extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-676A, SACD & DVD-A, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Viewing Position - James O
Region 1 has a new transfer 5.1 sound and a commentary -

Overall | Babylon 5-The Gathering (1993) | Babylon 5-In the Beginning (1998) | Babylon 5-Thirdspace (1998) | Babylon 5-The River of Souls (1998) | Babylon 5-A Call to Arms (1999)

Babylon 5-Thirdspace (1998)

Babylon 5-Thirdspace (1998)

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Released 2-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Introduction-J. Michael Straczynski And Various Cast And Crew
Audio Commentary-Director And Cast
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 90:20
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Jesús Salvador Treviño
Studio
Distributor
TNT
Warner Home Video
Starring Bruce Boxleitner
Claudia Christian
Mira Furlan
Richard Biggs
Jeff Conaway
Stephen Furst
Patricia Tallman
Clyde Kusatsu
Shari Belafonte
William Sanderson
Kip King
Floyd Levine
Jeffrey Anderson-Gunter
Case ?
RPI ? Music Christopher Franke


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 English
German
French
Dutch
Finnish
Swedish
Czech
Greek
Turkish
Arabic
Croatian
Slovenian
Portuguese
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

One mistake of so many...

    At the end of the final series of Babylon 5, now retitled in its entirety as The Wheel Of Fire, creator J. Michael Straczynski found that he still had several stories to tell in the Babylon 5 universe, particularly as a means of bridging this series with his newly conceived follow-on series Crusade.

    The first of this trilogy is the film, Thirdspace. Set between the third season, Point Of No Return, and the fourth season, No Surrender, No Retreat, Thirdspace revolves around an alien artefact that a group of B5 Star-Furies finds in deep hyperspace and bring back to the station.

    Thirdspace really gives the chance for the ensemble cast to display some fine work, and I really like this particular TV movie. It has a lot going for it, even if it is a largely stand-alone episode. Patricia Tallman also gets to play a really good role as a telepath going out of her mind, which is great fun to watch.

    While certainly nothing special in terms of its addition to the saga, Thirdspace is a lot of fun, and makes for great late-night science fiction. A worthy addition to the Babylon 5 magnum opus.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Transferred in its original 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio, this is a very nice transfer.

    There is considerably less grain and less film artefacts in this transfer than there are in the earlier movies. There is good definition at work here, and the colour saturation is better, although still not perfect in my opinion.

    There is still a bit of aliasing and moire at work here, but nothing too bad. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There is not much dirt at play here by comparison to the previous movies, but it’s still noticeable if you go looking for it.

    There are, however, plenty of subtitles at work here in white with a black border. They are clear and easy to read, and follow the dialogue pretty closely.

    There is apparently a dual-layer pause here, but I can’t find it on my new set up. If anyone comes across it, let me know.

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

Audio

    There is a fantastic 5.1 Dolby digital soundtrack at play here, as well as an accompanying German soundtrack in 5.1 Dolby Digital and French in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

    The English track has excellent dialogue reproduction, no audio sync problems that I saw, and a great and dynamic range.

    There is plenty of surround information here as you would expect of a 5.1 Dolby Digital track, but still not the kind of cinematic scores that we have become used to.

    The subwoofer gets a good pounding in this one, with some impressive rumble that’s not just due to my new set up.

    The foreign language soundtracks are noticeably thinner but adequate.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with the score in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

Introduction (4:04)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is an introduction to the movie with the cast and crew, predominantly Straczynski.

Audio Commentary

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this commentary is by Jesus Salvador Trevino, Bruce Boxleitner, Jeff Conway, Stephen Furst and Patricia Tallman. This is a great commentary and the cast are clearly having a lot of fun doing it. There is rarely a quiet moment, and I was overall entertained.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 release of this movie in this set looks to be identical to the R4 release, barring NTSC coding and region coding. Without a copy I cannot give you an exact comparison.

Summary

    Thirdspace is a great fun standalone movie addition to the Babylon 5 saga. Well worth watching, as it makes an effective little horror story.

    Video is good, but still limited by its source.

    The sound is only available in a great 5.1 Dolby Digital remix that really adds to the enjoyment of the movie.

    The extras are brief but good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-676A, SACD & DVD-A, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Story Placement - James O

Overall | Babylon 5-The Gathering (1993) | Babylon 5-In the Beginning (1998) | Babylon 5-Thirdspace (1998) | Babylon 5-The River of Souls (1998) | Babylon 5-A Call to Arms (1999)

Babylon 5-The River of Souls (1998)

Babylon 5-The River of Souls (1998)

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Released 2-Mar-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Introduction-J. Michael Straczynski And Various Cast And Crew
Audio Commentary-J. Michael Straczynski, Director And Cast
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 89:50
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Janet Greek
Studio
Distributor
TNT
Warner Home Video
Starring Jerry Doyle
Tracy Scoggins
Jeff Conaway
Richard Biggs
Ian McShane
Martin Sheen
Jeff Doucette
Wayne Alexander
Bob Amaral
Beege Barkette
Joel Brooks
Joshua Cox
T.J. Hoban
Case ?
RPI ? Music Christopher Franke


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 English
French
Spanish
German
Arabic
Dutch
Croatian
Slovenian
Portuguese
English for the Hearing Impaired
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 River Of Souls is the second film in a trilogy conceived after the final series of Babylon 5 as a bridge between the original series and the short-lived follow-on series Crusade.

    Set after the fifth season of Babylon 5, The Wheel Of Fire, but before the events in the episode Sleeping In Starlight, The River Of Souls follows an archaeologist searching for eternal life who breaks into a vault belonging to the Soul Hunters and steals a special artefact. He travels to Babylon 5, where he is met by Michael Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle), now CEO of a large company and looking into various black projects that the company was financing.

    It soon becomes clear, however, that this artefact is much more than is originally thought, and soon a Soul Hunter (Martin Sheen) is on Babylon 5 to get his people’s property back. But is he responsible for the strange sights at work on the station? Or has a horrible mistake been made by many?

    The River Of Souls really gives Tracy Scoggins a chance to shine out from under the shadow of Bruce Boxleitner, and carry a story pretty much on her own. While some fans were not enamoured with this approach, this reviewer found it refreshing as it gives a whole new perspective to the station. Well worth the time.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Transferred in its original 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio, this TV-movie comes up pretty well.

    Detail is excellent, there is considerably less graininess than the previous TV-movies and the series, definition is nicely rendered, shadow detail is no problem, and colour saturation is right on the mark at last.

    Transfer artefacts were kept to a minimum, with only a touch of aliasing that was noticeable. There were no MPEG artefacts.

    There is a tiny bit of dirt present, but nothing really obvious or distracting.

    Subtitles are available in plenty of languages (listed above) in white with a black border, clear and easy to read, following the dialogue reasonably closely.

    Again, there is apparently a dual-layer pause here, but I can’t find it on my new set up. If anyone comes across it, let me know.

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

Audio

    There is another great 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack present here, along with French and Spanish in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

    This is another excellent example of dialogue reproduction, with clear voices and inflection. There are no sync issues that are distracting.

    The higher bitrate allows for much better dynamic range and more detailed surround information, and Christophe Franke’s score (the last he did for the series) is very nicely reproduced.

    The subwoofer is put to good use once more, although not quite as much of a work out as it got in Thirdspace.

    The foreign language soundtracks are lacking by comparison, but still adequate.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with the score in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

Introduction (4:12)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is an introduction to the movie with the cast and crew, predominantly Straczynski.

Audio Commentary

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this commentary is by J. Michael Straczynski, Janet Greek, and Tracy Scoggins. As you would expect, Straczynski tends to dominate this track a little, but the ladies assert themselves well when he slows down.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 release of this movie in this set looks to be identical to the R4 release, barring NTSC coding and region coding. Without a copy I cannot give you an exact comparison.

Summary

    The River Of Souls is another great standalone Babylon 5 movie.

    Video is the best of the TV movies yet.

    The sound gets a great 5.1 Dolby Digital remix.

    The extras are few but good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Monday, May 09, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-676A, SACD & DVD-A, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Trilogy - James O

Overall | Babylon 5-The Gathering (1993) | Babylon 5-In the Beginning (1998) | Babylon 5-Thirdspace (1998) | Babylon 5-The River of Souls (1998) | Babylon 5-A Call to Arms (1999)

Babylon 5-A Call to Arms (1999)

Babylon 5-A Call to Arms (1999)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 2-Mar-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Introduction-J. Michael Straczynski And Various Cast And Crew
Audio Commentary-J. Michael Straczynski And Michael Vejar (Director )
Featurette-Babylon 5: Creating The Future
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 89:50
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Michael Vejar
Studio
Distributor
TNT
Warner Home Video
Starring Bruce Boxleitner
Jerry Doyle
Jeff Conaway
Carrie Dobro
Peter Woodward
Tony Todd
Tracy Scoggins
Tony Maggio
Michael Harris
Scott MacDonald
Wayne Alexander
Carlos Bernard
Burt Bulos
Case ?
RPI ? Music Evan H. Chen


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 English
German
French
Dutch
Finnish
Swedish
Czech
Greek
Turkish
Arabic
Croatian
Slovenian
Portuguese
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
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 final TV-movie bridging Babylon 5 and Crusade, A Call To Arms really serves as a set up and bridging piece, but also the final adventure of the Babylon 5 crew.

    Set shortly after The River Of Souls, in between the end of the fifth season of Babylon 5, The Wheel Of Fire, and before the events in the episode Sleeping In Starlight, A Call To Arms involves an attempt by President Sheridan to prevent an attack on Earth by the Drakh, an evil race that aligned itself with the Shadows in the past.

    I really like this TV movie, and find it an effective bridge between the two series. It does take a bit to get used to, particularly the score given that Christophe Franke’s trademark score was substituted for the change of composers going into Crusade.

    While not really a standalone in any respect, this serves its purpose well, being both an entertaining film in its own right, as well as a conduit towards a bigger story. Indispensable.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Transferred in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, this is the best of the TV-movies in terms of video transfer.

    Colour is outstanding, picture definition is excellent, graininess is much reduced, bordering on non-existent, and shadow detail is great.

    There is virtually nothing in the way of transfer artefacts, although you will spot some aliasing in the CGI sequences if you go looking. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    Dirt is extremely minimal here, but you will spot a bit if you go looking.

    Subtitles are available in plenty of languages (listed above) in white with a black border, clear and easy to read, following the dialogue fairly closely.

    Again, the dual-layer pause on this is just too quick and I keep missing it. If anyone comes across it, let me know.

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

Audio

    There is another rip snorter of a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack here, along with a German 5.1 Dolby Digital track and a French 2.0 Dolby Surround track.

    Dialogue reproduction is again right on the money, with no visible sync issues, or at least none that I found distracting.

    The range is better than the previous movies, and there seems to be a more subtle flow of surround information. That might just have to do with the fact that this is a more action driven movie, but I think the sound mixing is overall a little better.

    The music by Evan H. Chen takes a little getting used to, but once you know what to expect, it flows along quite nicely, and again blends very well into Crusade.

    The subwoofer is put to good use once more, although not quite as much of a work out as it got in Thirdspace.

    The foreign language soundtracks aren’t as full by comparison, but are nevertheless adequate.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with the score in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

Introduction (3:39)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is an introduction to the movie with the cast and crew, predominantly Straczynski.

Audio Commentary

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this commentary is by J. Michael Straczynski and director Michael Vejar. Another good commentary to round out the series of TV movies.

Featurette – “Babylon 5: Making The Future” (8:38)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is a look at the production design for the series and how Straczynski drew from history to project where humanity would be in two hundred and fifty years in order to keep the show realistic.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 release of this movie in this set looks to be identical to the R4 release, barring NTSC coding and region coding. Without a copy I cannot give you an exact comparison.

Summary

    A Call To Arms serves as a very effective bridge between Babylon 5 and Crusade. While an enjoyable movie on its own, it is incomplete without the follow on series, and for that reason it is hard to describe it as anything other than a bridge.

    Video is the best of the TV movies.

    The 5.1 Dolby Digital remix is excellent, although it takes a little getting used to the music change with the old cast still present.

    The extras are again minimal, but what little there is here is interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-676A, SACD & DVD-A, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Little factual errors -
R4 is markedly inferior to R1 -