Odysseus: Voyage to the Underworld (Odysseus & the Isle of Mists) (2008)

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

Released 19-Jan-2011

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Gallery-Photo
Trailer-x 6, but none for this film
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 88:20
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Terry Ingram
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Arnold Vosloo
Steve Bacic
JR Bourne
Stefanie von Pfetten
Randal Edwards
Leah Gibson
Sonya Salomaa
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Michael Richard Plowman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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

     Firstly, the title under which this DVD is released, Odysseus: Voyage to the Underworld, is a misdescription as this film has nothing to do with Odysseus’ fabled visit to the Underworld as told by Homer; rather the title under which it was known in the US, Odysseus & the Isle of Mists, is a much more accurate, if less evocative, title. Secondly, it would certainly be of interest to classical scholars to know that Homer actually accompanied Odysseus on his travels, and himself wrote down his Odyssey as a first hand account – at least this is how Odysseus: Voyage to the Underworld tells it!

     On his voyage home from Troy, Odysseus (Arnold Vosloo) and his remaining men including Homer (Randal Edwards), Eurylochus (Steve Bacic) and Perimedes (JR Bourne) are shipwrecked on a barren island, an island of mists full of death and corpses. They are soon attacked by winged and clawed shadow beasts but are rescued by a beautiful sorceress (Stephanie von Pfetten), who not only heals their wounds but seems to be able to keep the shadow beasts at bay. She says she saved them because she too is abandoned on this island of death and needs Odysseus’ help to build a raft to escape. Of course, all is not as it seems. The sorceress is in fact Persephone, Goddess of the Underworld, whom the other Greek Gods have trapped on the island to prevent her travelling to the world of humans to wreak death and destruction. She is held in place by the golden Hellfire Cross which she cannot touch. However, a mortal man can take the Hellfire Cross from its resting place thus releasing Persephone, and she uses all her guile, tricks and charm to induce any one of the mortals to set her free. Can Odysseus resist her wiles and prevent the destruction of mankind?

     Odysseus: Voyage to the Underworld is a low budget made for TV movie that does have its moments. Men in leather skirts with spears wandering through the landscape fighting demons has a lot to recommend it, the scenery looks good and Vosloo as Odysseus is suitably gruff and heroic. The dialogue is often silly in a staged declamatory style but one must smile at lines such as “you wear your cowardice around your neck like an anchor that will surely drag you to oblivion”, delivered with an absolutely straight face, which do tend to add to the charm of the film rather than detract from the enjoyment. There is also the odd anachronism such as when Homer speaks about immortalising Odysseus “in print”; in verse or in writing yes, but not in print. The low budget does however show in both the action scenes and the creature effects. For example, the shipwreck is essentially a few men rocked around on a gymble while fighting is mostly swishing at unseen foes. However, the weakest part of the film is the CGI shadow beasts which took very cheap and unconvincing. When they are on screen, which is not all that often, they show how badly CGI can be done these days.

     Odysseus: Voyage to the Underworld is let down by the CGI creatures but it does have its moments and delivers a reasonably entertaining 88 minutes. I’m not sure what Homer would have made of it, although the last shot of the film is quite a hoot and not to be missed.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

     Odysseus: Voyage to the Underworld is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which I suspect is the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a print where the colours have been deliberately desaturated, leading to a silvery, overbright look to many of the film’s sequences. There are few vibrant colours (Odysseus in a “bath” of red blood being the obvious exception) with dull browns and reds dominating. Within these choices, skin tones and contrasts are consistent, blacks solid and shadow detail excellent. There is grain evident but I did not notice any film or film to video artefacts.

     There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

     Audio is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track encoded at 224 Kbps which has a nice, enveloping feel. Dialogue was clear, music is well rendered and does occur in the surrounds. Effects are on the light side but are not too bad. The sub woofer did occasionally support the music.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The score by Michael Richard Plowman was suitably epic and choral by turns and does give good support to the visuals.

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

Extras

Image Gallery

     20 film stills. Silent, use the remote to advance.

Trailers

     Trailers play on starting the disc and need to be skipped individually; they can also be selected from the extras menu. The forced trailer set up is annoying and pointless, given that they can be selected from the menu if you want to see them. Trailers are: Champion (2:04), Everyman’s War (1:57), The Mighty Macs (2:18), Lingerie Football League (1:57), Arn – The Knight Templar (2:19) and The Secret of the Nutcracker (1:36).

R4 vs R1

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

     I cannot at this time find a record of any release in another region.

Summary

     Odysseus: Voyage to the Underworld is a made for TV movie that does deliver a reasonably entertaining 88 minutes. The sight of men in leather skirts with spears wandering through the landscape fighting demons has a lot to recommend it, however the badly done CGI creatures weaken the film.

     The video and audio are good, extras minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE