Joan of Arc-TV Mini Series (Beyond Home Ent) (1999)

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Released 10-Mar-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Biopic Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Notes-Executive Director's 'Genesis' on
Synopsis
Notes-Significant Dates In History
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 181:42 (Case: 185)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (90:15) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Christian Duguay
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Leelee Sobieski
Chad Willett
Jacqueline Bissett
Powers Boothe
Olympia Dukakis
Neil Patrick Harris
Robert Loggia
Maximilian Schell
Peter Strauss
Shirley MacLaine
Peter O'Toole
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Tony Kosinec
Asher Ettinger


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 None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Way back in 2001, this TV mini-series was first released onto DVD in Region 4 by Magna Pacific. You can find our review of that edition here . Now in 2010, this mini-series has been re-released by Beyond Home Entertainment who are now part of the same group of companies as Magna Pacific. There is very little to distinguish between the editions and the only difference I can find is that the layer change is in a different spot between the episodes at 90:15 rather than during the show as it was on the previous version. Accordingly, if you own the previous edition there is no benefit to you considering a repurchase.

    There was momentary Joan of Arc fever in Hollywood in 1999 when the story was made into both a feature film starring Milla Jovovich and this TV Mini Series which went on to be nominated for 11 Emmys and 4 Golden Globes (Peter O'Toole won an Emmy for his role as Bishop Couchon). This two part series tells the story of Joan of Arc (Leelee Sobieski) , canonised as a saint by the Catholic Church in 1920. It tells the story of her short life of only 19 years, starting as a farm girl in rural France and then being called by voices, which she claimed were saints, to help unite France behind the Dauphin (Neil Patrick Harris), later King Charles VII. She led the French armies in battle against the English and the Burgundians. After some success including the liberation of Orleans, she was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English and tried for heresy. She was found guilty based mostly on the fact that she had been wearing men's clothing and burned at the stake.

    Other members of a well known cast include Jacqueline Bisset as Isabelle D'Arc, Joan's mother, Powers Boothe as her father Jacques, Shirley Maclaine in a cameo as Madame de Beaurevoir, Olympia Dukakis as a nun, Mother Babette, Chad Willett as one of her main allies, Jean de Metz, Maximillian Schell as an inquisitor, Robert Loggia as her local priest and Peter Strauss as her military commander Captain La Hire. Despite the big name cast some of the acting is pretty ordinary with overacting the norm especially in part 1. The production is generally melodramatic with the music adding significantly to this, as it is quite often over the top in style. This is combined with some slow motion deaths and a variety of techniques to heighten the emotional content. The second half is better with some more restraint shown which brings more drama but cuts back on the melodrama. It is in this second half that the Emmy award for Peter O'Toole starts to make sense.

    Generally speaking, this is a quite good telling of the story of Joan of Arc despite some melodramatic sequences.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is quite good considering the source is a late 1990s television mini-series.

    The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, non 16x9 enhanced which seems to be the original aspect ratio (despite the Region 1 DVD being in 1.85:1).

    The picture was reasonably sharp and clear considering the source although you would not get excited. Shadow detail is decent without being spectacular. There is also some occasional light grain and MPEG macro-blocking and motion blur (eg 82:40) at times.

    The colour was good but quite muted. There was some bleeding from light colours.

    Other artefacts included some small white spots here and there, some minor aliasing and edge enhancement.

    There are no subtitles which is a pain because they would have been much appreciated.

    The layer change occurs between the episodes at 90:15.

   
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is average at best.

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

    Dialogue was indistinct and too low in the mix making it quite hard to pick up what people were saying at times. I believe this would have been less of an issue with a higher bitrate.

    The music was over the top in style and overpowered the dialogue at times.

    The surround speakers were used for music with ProLogic engaged and  the subwoofer was not used in any noticeable way.

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

Extras

    

Menu

    The menu features music but was still.

Text Extras

    As with the previous edition the extras only include text based items including cast overviews, biographies, an interview with the executive director, a synopsis and a selection of important dates to the story.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 release includes closed captions and a 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced transfer but the extras are very similar.

Summary

    An interesting if melodramatic telling of the life of Joan of Arc.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is average.

    Text based extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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