The Prisoner (2009)

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Released 1-Aug-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-2
Interviews-Cast
Featurette-Panel Discussion
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 276:54 (Case: 300)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nick Hurran
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Ian McKellan
Jim Caviezel
Ruth Wilson
Rachael Blake
Hayley Atwell
Jamie Campbell Bower
Lennie James
Case Slip Case
RPI $34.95 Music Rupert Gregson-Williams


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

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

Plot Synopsis

'Everything is suspicious if you look at it properly'

     Five years ago I reviewed the 35th Anniversary box set of the original television series, The Prisoner (1967) which is a cult classic of 1960s television. It is a fascinating and greatly loved series which is well worth digging out if you haven't seen it and like things which make you think and are not necessarily completely linear or completely explained. The best way to enjoy this new series, based on a similar concept to the 1967 one, is pretty much to forget that the previous one existed. The two series start from a similar concept but handle it quite differently. This re-imagining of the original series does not try to be a complete copy, rather using it as a basis for doing some different things with the ideas. Despite the strong criticism this series has received, I found it intriguing, enigmatic and a worthwhile series despite also being more than a little weird and quite confusing at times. Basically, if you want your television to be linear and clearly explained you should look elsewhere.

     In this version, a man, Michael (Jim Caviezel), resigns from his job at a shady security/spying company, Summakor, in New York, meets a girl, Lucy (Hayley Atwell), and then wakes up alone in the desert. He immediately sees an old man (dressed like he was from the original village) being pursued across the desert by armed guards. Michael helps him hide from the guards and listens to his final words about how he has escaped. Afterwards, he stumbles into a settlement in the desert, which he works out quickly is called 'The Village'. Here he meets a number of people including a taxi driver, called 147 (Lennie James), other people named using numbers and eventually he meets 2 (Ian McKellan), the leader of the settlement. 2 tells him that his name is 6, and that he is confused and possibly disturbed which is why he thinks he can remember living somewhere else. The series then follows the tensions between the rebellious and determined 6 and the dictatorial and dangerous 2 as 6 tries to escape and 2 tries to make him stop wanting to. Other important characters in this version include 313 (Ruth Wilson), a doctor who takes a romantic interest in 6, 11-12 (Jamie Campbell Bower), the son of 2 and M2 (Rachael Blake), 2's wife who seems to be in a coma.

     As I mentioned above a direct comparison with the original series is pretty pointless as this is a quite different show despite the obvious connections. There are many little reminders of the other series such as someone wearing the uniform from the original village and a brief appearance of a penny farthing bike. This show goes in different directions including a romantic triangle and a very different explanation for The Village along with a quite different ending. The acting is top quality throughout, the cinematography of the Namibian and South African locations is excellent and the music featuring a score and Brian Wilson songs is very fitting to the piece. It was made for ITV in the UK and AMC in the US. The series is nicely packaged in a double amaray encased in a cardboard sleeve.

     If you can cope with some lack of obviousness in your television and like to think about what you are watching this series is worth a look. Fanatical fans of the original series should probably avoid this as it will only annoy them.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good. The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

     The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout. The colour was excellent with no colour artefacts. Other artefacts include some mild edge enhancement and some MPEG artefacts during fast motion.

     There are no subtitles.

     There is no noticeable layer change during the program.

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

Audio

     The audio quality is nothing special. This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at a lowly 192 Kb/s resulting in a flat and fairly lifeless soundtrack. Dialogue was sometimes difficult to make out clearly which might have been improved with a better bit rate on these discs. The lack of subtitles was also more annoying due to this.

     The score by Rupert Gregson-Williams is high quality but would have sounded so much better on a better mastered soundtrack.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used in any noticeable way.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu included an intro, music and motion.

Inside The Prisoner (30:26)

     Actually six making of segments, one for each episode which include some explanation of the story and writer/cast interviews. Interesting and helps to explain the approach taken to the material.

The Prisoner Read Through (2:40)

     First rehearsal meeting for the cast in London. Nothing very interesting.

The Prisoner Special Effects (1:36)

     Short piece on the making of some of the special effects scenes.

Comic Con Panel Discussion (11:21)

     An interesting discussion between some of the cast and writer at the Comic Con. They discuss the original series, the concept and the story. One of the better extras.

Cast Interviews (1:01, 0:51, 1:00, 7:30)

     EPK style interviews with no depth at all. They are:

R4 vs R1

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

     Bizarrely, the Region 1 version has a fairly different set of extras and other features compared to our local version. The extra things on the Region 1 release include

     The Region 4 version has some things not contained on the Region1 version which are

     On balance, the Region 1 sounds like the best choice due to the 5.1 soundtrack and the commentaries especially.

Summary

     An interesting and thought provoking remake/reimagining of The Prisoner, which fans of the original will probably hate.

     The video quality is very good. The audio quality is nothing special. The extras are decent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, 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 into BD player. 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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