Riese: Kingdom Falling (2009)

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Released 14-Sep-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio
Biographies-Character
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-3
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 78:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kaleena Kiff
Nicholas Humphries
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Rich Walters


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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

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Plot Synopsis

     There have been a few interesting science fiction and fantasy shows coming out of Canada, especially Vancouver, in recent years. These include Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis & Sanctuary. Now comes Riese - Kingdom Falling which features a number of the same actors from those shows and, despite being a different style of story, has some similarities to Stargate Atlantis. This is mostly due to the mystical land depicted being quite reminiscent of some of the cultures visited in Stargate Atlantis. The culture involved has a sort of Victorian/steam punk style to it.

     The story focuses on the titular character Riese (Christine Chatelain), who is a dethroned princess of the kingdom of Elysia. Her mother's cousin, Amara, took the throne in a violent coup, killing Riese's parents. Amara was supported in this by The Sect, a mysterious cult who's beliefs tell them that they must strip away there humanness and replace it with clockwork components, one body part at a time as they rise through the ranks. Herrick, their most senior heretic hunter, is virtually all mechanical. They support Amara but also have plans of their own. Amara sends Herrick to track down Riese who is wandering the land with only her bodyguard Fenrir, a grey wolf, for company. As she goes she investigates and tries to right wrongs done by The Sect but is also constantly under attack. There is also an armed resistance to Amara and The Sect led by Rand (Ryan Robbins). Many minor characters are played by faces you will recognise if you are a fan of Battlestar, Atlantis or Sanctuary.

     This series was made for the internet and the ten episodes have also been shown on the Syfy channel. Its origins are obvious in the quality of the production and writing. The show certainly is based on an interesting idea, however this feels like an extended pilot or rough go at something rather than a finished product. Sometimes the story is not completely explained and characters appear suddenly and it seems like you should have already known about them. Amanda Tapping of Stargate and Sanctuary is the narrator. The other pain is that when the 78 minutes is over there is very little resolution to the story.

     The disc includes the original ten episodes (under ten minutes each) plus a feature built from the episodes, which runs for under an hour and a half.

     So, an interesting concept which feels like it should be made again with a proper budget and some more focus on script and dialogue.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is good but no more. The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio or close enough to it. The episodes are in a slightly different ratio (about 1.85:1). It is 16x9 enhanced.

     The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout but suffered from quite a bit of motion blur. Shadow detail was a quite lacking at times. The colour is reasonable but could not be called vivid, although this is at least partially due to the planned colour scheme.

     There were some occasional compression artefacts.

     There are no subtitles.

    There is no layer change.

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

Audio

     The audio quality is decent. This disc contains an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s).

     Dialogue was reasonably easy to understand mostly however subtitles would certainly have been helpful at times.

     The music by Rich Walters is pretty good but in terms of the mix drowns out the dialogue at times.

     The surround speakers were used for some directional effects and atmosphere without standing out. The subwoofer supports the music.

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

Extras

     Some minor extras.

Menu

     The menu was still and featured music.

Episodes

     The episodes which are very similar to the feature are available in their original form.

Character Profiles

     Text character profiles and information about the sect. More informative than the show.

Extra Scenes

     This menu contains three featurettes none of which are deleted scenes. They are

R4 vs R1

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

    This show is only available in Region 4 at this time.

Summary

     A fantasy series based on an interesting idea but which needs better execution. Maybe a remake with better funding?

     The video quality is good. The audio quality is decent.

    Extras are minimal but not bad.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . 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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