Andromeda-1.3 (2000)

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Released 22-May-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 82:22
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Michael Rohl
Allan Eastman
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Kevin Sorbo
Lisa Ryder
Keith Hamilton Cobb
Laura Bertram
Brent Stait
Gordon Michael Woolvett
Lexa Doig
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Alex Lifeson
Matthew McCauley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    On Andromeda 1.3, the third disc of this series reviewed to date, presents us with episodes five and six of the first series of Andromeda. One episode is a very nice solid piece of work, but the other had me wondering about credibility to a certain extent.

    Two interesting observations arise from these episodes. When we were in the captain's office, the camera panned across three clear Perspex sheets, one above the other. My mind instantly jumped to the conclusion that they have incorporated the well-known Star Trek 3D chess, but no, in this show we have 3D Go. The second observation is that as Tyr's character is fleshed out, it is very hard not to see parallels between him and the Mech Warrior novels that were written based around the Mech warrior games. They were genetically engineered, looked out for number one, belonged to clans and so on.

105 : Double Helix

    This may be one of the best episodes yet, as they expand the Tyr character. I am so glad that they have not taken the easy way out and had his character suddenly converted to the side of truth, justice and the Systems Commonwealth. The Andromeda and her crew arrive at the scene of a great battle. The battle is between a clan of Nietzscheans and the bug race that we saw in the first episode. The Nietzscheans have some serious weaponry and are not coming second, so the Andromeda steps in to rescue the bugs and attempt to negotiate a peace between the combatants. Tyr convinces the captain that only another Nietzschean can understand the group and is sent over as the ambassador. Once there, a very clever story begins where we are not quite sure who to trust and who is on who's side.

106: Angel Dark, Demon Bright

    Time travel episodes are always a risk, both from a plot perspective and by potentially displaying a deplorable lack of understanding of even the most basic of physics, ignoring the facts of FTL travel, and so forth. As a side note, would whoever writes the plot synopses for the back covers of these DVDs please look up what a plot spoiler is. We do not wish to know the ending just from reading the back cover. They do take a reasonable stab at creating an interesting moral dilemma for the crew and in particular the captain. Each of the crew faces this crisis in their own way. One of the more interesting encounters is between the captain and the mysto-pacifist Rev Bem.

    Due to bad driving while transiting the slipstream (this shows a version of FTL travel) the Andromeda is transported back in time to a couple of months after the battle shown in the first episode. They arrive at the location of the final battle between what is left of the Systems Commonwealth's fleet and the Nietzschean fleet. With foreknowledge of what is about to happen, the crew are caught between the risks of changing the future and helping out. Of course, with the composition of the crew, just who to help out is also up for debate.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfers are basically identical to the previous discs with the same good and bad points.

    The transfers are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and are not 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of the live footage is excellent while the computer generated footage is still a little lacking. Shadow detail remains good and there is no low level noise.

     Colours are excellent in the live footage and pretty good for the computer generated footage.

    There are no MPEG artefacts present, nor are there any film-to-video artefacts. The problem with shimmering on horizontal lines remains, though it is not as obvious in these episodes as there are not that many external shots of the ship. The tradition of excellent film masters continues with only a couple of spots present.

    There are no subtitles and this is a single layered disc.

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

Audio

    The audio has maintained its improvement over the first two episodes. There is a quite nice example of good surround use on this disc where two characters are talking in one of the big holds and their voices echo around you.

    This disc offers a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that appears to be surround encoded despite not being flagged as such.

    Dialogue quality is very good as is the audio sync.

    The music supports the script well and presents a reasonable, although not great, soundstage.

    There were not the number of opportunities for fly-bys and so on in these two episodes, but nonetheless there was still a good surround presence.

    The subwoofer continues to make its presence felt, giving some depth to explosions and other effects.

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

Extras

Menu

    The excellent animated menus are still with us but they have made a change to the navigation. Previously, there were two selections at the top of the screen, one to start each of the two episodes on the disc. On this disc, the top left selection is still there to start the first episode but the box on the right is no longer a selection, simply containing scrolling text. This means that you cannot directly select the second episode but must go through the chapter selection menu.

R4 vs R1

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

   This series is yet to be released in R1 but has been released in England (R2UK). It would appear that for about 24 pounds you get five episodes and a range of special features including:

    None of these extras are present on the R4 discs. This would seem to give us an R2UK winner, at least until the R1 discs are available for comparison. Rumour Central hints at a widescreen release in R1, but we will have to wait and see.

Summary

    On this disc we get one of each - an excellent episode with a good strong storyline and an episode that is a little shaky but still not too bad.

    The video quality is excellent, especially for a single layered disc.

    The audio transfer is a good surround effort.

    The extras are still missing in action.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Saturday, June 15, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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