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DVD Review: EMPIRE

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EMPIRE

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 257 minutes, two featurettes

STUDIO: Touchstone/ BVHE

RELEASE DATE: 11-30-2005

EMPIRE puts drama first and history second. if you're looking for a more historically accurate series, go watch HBO's ROME. If you want good drama, EMPIRE is the winner of the two. If you want both, EMPIRE might not cut it for you. Many historical and historical fiction works do take creative license with history in the name of drama. EMPIRE centers around the nephew of Julius Caesar (who is murdered before the first episode is over- Colm Feore has no luck whether it is as a good guy or bad guy) and he makes Tyrannus (a freed gladiator played by Jonathan Cake) to protect and teach his nephew. Tyrannus takes Octavius (Caesar's 18 year old nephew) and flees Rome. The ones in power in Rome don't want what Julius Caesar wanted. He wanted to give some of the land to the farmers, but power and greed ruled which lead to Caesar's death. Then you have Marc Antony who may be a possible ally for Octavius in his bid to take back Rome or a rival who will betray him. Tyrannus and Octavius try to gain allies to form their own army which will probably lead to a civil war within the Roman Empire.

EMPIRE didn't quite hook me after watching the first two episodes during the summer when it aired on ABC. Other shows drew my attention more after that, but I am glad I did watch the other four episodes on DVD. EMPIRE gets better as it goes along, but the last episode does feel rushed.

VIDEO: 1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

The transfer looks remarkable good with great image detail and fantastically capturing good colors (and blacks).

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Surround

Subtitles: English SDH

Dialogue is clear, but the 5.1 DD isn't bad for 5.1 mixes. Listen to the way effects are presented.

SPECILA FEATURES: REBUILDING AN EMPIRE is a Making Of featurette that covers the genesis of EMPIRE to the series being filmed in Rome using actual locations. EMPIRE: BEFORE AND AFTER shows how many shots in the series looked like before they had CGI effects put in and what they looked like after the CGI work was done. It would have been more interesting if they showed how they did it instead of a five minute montage to music from the series.

FINAL ANALYSIS: EMPIRE was overlooked during the summer TV season, but it will be worth checking out by some and worth giving a second chance by those who tuned out after the first two episodes.

this DVD Review is (c)11-25-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com