New Europe (Michael Palin's) (2007)

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

Released 6-Feb-2008

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Interviews-Cast-Michael Palin
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 412:22 (Case: 580)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Roger Mills
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Michael Palin
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $39.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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 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

    Michael Palin, a founding member of the Monty Python comedy group, has now made 7 of these travel based documentary series for the BBC. All of them have been well worth watching and most of them have been exceptional television. This is one of the weaker series he has made but is still quite interesting. It is his natural gift for comedy which has really lifted these series above the ordinary and his uncanny ability to get along with the various people he meets. This one was made in 2006 and 2007 and focuses on Eastern Europe including the Balkans, parts of the old USSR, the Baltic countries and everything in between. The other 6 are:

    New Europe travels with Michael as he makes his way through the various small countries which now make up Eastern Europe. He visits twenty countries in total. This series does not have as much of a single journey feel to it as the others do and I would guess this was made in various visits to Eastern Europe rather than in one journey. This leads to a feeling that things are not covered in detail a lot of the time and rather it is just snippets of the various countries. Also, many of his other journeys had dramas which came about during the journey whereas this series really lacks much drama at all. Michael is of course still his genial and amusing self which makes the series fairly easy to watch although some of the people he interviews are very tedious indeed.

    The show includes seven episodes of approximately 58 minutes each, spread over three DVDs. The first two discs contain three episodes each and the third has one episode and the majority of the extras. The episodes are:

  1. War & Peace (58:54) Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia & Albania.
  2. Eastern Delight (58:54) Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkey and the region of Cappadocia.
  3. Wild East (58:59) Moldova, Transdniester (break away section of Moldova), Romania and a visit to Ilie Nastase.
  4. Danube to Dnieper (59:04) Hungary, Ukraine & the Crimea.
  5. Baltic Summer (58:33) Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania & Kaliningrad.
  6. From Pole to Pole (58:59) This episode focuses on Poland and is the best of the series benefiting from more detail on one country.
  7. Journey's End (58:49) Slovakia, Czech Republic & Eastern Germany.

    Another travel series from Michael Palin which, although watchable, is not one of his best.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

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

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout and there was no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was quite good however some of the darker scenes were quite grainy.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    The only artefact was some minor aliasing.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. They were clear and easy to read but summarised from the spoken word. There were also some burnt in subtitles for specific lines of foreign language or hard to understand English.

    The layer changes must be between episodes as I did not notice them.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Considering the dialogue-driven nature of a documentary this is the most critical audio ingredient. I found the theme tune quite annoying.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menus included music and scenes from the show along with the ability to select individual episodes and subtitles.

Disc 1

Interview with Michael Palin Pt. 1 (13:09)

    He discusses why the trip was undertaken, the future of Europe and the changes since he last went to the region. Nothing special. 16x9 enhanced.

Disc 2

Interview with Michael Palin Pt. 2 (12:44)

    He discusses politics, problems encountered and customs of the countries. Nothing special. 16x9 enhanced.

Disc 3

Deleted Scenes (19:44, 26:29, 14:16, 22:00, 26:23, 4:15 & 27:50)

    A huge collection of deleted scenes featuring a wry and sarcastic voiceover/commentary from Palin. There is some good stuff in here and the scenes are grouped for each episode of the series. 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

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

    This set has been released in both Region 2 and Region 4 in exactly the same format. It does not seem to be available in Region 1.

Summary

    Another one of the seven travel series' which have so far been made by Michael Palin for the BBC. This is not one of his best.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The set includes some worthwhile extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, March 06, 2008
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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Still one of the best - Ross M