|Year Of Production||2005|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (27:41)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Jon Jones|
Anchor Bay Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Archangel is a potboiler mini-series based on a novel by Robert Harris, who is probably best know for writing the novel that was turned into the movie Enigma and co-writing the mini series Selling Hitler. Much in the same vein as the two aforementioned works, save for the humour of Selling Hitler, Archangel is a thriller with a little bit of action and grand political overtones. What the story lacks in depth, which is really quite a lot, is well hidden by rapid changes in the story, an engaging atmosphere and feigned intrigue.
The series tells the story of English history professor "Fluke" Kelso (Daniel Craig, shortly before his Bond career boost) as he follows the trail of a diary believed to have belonged to Josef Stalin, with an educated Russian call-girl (Yekaterina Rednikova) and a reporter (Gabriel Macht) in tow. The KGB are desperate to keep diary's secrets under wraps, and hardline communist revivalists are desperate to exploit them. Both pursuers have guns. It is a bit like a watered down mash of John Le Carré, The Da Vinci Code and National Treasure, albeit to a TV-sized budget.
The story is spread across three 40-odd minute episodes. The episodes run at a rather awkward pace in order to reach a definite endpoint for each episode. Parts seem to drag in order to fill the length of each episode, only the end of each episode to come about so swiftly that the it all seems cobbled together in a rush. The story certainly would have benefitted from being framed in a single feature so that it could let things run at their own pace. As it stands, Archangel is a reasonably entertaining, but overly clumsy, mini series.
The series is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video quality is fair. The image is reasonably sharp and features a decent level of shadow detail. A mild level of low-level noise is visible throughout the series, though it is more noticeable in the first episode that the other two.
The colour is slightly pale and washed out, but even, throughout.
Mild pixelation artefacts are visible throughout the series, though never particularly distracting. Aliasing is noticeable in many of the scenes, however, which is likely to irritate anyone that notices it. There is no sign of film artefacts in the transfer.
No subtitles are present for the feature.
This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 27:41 in the second episode, but was not noticeable on my equipment.
A single English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio track is present for the film.
Mild background static is noticeable in the audio stream, as well as mild clipping on a few loud noise throughout the series. These artefacts probably won't distract casual viewers, after all it isn't too different to analog broadcast artefacts that would have been noticable when the series was broadcast, but will disappoint audiophiles.
The dialogue is a little on the soft side, particularly in the first two episodes, and a few parts are a little hard to make out at normal volume levels. There are no issues with audio/visual sync.
The series features a perfunctory orchestral score by Rob Lane.
There is a mild degree of pro-logic surround in the 2.0 audio stream. Though it is cetainly not of the highest quality, it does add a further degree of atmosphere to the show. A small degree of bottom end reaches the subwoofer, though hardly enough to notice.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 edition contains text filmographies and biographies of cast and crew that are not found on the Region 4 release, but these are a fairly worthless addition. Also worth considering is that the Region 4 edition is presented in PAL, the original broadcast format of the show, rather than NTSC. In my book this is pretty much a draw.
A reasonably entertaining, but overly clumsy, action-thriller mini series that holds itself together with rich atmosphere rather than deep plot.
The video and audio are mediocre. There are no extras.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|