Andromeda-1.11 (2000)

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Released 23-Sep-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 82:21
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Michael Robinson
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 Amaray-Transparent
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 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

    Herein lie the last two chapters of the first season of Andromeda. Up until this disc, I have talked about the episode pairing on each DVD being a combination of a reasonable episode and a good episode. On this disc they break that mould by pairing a good episode with a great episode, although despite the episode that ends the first season being great, I personally have a problem with the so-called cliff-hanger. Maybe I am just different, but I would rather see a season end on a high note, one that leaves you feeling so happy and uplifted that you just can't miss the start of next season. This practice of leaving you miserable and wondering what will happen while the artificial creation of a non-ratings period passes by does not impress me at all. In the practice of stage magic, you start small and build to your best work, leaving people on a high note; fireworks displays always have a big bang ending, and so on. If a series is good then of course you will be back next season - they don't need to leave you hanging like this.

121: It Makes A Lovely Light.

    In the book recovered during Episode 17: Fear And Loathing In The Milky Way, Beka discovers the slipstream route to Dylan's home world Tarn-Vedra. It is a long and perilous journey that, for no clearly explained reason, they attempt in a very short space of time. Without a break during the gruelling slipstream jumps Beka begins to feel the strain, and desperate to keep going resorts to 'Flash', a dangerous mind altering drug. Of course being under the influence while transiting the slipstream is not only a galactic offence but leads to the usual consequences, placing the entire ship and crew in jeopardy.

122: Its Hour Come Round At Last

    As mentioned, this is a finale for the first season. While using a blow torch on the ship's delicate circuitry (why do all Sci-fi series do this?) Harper discovers a backup of Andromeda's personality core. Unfortunately, he manages to press the restore button and the crew is suddenly in trouble as the old Andromeda does not recognise any of them and declares them hostile intruders. As if they don't have enough trouble, suddenly a swarm of Magog attack ships appear and begin a surprise attack. This is a great action adventure and character development episode with some real tension built up during the episode. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode but was also very glad that I had the first disc of the second season on hand to watch straight away. The first disc of the second season is going to get a real serve from this reviewer, but I will leave you hanging until the next review to find out what that is about...

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. This is not the correct aspect ratio which is 1.78:1.

    Sharpness remains excellent for most of the transfer with only fast-moving objects losing sharpness and some detail. Shadow detail is very good and there is no low level noise. The first episode on this disc opens with Dylan running down some corridors and down some ladders. Examining these scenes closely will show the blur in moving objects.

    Colours are very nice and vibrant and seem now to match between the real and computer generated material.

    There are no MPEG artefacts nor film to video artefacts other than very slight shimmering on some horizontal lines. There are no problems at all with the film master.

    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 on these two episodes is probably the best of the series so far.

    There is a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack on this disc that has the surround flag set. This is the first time in this series that this flag has been set - previous discs were simply Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Dialogue quality is good, although there are a couple of scenes where the dialogue almost sounded over-modulated. Audio sync remains excellent.

    The music, particularly in the second episode, works with the on-screen action to build the tension. Overall, a functional and at times good offering.

    The surrounds are greatly improved in these episodes and in particular in the second. While still not up to the standard of other similar shows it is nice to hear some material other than the music in the surrounds.

     The subwoofer supported the music and action but never drew attention to itself.

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

Extras

    Still a bare bones disc with no extras.

Menu

    The main menu is the same as the previous discs, maintaining the inability to select the second episode directly. They remain one of the longest running and most involved menus that I have seen on any disc. A lot of work has gone into these menus and it really does show. It has complex screen overlay graphics and footage from the series in the background and is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

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

    Yet again Australia has received their episodes before other regions, making a direct comparison difficult. We know that both the R2 and R1 discs has so far included a range of interesting looking extras. They are also box sets containing more than one disc. The final analysis really comes down, in my opinion, to the ratio. In R1 they have a 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced transfer. All else really pales next to this, giving us a clear R1 win.

Summary

    If you like cliffhangers then this is an excellent one that leaves you on the edge of your seat. My advice is to make sure that you have the second series ready to go if this is you first viewing experience of this series. The action is well done and the characters, while occasionally a little stereotyped, are well played by all concerned.

    The video quality remains strong.

    The audio is a definite improvement, though it still has a way to go.

    There are no extras (!).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Monday, November 04, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). 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)

Other Reviews
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Jeff K
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke

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