Andromeda-2.1 (2001)

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Released 28-Oct-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 82:19
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Allan Eastman
T.J. Scott
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Kevin Sorbo
Lisa Ryder
Keith Hamilton Cobb
Laura Bertram
Brent Stait
Brent Stait
Lexa Doig
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Alex Lifeson
Matthew McCauley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.49:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format ?
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

    I am normally a very calm, relaxed person. Read over the last 100 reviews that I have done and you will find that I can usually find something nice to say about even the worst travesty foisted off on the viewing public. I even said something nice about that rotten purple dinosaur, but this start to the second season of Andromeda has my blood boiling. I have grown quite attached to this series and was sad when Season One was released at 1.33:1, but to find Season Two released at 1.49:1 (non-anamorphic) is a bitter pill to swallow.

    This is so wrong for so many reasons. We know this series is available at 1.85:1 and 16x9 enhanced. A lot of Sci-fi fans are also very computer literate. Do you know just what it takes to lose a sale in Australia? About four mouse clicks and about 40 key strokes! The Internet has opened the world of knowledge to all who look - we know the minute that things are not right.

    Chances are, sci-fi fans are also people with real home theatres. We have spent a fortune on a widescreen viewing device of some description and we resent bitterly having to use only the centre portion. Widescreen means just that. 1.78:1 or greater and 16x9 enhancement is a key selling point for DVD. It gives us a better picture with higher resolution. While it is bad to see a pan and scan transfer in any genre, this is NOT the genre to serve up a transfer like this one. Why choose such a strange ratio - an attempt at keeping the minority happy with something close to 1.33:1 and still appease the majority that wanted 1.85:1? In my opinion, this will not appease anyone but simply upset both groups.

    I am reasonably sure that this transfer has been panned and scanned. I don't have the Region 1 discs for direct comparison, but the Andromeda web site has a picture gallery from the episodes (don't go there if you are worried about spoilers, as they are everywhere) and one picture in particular shows the Eureka Maru approaching a planet. To the left of this shot is another planet. On the Andromeda web site, the majority of this second planet is visible. On our disc (image shown to the left, taken from Episode 202 at 1:57), the second planet has its left side missing. Additionally, more of the Eureka Maru is visible in the image on the web site. The top and bottom of the image appear the same. If the image on the website is an accurate representation of the original source material, then this is compelling evidence that our transfer has been cropped from the original 1.85:1 presentation.

 

201: The Widening Gyre

    As we know from last season, the crew were left in a pretty sticky situation, as were the viewers. The attack of the massive Magog worldship has left the Andromeda drifting in space with the crew injured and unconscious. After a small diversionary tactic, Trance manages to get Dylan and Beka to the sick bay. Once patched up, Dylan launches a desperate mission against the Magog worldship with the help of Rommie to rescue some missing crew beings.

202: Exit Strategies

    While under attack from a group of Nietzchean ships, the Eureka Maru is heavily damaged. With Dylan, Tyr, Beka and Rev Bem on board they have no choice other than to crash on a nearby ice world. Dylan does not understand the ferocity of the Nietzcheans attack and starts asking some hard question of Tyr as the Nietzcheans try to find them under the cover of the ice.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Not only is the aspect ratio wrong but the image quality seems to have dropped slightly from the first season. There is slightly more grain in the image and this has lead to some background noise and slight pixelization.

    As described above, the transfer is presented at the bizarre aspect ratio of 1.49:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is good for most of the scenes but again moving objects do suffer such as in the scenes at 12:44. Shadow detail is good but there is a lot of low level noise in some scenes. The sky in the scenes at 14:11 shows a lot of noise and grain.

    Colours are good though slightly affected by the grain that is present.

    MPEG artefacts are slightly worse than in Season One. There is some minor pixelization, such as on Beka's face at 0:54. There are also fairly constant problems in the background, I think again from the grain. There is some minor aliasing such as on the ship at 12:44. Film artefacts are limited to the grain.

    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 is a slight improvement from the first season with a stronger surround presence.

    There is a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with the surround flag set.

    Dialogue quality is very good as is the audio sync.

    The music, particularly in the season opener, is very good and helped build the tension that is felt in this episode.

    Surround activity is improving with some good mono surround effects such as echoes in the hanger bay and at other appropriate spots. They still missed the perfect opportunity in the space battles, though.

    The sub was present but not entirely accounted for.

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

Extras

Menu

    We have been given back the ability to start the second episode without going into the chapter selection menu. They have revamped the menu and have removed the video clips that used to run behind the graphics. The chapter selection menu is much easier to navigate and is a definite improvement but overall I think the main menu is a step backwards from last season. The menus are presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced and are accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with the surround flag set.

R4 vs R1

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

    We are still out of sync with the rest of the world, receiving our episodes before them. All other differences aside, the aspect ratio issue places Region 1 firmly on the winner's dais.

Summary

    The computer graphics in these two episodes were a little disappointing, particularly in the second episode. Despite this, there are two great episodes on this disc and they set up a strong start for the season. I believe that it was Robert Heinlein that put in clear terms the idea that a hero is only as good as his antagonist. With the introduction of the Magog worldship, I think we will have a stronger season than the first.

    The video is a little disappointing.

    The audio is coming along.

    Where, oh where are the extras?

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, November 12, 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
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Jeff K

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