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Underworld: Blood Wars (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

April 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A worthy continuation of the “Underworld” film series that leans very heavy on the action, if you are looking for an all-out action film with vampires vs. werewolves, “Underworld: Blood Wars” will definitely appeal to you!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Lakeshore Entertainment Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Underworld: Blood Wars

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 91 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p Ultra High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio), English Dolby Atmost (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description Track 5.1 Dolby Digital, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, French

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Strong Bloody Violence and Some Sexuality)

RELEASE DATE: April 25, 2017


Based on the Characters by Kevin Grevioux, Len wiseman, Danny McBride

Directed by Anna Foerster

Screenplay by Cory Goodman

Story by Kyle Ward, Cory Goodman

Producer: David Kern, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Len Wiseman, Richard S. Wright

Co-Producer: David Minkowski, Jackie Shenoo, Matthew Stillman

Executive Producer: James McQuaide, Ben Waisbren, Skip Williamson, Henry Winterstern

Music by Michael Wandmacher

Cinematography by Karl Walter Lindenlaub

Edited by Peter Amundson

Casting by Julie Hutchinson, Maya Kvetny, Suzanne Smith

Production Design by Ondrej Nekvasil

Art Direction by Bryce Tibbey, Martin Vackar

Set Decoration by Beatrice Brentnerova

Costume Design by Bojana Nikitovic


Starring:

Kate Beckinsale as Selene

Theo James as David

Tobias Menzies as Marius

Lara Pulver as Semira

Charles Dance as Thomas

James Faulkner as Cassius

Peter Andersson as Vidar

Clementine Nicholson as Lena

Bradley James as Varga

Daisy Head as Alexia

Oliver Stark as Gregor

Sveta Driga as Amelia


In the next installment of the blockbuster franchise, Vampire death dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) fends off brutal attacks from both the Lycan clan and the Vampire faction that betrayed her. With her only allies, David (Theo James) and his father Thomas (Charles Dance), she must stop the eternal war between Lycans and Vampires, even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.


With the success of the “Underworld” films, the fifth film “Underworld: Blood Wars” continues the storyline about the war between the vampires and the Lycans (werewolves).

Directed by Anna Foerster (“Outlander” TV series) and as screenplay by Cory Goodman (“Priest”, “The Last Witch Hunter”), the film is a sequel to the fourth film, “Underworld: Awakening” and features the return of Kate Beckinsale as the immortal vampire Selene and Theo James as David.

The film also stars Lara Pulver (“Edge of Tomorrow”, “Da Vinci’s Demons”, “The Special Relationship”), Tobias Menzies (“Outlander”, “Casino Royale”, “Atonement”), Daisy Head (“The Last Seven”, “Guilt”), Clementine Nicholson, Charles Dance (“Ghostbusters”, “Alien 3”, “Game of thrones”), James Faulkner  (“Downton Abbey”, “Da Vinci’s Demons”, “Game of Thrones”), Bradley James (“Merlin”, “Damien”, “Dis/Connected”) and Oliver Stark (“Into the Badlands”, “Luther”, “MindGamers”).

What is “Underworld” about?

“Underworld” takes place during a time where the vampires and the Lycans (werewolves) are at war.  In the past, the Lycans were used as slaves for centuries by the vampires but rebelled courtesy of their leader Lucian and have been in war since.

In the first film, Selene who has fought and killed Lycans believing that they were responsible for her family’s massacre learned from Kraven that Viktor was responsible for her family’s death.  With Michael near death due to the silver nitrate in his body that was shot by Kraven, Lucian (who was revealed to have started the war because he was in love with Sonja, a vampire and daughter of Viktor and was killed by her father to stop the relationship between a vampire and Lycan) tells Selene that in order to save him, she must bite him.

Selene has bitten Michael and transforming him to half Lycan/half vampire and both killed Viktor.  Meanwhile, the next elder vampire that is in line to be revived is Marcus and because Singe was killed near Marcus’ tomb and his blood has dripped into his tomb, that Marcus will now be revived early.

The first film would with Selene knowing that she has changed the course of the war by converting Michael by making him half vampire/half Lycan and because she aided a Lycan, she will now be hunted.

“Underworld: Evolution” begins with the three vampire elders: Marcus, Viktor and Amelia in the year 1202 A.D.  Viktor and Amelia capture William Corvinus (brother of Marcus who happens to be a powerful Lycan).  As Marcus tries to defend his brother from being harmed, Viktor has William imprisoned in a secret location for eternity.

Fastforward to the present, Selene hides Michael in a safehouse but returns to the vampire coven to confront Kraven.  She knows that Kraven has plans to eliminate Marcus and wants to stop him before he does.  But because Lycan blood is what has dripped into Marcus’ tomb, Marcus has now reawaken as a Vampire-Dominant hybrid.

Selene also learns the true reason why Viktor spared her from death when her family was massacred and why they were massacred.  And because of that reason, Markus is wanting to get to her as well.

Alexander Corvinus has given Selene his blood and thus given immortality.

Since then, both Selene and Michael have been on the run trying to protect each other from both vampire and Lycan who want them dead.

Because creators of the “Underworld” films wanted to explain how the feud between the Death Dealers and the Lycans started.  “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”, a prequel to the first two films, was created and released in theaters back in 2009.

With the fourth film, “Underworld: Awakening”, after the events of “Underworld: Evolution”, the world now knows that vampires and Lycans exist.  And there is a massive cleansing (known as “The Purge”) as humans now try to exterminate vampires and Lycans.  Survivors have now moved underground, while both Selene and Michael have become the hunted.

Split off from each other, both try to come together during a standoff with the authorities but as Michael is shot and falls into the ocean, Selene goes after him and tries to save him.  But in the process, both are separated by a detonator.

Fast forward, 12 years later and during this time, “The Purge” has now been concluded as 95% of the vampires have been annihilated and the Lycans are considered as extinct.

Selene is being kept inside a cryogenic suspension by the medical corporation known as Antigen, which are trying to create an antidote for the virus which creates vampires and Lycans

Known as “subject 1”, someone has broken into the lab facility and have released Selene.  As Selene awakens and puts on her leather costume, she looks for Michael but is not sure where he is kept and thus she escapes Antigen facilities.

eanwhile, murders are occurring in the city and while the normal judgment by police is to think that the vampires had committed the crime (since Lycans are thought to be extinct), Detective Sebastian (played by Michael Ealy), looking at how the body was murdered, doesn’t think so.  And he spots Selene, who quickly disappears.

But also spotting Selene is a young vampire named David (played by Theo James).  He goes to track down Selene, who is trying to find answers of where Michael may be.  When David tracks her down, he tells her the truth that the Lycans have been forced to live underground, no food, diseased and something has riled them up in order for them to go back up to the surface.  And he thinks Selene knows the answer to why the Lycans are back.

But Selene starts to see images, images that usually come from the bond that she has with Michael.  Thinking that Michael is in trouble and is being hunted by the Lycans, she and David fight them off but instead of finding Michael, she finds a young girl named Eve (played by India Eisely).

Why does girl have this power and why is Selene reacting to it?  As the three are pursued by the Lycans, Eve tells Selene that she was Subject 2 at Antigen and was responsible for setting her free.  She also revealed that she was in a chamber next to her mother…which would be Selene.  Needless to say, Selene is shocked because 12 years ago, she was with Michael.  Now when she awakens, instead of finding Michael, she finds out that both had a daughter.

This now leads us to the fifth film in the “Underworld” series, things are not looking good for the vampire covens as they are nearly wiped out by the Lycans.  Both groups are seeking out Death Dealer, Selene (portrayed by Kate Beckinsale) for the deaths of Viktor and Marcus and the Lycans, wanting Selene in order to find her daughter Eve (who has the blood of vampire-werewolf) and want to create an army of vampire-werewolf hybrids.

Because of the threat of either side looking for Eve, Selene’s daughter was taken away from her to an undisclosed location in order to protect Eve.  That even Selene has no idea of her daughter’s whereabouts.

Semira (portrayed by Lara Pulver), a council member of the Eastern Coven wants Selene to be granted clemency, so she can train the Eastern Coven’s neophyte Death Dealers.

And as Selene arrives to the Eastern Coven with her protege, David (portrayed by Theo James), while training the Death Dealers, Semira’s lover Varga (portrayed by Bradley James) betrays Selene and kills all the Death Dealers as planned by Semira.

Semira drains Selene’s blood and will drink it in order to gain her power, but when vampire elder Thomas (portrayed by Charles Dance) and David arrive, a battle begins with Semira and Varga.

And in order to save their lives and buy time for David to rescue Selene, he sacrifices his life in battle.

As David and Selene head to the Nordic Coven, pursuing them are Marius (portrayed by Tobias Menzies) and the Lycans who are intent in finding out where Eve is located.  But also pursuing Selene is Alexia (portrayed by Daisy Head), a death dealer from the Eastern Coven and the lover of Marius, the Lycan leader.


VIDEO:

“Underworld: Blood Wars” is presented in 2160p High Definition (2:40:1). The film is presented in 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray.

Picture quality is fantastic as closeups show amazing detail and the film maintains its cool, dark look with blues, gays and blacks.  Black levels are nice and deep and for the most part, the film looks great in 4K Ultra HD!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI 2.0A Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Underworld: Blood Wars” is presented in English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English-Audio Desription Track 5.1 Dolby Digital.

I was so pleased with this soundtrack and just hearing constant immersive audio coming from front channels and also the surround channels for the many action scenes throughout the film.  The music soundtrack also is utilized for the surround channels as well.  Also, great use of LFE.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Underworld: Blood Wars” comes with the following special features on the second Blu-ray disc:

  • The Evolution of Selene – (8:09) A featurette about the main protagonist, Selene and interviews with Kate Beckinsale and producers of the film.
  • Old & New Blood – (6:15) Cast and producers discuss the Nordic Coven featured in the film.
  • The Evil Evolved – (6:07) A featurette about the Eastern Coven and the Lycans.
  • Building a Blood War – (12:01) Director Anna Foerster and producers discussing of bringing back the look of the original but creating something fresh and new.
  • Underworld: Blood Wars – The Official Movie Graphic Novel – Darkstorm Comics graphic novel.  Using your remote, you can cycle through each page of the comic book.

EXTRAS:

“Underworld: Blood Wars” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


With the original “Underworld” trilogy, there was a good focus on the storyline between the vampires (Death Dealers) and the Lycans (werewolves) and balancing it out with the action.

While I have always looked at the “Underworld” films as your vampire vs. werewolf popcorn action film series.  With “Underworld: Awakening”, the writers were moving away from the “Twilight” mushy romance (or Romeo & Juliet romance, as I called the first two films).

With “Underworld: Awakening”, the film became more action-heavy and as far as the storyline was concerned, the romantic element was eliminated and became more of a focus on Selene’s daughter having vampire/Lycan blood, making her a target for both sides.

Selene had become the hunted, as both sides want to know where Eve is located and that storyline continues with “Underworld: Blood Wars”.  And once again, you get a popcorn action film with actress Kate Beckinsale once again donning her tight black leather uniform that fans have come to love about the “Underworld” films.

But I’ve felt the film has taken a step into the direction of popcorn action with a forgetful storyline that seems like it would be appropriate more for a video game than a film. But giving the film the benefit of a doubt that writer Cory Goodman is trying to setup a connection for the next film, I can’t help but feel bad for director Anna Foerster.

Having loved what she has done with the “Outlander” series which feature episodes that are character and story-driven, Foerster is left with trying to create a film that revolves around chaotic action.

But despite the forgetful storyline, I did enjoy the film for its connection to the series as I enjoy the “Underworld” storyline.  I just wish there was more of it to enjoy because the characters are important and while it’s new to take adventures to a different coven and focus on the war with the Lycans nearly wiping out the vampires, you just feel that there should be more.  Considering the original trilogy was story-driven, you just want to see a good story go along with that chaotic action and not have the action dominate so much of the film.

So, considering how I enjoyed the original trilogy and knew that the fourth film “Underworld: Awakening” was heading to a different direction than the previous films, “Underworld: Blood Wars” remains consistent with the last film with no engrossing story, just a film with plenty of action and visual effects.  But yet, the final minute gives us a tease of something for fans of the film to look forward to when the sixth film is released in the future.

As for the 4K Ultra HD release, picture quality is magnificent and the darkness of the film with the use of blues, grays and blacks are still continued with this latest film.  Close-ups show great detail and Lycan transformations look great.  And similar to the last film, the lossless soundtrack is magnificent and immersive.  And considering the amount of action in this film, audiophiles should be quite thrilled to see how immersive the action sequences are and the use of the surround channels and LFE.

And as far as special features go, you are given a good number of special features including the official movie graphic novel and a few featurettes on a second Blu-ray disc.

Overall, while “Underworld: Blood Wars” is not a film that focuses on a deep storyline and fans of the previous film can expect to see a lot of fighting, a lot of deaths, non-stop action and Kate Beckinsale continuing to look awesome and also kicking a lot of arse!

A worthy continuation of the “Underworld” film series that leans very heavy on the action, if you are looking for an all-out action film with vampires vs. werewolves, “Underworld: Blood Wars” will definitely appeal to you!

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Outlander: Season Two (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 6, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Outlander” is one of the most awesome shows on television. The second series manages to escape sophomore doldrums by featuring an exciting storyline, wonderful setting and costume design and also finding a fine balance between various timelines.  Sexy, captivating and an exciting adventure series, “Outlander: Season Two” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Sony Pictures Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Outlander: Season Two

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: Episodes 17-29 (773 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (1:78:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and French

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2016


Directed by Metin Huseyin, Mike Barker, Philip John, Douglas Mackinnon, Brendan Maher

Written by Diana Gabaldon, Ronald D. Moore, Ira Steven Behr, Toni Graphia, Anne Kenney, Matthew B. Roberts, Richard Kahan

Executive Producer: Ronald D. Moore, Jim Kohlberg

Produced by David Brown, Matthew B. Roberts

Co-Executive Producer: Ira Steven Behr, Maril Davis, Paulo De Oliveira, Toni Graphia, Anne Kenney

Music by Bear Mcreary

Cinematography by Neville Kidd, Martin Fuhrer, Denis Crossan, David Higgs, Stephen McNutt

Edited by Michael O’Halloran, Liza Cardinale, Melissa Lawson Cheung

Casting by Suzanne Smith

Production Design by Jon Gary Steele

Art Direction by Emer O’Sullivan, Zoe Wight

Set Decoration by Gina Cromwell

Costume Design by Terry Dresbach, Glenne Campbell


Starring:

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser

Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh Fraser

Graham McTavish as Dougal Mackenzie

Romann Berrux as Fergus

Andrew Gower as Prince Charles Edward Stuart

Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall

Grant O’Rourke as Rupert Mackenzie

Stephen Walters as Angus Mhor

Gary Lewis as Colum Mackenzie

Lotte Verbek as Geillis Duncan

Nell Hudson as Laoghaire Mackenzie

Lotte Verbeek as Geillis Duncan

Stanley Weber as Comte St. Germain

Rosie Day as Mary Hawkins

Scott Kyle as Ross

James Fleet as Reverend Wakefield

Robbie McIntosh as Magnus

Dominique Pinon as Master Raymond

Laura Donnelly as Jenny Fraser

Simon Callow as Duke of  Sandringham

Claire Sermonne as Louise de Rohan

Michele Belgrand as Madame Elise


Claire and Jamie arrive in France, hell-bent on infiltrating the Jacobite rebellion led by Prince Charles Stuart and stopping the battle of Culloden. With the help of Jamie’s cousin, they are thrown into the lavish world of French society, where intrigue and parties are abundant but political gain proves far less fruitful. Altering the course of history presents challenges that begin to weigh on the very fabric of their relationship – but, armed with the knowledge of what lies ahead, Claire and Jamie must race to prevent a doomed Highland uprising and the extinction of Scottish life as they know it.


As Claire tried to prevent the Battle of Culloden and tells Jamie that he is pregnant, unfortunately for Claire, she wakes up at Craigh Na Dun, two years after her original timeline to find out that the Scots were defeated in the Battle of Culloden.

She grieves that she won’t see or be with Jamie and she is reunited with Frank.  While Claire tells Frank the truth of where she had been and that she is pregnant, Frank is deeply hurt but agrees to raise the child as long as Claire puts what happened to her, all behind.

As Claire and Frank restart their marriage in Paris, Claire reminisces when she and Jamie went to France back in 1744 and meets Jamie’s Jacobite cousin, Jared Fraser and becoming an enemy of the Comte St. Germain.  Can she and Jamie help stop the Jacobite Rebellion?

All this and more in second season of “Outlander”!

What is “The Outlander” about?

Based on the best-selling “Outlander” series novels by Diana Gabaldon, a 29-episode series created by Ronald D. Moore (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Battlestar Galactica”) would air on the Starz cable network.

The series stars Caitriona Balfe (“Now You See Me”, “Super 8”, “Escape Plan”), Sam Heughan (“A Princess for Christmas”, “A Very British Sex Scandal”), Duncan Lacroix (“Vikings”, “Game of Thrones”), Graham McTavish (“The Hobbit” films, “Rambo”) and Tobias Menzies (“Casino Royale”, “Atonement”, “Finding Neverland”).

“Outlander” began with Claire Randall (portrayed by Caitriona Balfe), a World War II combat nurse visiting Inverness, Scotland with her loving husband, Jonathan Randall (portrayed by Tobias Menzies).  The two are deeply in love and while observing a modern Druid ritual on the hill of Craigh na Dun, Claire hears a strange noise emanating from the stones.

As Claire goes to reach for it, she instantly finds herself nearly 300 years earlier in time, during the skirmish between the Redcoasts (British) and the Highlander (Scottish) rebels.  While she sees a man that looks exactly like Jonathan, the man is the cruel and sinister, “Black Jack” Randall, Captain of His Majesty’s Dragoons.

As he is about to rape Claire, she is saved by a Scotsman and befriends Jamie Fraser (portrayed by Sam Heughan) and travels with the Highlanders as their nurse.

Of course, because she is not Scottish, the Highlanders treat her as a spy and don’t trust her and think she is an English spy.

As Claire tries to acclimate herself with her new setting and not sure why she has traveled back to the past and must do all she can to make sure the Highlanders think she is from their era, Claire must be careful.  Especially from the British, especially Black Jack Randall.

With the second season, as Claire and Jamie have become close and she is pregnant, she awakens in 1946 to find out that the Scots were defeated and now, Claire must return back to her original life and her husband.

But as she and her husband Frank move to France, Claire reminisces of her adventures with Jamie when they went to France in 1744 to stop the Jacobite rebellion.  Can they do it?


VIDEO:

“Outlander” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). The series looks very good in HD as closeups show good detail especially for clothing.  Skintones look natural and the series looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Outlander” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The series features crystal clear dialogue and musical score.   With good use of surround channels for the ambiance and musical score.

Subtitles are in English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Outlander: Season Two” comes with the following special features:

  • Podcasts – Nearly each episode features a podcast with Ronald D. Moore and other cast and crew members. Please note that these podcasts function like audio commentary for each episode. (NOTE: You can access the podcast of each episode by highlighting episode selection)
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – Each episode features deleted and extended scenes with introductions by Ronald D. Moore.  (NOTE: You can access the deleted and extended scenes of each episode by highlighting episode selection)
  • The Characters of Season 2 – (13:43) Featuring the new characters for the second season of “The Outlander”.
  • Designing History: The Costumes of Outlander – (10:55) The cast and crew discuss the costumes featured in the second season of “The Outlander”.
  • Recreating 18th Century Paris – (11:53) A featurette about building sets to feature 18th Century Paris for the second season of “The Outlander”.
  • Gag Reel – (5:23) Outtakes from the second season of “The Outlander”.
  • Jamie & Claire: To Hell and Back – (10:25) A featurette about the characters, Jamie and Claire for season two.
  • From Book to Screen: Discovering the Difference – (10:42) A featurette about the differences between the novel and the series.  And the process of debating of what makes it into the series and more.

EXTRAS:

“Outlander: Season Two” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet code.


How to top the first season is always a challenge for writers who create a successful series.

Based on a popular novel and featuring an adaptation that is not always perfect, writers have had to make sure that the storyline features a good balance of sex, romance, betrayal and tragedy but creating a storyline that can compliment Diana Gabaldon’s work.

The time travel storyline about a woman trapped hundreds of years in the past, not knowing how to get back home and trying to adjust to her new life is quite fascinating and I absolutely enjoyed “Outlander”!

When it comes to the work of Ronald D. Moore, so far, each of his sci-fi series have been entertaining and I’ve been big fans of the series (despite my feelings towards the latter season of “Battlestar Galactica”).  But when he creates a series, he knows how to get the viewers emotionally involved and making you want to watch episode after episode.

“Outlander” was quite interesting because I was expecting something along the lines of what we have seen in previous Moore series, a lot of visual effects, awesome costume design and cool and also sexy characters.  But with “Outlanders”, you get the awesome costume design, sexy characters but you also get a number of sex scenes and nudity and also, quite a bit of violence… so I’m kind of glad I didn’t watch the series with my child.

But it’s because of how mature, how well-written and how well-acted the series is, is what kept me captivated.  From not knowing what will happen to Claire Randall, as she travels with a group of men, many who look at her as a spy or like some piece of meat.  But despite being a sexual character earlier on, she’s also smart and strong and I love how she sticks up for herself, especially to other men who mistreat her.

In the first season, Claire is in a conundrum of being stuck in the past and not knowing if she can get back home.  To make things worse, her husband in present-time, his ancestor hundreds of years ago that looks exactly like him, is the ultimate jerk.

Caitriona Balfe absolutely shines as the protagonist Claire Randall and her performance is heightened with the casting of Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser and Tobias Menzies as “Black Jack” Randall.  But the addition of Stanley Weber as the new antagonist for season three as Comte St. Germain and the introductions of characters such as Claire Sermonne as Louise de Rohan but also a step into the future with Sophie Skelton as Brianna and Richard Rankin as Roger Wakefield adds to the growing but excellent cast of the series.

Season two no doubt tops the previous season with its setting in 18th Century, Paris, France. The costume design by Terry Dresbach and Glenne Campbell is fantastic!

The storyline of Claire and Jamie working together in late 1700 Paris, France to stop the Jacobite Rebellion was rather intriguing.  But also the continuing of what took place at the Battle of Culloden and how Claire woke up back in the 1940’s.

But without spoiling the final episode of season two, the storyline will no doubt peak the interest of loyal fans of the series and set things up for the third and fourth season on Starz.

The Blu-ray release of “Outlander” features fantastic picture quality with great details of closeups and skintones and colors are also fantastic.  While dialogue, musical composition and ambiance are crystal clear.  And another fantastic inclusion are the many special features, podcasts (audio commentaries for nearly each episode) and more.

Overall, “Outlander” is one of the most awesome shows on television.  The second series manages to escape sophomore doldrums by featuring an exciting storyline, wonderful setting and costume design and also finding a fine balance between various timelines.

Sexy, captivating and an exciting adventure series, “Outlander: Season Two” is highly recommended!

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Outlander: Season One – Volume One (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

March 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

outlander

Sexy, captivating and an exciting adventure series, “Outlander: Season One – Volume One” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Sony Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Outlander: Season One – Volume One

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 8 Episodes (459 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French

COMPANY: Sony Picture Home Entertainment

RATED: NOT RATED

RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2015


Directed by Anna Foerster, Brian Kelly, John Dahl

Written by Diana Gabaldon, Ronald D. Moore, Ira Steven Behr, Toni Graphia, Anne Kenney, Matthew B. Roberts

Exeuctive Producer: Ronald D. Moore, Jim Kohlberg

Produced by Matthew B. Roberts

Co-Executive Producer: Ira Steven Behr, Maril Davis, Paulo De Oliveira, Toni Graphia, Anne Kenney

Music by Bear Mcreary

Cinematography by Neville Kidd, Martin Fuhrer, Denis Crossan, David Higgs

Edited by Michael O’Halloran, Liza Cardinale

Casting by Suzanne Smith

Production Design by Jon Gary Steele

Art Direction by Emer O’Sullivan, Fiona Gavin, Nicki McCallum

Set Decoration by Gina Cromwell

Costume Design by Terry Dresbach, Glenne Campbell


Starring:

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall

Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser

Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh Fraser

Graham McTavish as Dougal Mackenzie

Tobias Menzies as Frank Randall

Grant O’Rourke as Rupert Mackenzie

Stephen Walters as Angus Mhor

Gary Lewis as Colum Mackenzie

Lotte Verbek as Geillis Duncan

Nell Hudson as Laoghaire Mackenzie

Bill Paterson as Ned Gowan

Finn Den Hertog as Willie

James Fleet as Reverend Wakefield

Annette Badland as Mrs. Fitzgibbons

Aislin McGuckin as Letitia Mackenzie


British combat nurse Claire Randall is reunited with her husband after returning from the battlefields of World War II. While on their second honeymoon, she walks through one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles and is suddenly transported to 1743 Scotland, torn by war and rogue Highland clans. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigue and danger when she is accused of being a spy. Forced by circumstance to marry an outlawed Highlander, she finds herself falling in love and torn by her loyalties to two men in vastly different times, all of which may threaten her life and shatter her heart. Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling book series is stunningly realized by Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore in Season One’s first eight episodes.


Based on the best-selling “Outlander” series novels by Diana Gabaldon, a 16-episode series created by Ronald D. Moore (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Battlestar Galactica”) would air on the Starz cable network.

The series stars Caitriona Balfe (“Now You See Me”, “Super 8”, “Escape Plan”), Sam Heughan (“A Princess for Christmas”, “A Very British Sex Scandal”), Duncan Lacroix (“Vikings”, “Game of Thrones”), Graham McTavish (“The Hobbit” films, “Rambo”) and Tobias Menzies (“Casino Royale”, “Atonement”, “Finding Neverland”).

With a second season to air on Starz, “Outlander: Season One – Volume One” (featuring the first eight episodes) will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in March 2015.

“Outlander” begins with Claire Randall (portrayed by Caitriona Balfe), a World War II combat nurse visiting Inverness, Scotland with her loving husband, Jonathan Randall (portrayed by Tobias Menzies).  The two are deeply in love and while observing a modern Druid ritual on the hill of Craigh na Dun, Claire hears a strange noise emanating from the stones.

As Claire goes to reach for it, she instantly finds herself nearly 300 years earlier in time, during the skirmish between the Redcoasts (British) and the Highlander (Scottish) rebels.  While she sees a man that looks exactly like Jonathan, the man is the cruel and sinister, “Black Jack” Randall, Captain of His Majesty’s Dragoons.

As he is about to rape Claire, she is saved by a Scotsman and befriends Jamie Fraser (portrayed by Sam Heughan) and travels with the Highlanders as their nurse.

Of course, because she is not Scottish, the Highlanders treat her as a spy and don’t trust her and think she is an English spy.

As Claire tries to acclimate herself with her new setting and not sure why she has traveled back to the past and must do all she can to make sure the Highlanders think she is from their era, Claire must be careful.  Especially from the British, especially Black Jack Randall.


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Outlander: Season One – Volume One” is presented in 1:78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and in English 5.1 Dolby Digital.  It’s important to note that if you want the best presentation of this series, the Blu-ray is the way to go!

Otherwise, if you are not picky about the quality and you don’t have the equipment to take advantage of HD, then you’ll be happy with the picture and audio quality of “Outlander” on DVD.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Outlander: Season One – Volume One” comes with the following special features:

  • Outlander: An Epic Adaptation – (7:12) Author Diana Gabaldon discusses the adaptation from novel to TV Series, interviews with executive producer Ronald D. Moore and the cast.
  • Authentic in Design: The Dresses & Kilts of Outlander – (6:32) A featurette on the costume design for “Outlander”.

EXTRAS:

“Outlander: Season One – Volume One” comes with a slipcover.


Sexy, captivating and exciting!

The time travel storyline about a woman trapped hundreds of years in the past, not knowing how to get back home and trying to adjust to her new life is quite fascinating and yes, I will dare say it, I absolutely enjoyed “Outlander”!

When it comes to the work of Ronald D. Moore, so far, each of his sci-fi series have been entertaining and I’ve been big fans of the series (despite my feelings towards the latter season of “Battlestar Galactica”).  But when he creates a series, he knows how to get the viewers emotionally involved and making you want to watch episode after episode.

“Outlander” was quite interesting because I was expecting something along the lines of what we have seen in previous Moore series, a lot of visual effects, awesome costume design and cool and also sexy characters.  But with “Outlanders”, you get the awesome costume design, sexy characters but you also get a number of sex scenes and nudity and also, quite a bit of violence… so I’m kind of glad I didn’t watch the series with my child.

But it’s because of how mature, how well-written and how well-acted the series is, is what kept me captivated.  From not knowing what will happen to Claire Randall, as she travels with a group of men, many who look at her as a spy or like some piece of meat.  But despite being a sexual character earlier on, she’s also smart and strong and I love how she sticks up for herself, especially to other men who mistreat her.

But now she is in a conundrum of being stuck in the past and not knowing if she can get back home.  To make things worse, her husband in present-time, his ancestor hundreds of years ago that looks exactly like him, is the ultimate jerk.

Caitriona Balfe absolutely shines as the protagonist Claire Randall and her performance is heightened with the casting of Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser and Graham McTavish as Dougal MacKenzie.  It also helps to have an antagonist like Tobias Menzies as “Black Jack” Randall.

The costume design by Terry Dresbach and Glenne Campbell is fantastic!

So, for only eight episodes aired, Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore and his writers have done a magnificent job with the first eight episodes and I can’t wait for the continuation of the first season.

It’s important to note that if you want the best picture and audio quality of this series, Blu-ray is the way to go!  Otherwise, the DVD is good for those who are not as picky and don’t have the equipment to support HD.  You get two special features with the DVD release.  But for those who are hesitant about purchasing because there are only eight episodes, I would not be surprised if the first season receives a re-release with the complete first season.

Overall, “Outlander” is one of the most awesome shows on television.  While capturing the battle between the Redcoats and the Highlanders back in the 1740’s with wonderful cinematography and costume design, the series boasts awesome performances by its talent especially from actress Caitriona Balfe.

Sexy, captivating and an exciting adventure series, “Outlander: Season One – Volume One” is highly recommended!

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