Sharpe's Enemy (1994)
|Category||Action||Main Menu Audio & Animation|
|Year Of Production||1994|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Tom Clegg|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.59:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.59:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Sharpe series of novels and telemovies, based around the adventures of a soldier during and after the Napoleonic wars, was something I was blissfully unaware of until the latest film, Sharpe's Challenge appeared recently on the ABC. There have been fifteen movies made in the series, all starring Sean Bean in the leading role of Richard Sharpe. The first fourteen were made in the period 1993 - 1997 and then there was a large gap until the latest one was made this year. They have all been directed by Tom Clegg and quite a few of the cast members (besides Bean) have made multiple appearances. The most notable of these is Daragh O'Malley who plays Sharpe's off-sider Patrick Harper and has appeared in all the films.
Sharpe is a young Sergeant in the first film of the series who saves the life of General Sir Arthur Wellesley, thus earning himself a field commission as an officer. His mother was a whore and he was born in a brothel, so his upbringing certainly sets him apart from other officers of the time who were mostly from rich, privileged upbringings. He is smart, tough, uncompromising, resourceful, brave and very annoying to his superiors especially if he has no respect for them. The series then follows his adventures through the various battles of the Napoleonic Wars in Spain & France and then on to other adventures such as in India in the latest film. This two disc set includes the third, fourth and fifth films, all made in 1994; Sharpe's Company, Sharpe's Enemy (sharing Disc 1) and Sharpe's Honour (on Disc 2). It would seem that Time Life plan to issue the whole series, excluding the latest one which has been issued locally by Roadshow. This is the second release so far from Time Life.
This fourth Sharpe telemovie is easily the pick of the bunch so far. The quality improvements in production values from the third film are now joined by a significant improvement in writing, resulting in much better exposition, amusing snappy dialogue and better character development. This film is set in 1813 in Portugal and follows on a few months after the previous story. Obediah Hakeswill (Pete Postlethwaite) has now deserted from Wellington's army and is jointly leading a band of French, English & Portuguese deserters. They are engaged in raping, looting and pillaging through the mountains of Portugal. In a raid on a small fortress town they stumble across Lady Farthingdale (Elizabeth Hurley) who they capture and hold for ransom. She is the wife of a newly arrived Colonel, Lord Farthingdale, who is a foppish idiot. As Obediah is seeking revenge on Sharpe, they demand that the ransom must be delivered by Sharpe. An enjoyable story leads to a dramatic conclusion.
These films will provide enjoyable viewing for historical adventure/drama buffs such as fans of the Hornblower series. This is the first telemovie of this series which comes up to the quality of Hornblower .
The video quality is a little better than on the first two discs. It is watchable but that is the best you can say.
The feature is presented in a 1.59:1 aspect ratio, non-16x9 enhanced, which I would guess is the original aspect ratio or something close to it.
The picture was quite soft. There is light grain throughout, which is heavier is some scenes and occasionally borders on macro blocking. There is also quite a bit of low level noise.
The colour was dull and lifeless. The colours seemed quite dark which may be related to the source material. There was also some colour bleeding.
Artefacts included a few lines and marks plus some edge enhancement.
There are no subtitles, however there are burned-in captions for some foreign languages that are spoken.
There is no layer change.
The audio quality is fair but certainly nothing special.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.
Dialogue was a bit difficult to make out at times and with the lack of subtitles this made following some scenes a little hard. Audio sync was fine.
The score of these films by Dominic Muldowney and John Tams is pretty good, featuring folk style instrumentation and some vocal songs. Occasionally it strays into being slightly overbearing. The theme is quite memorable. From a sound quality perspective there is some distortion in the music from time to time.
The surround speakers and subwoofer are not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu included music and motion.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
These titles are available separately in Region 1, seemingly with the same ordinary video quality (based on reviews). On the other hand, the Region 2 release includes subtitles, a production gallery and a fact file. Region 2 UK is the go.
The video quality is average.
The audio quality is fair.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer|