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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > WWI > History > Politics > War > Flooding > Disaster > Biking > Cycling > Road Trip > The First World War: The Complete Series (2002/E1 DVD)/The Great Flood (2013/Icarus DVD)/Ride Report: 10,000 Miles To Rio (2014/Cinema Libre DVD)

The First World War: The Complete Series (2002/E1 DVD)/The Great Flood (2013/Icarus DVD)/Ride Report: 10,000 Miles To Rio (2014/Cinema Libre DVD)

Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: D/C/C Main Programs: B/B-/B-

Here's our latest combination of documentary and special interest releases you should know about...

The First World War: The Complete Series (2002) is a still-impressive look at The Great War that was to end all wars with plenty of key footage in its 10 episodes (300 minutes!) made in England and covering every major aspect of WWI you could ask for. It is not a subject we get to cover enough and one that definitely does not get discussed enough, but this is one of the key entries on the subject finally hitting home video and one more than worth your time.

There are no extras.

Decasia (see the review elsewhere on this site) director Bill Morrison is back with The Great Flood (2013) silently showing us the whole story with actual archival film footage of the ugly, unfortunate Mississippi River Flood of 1927. More forgotten than WWI, uglier as this history has repeated itself despite how preventable that was, this is a stunning, effective, ironic portrait of the events and how it hurt everyone and is not the kind of thing a great country should tolerate or allow to happen. This runs a rich 80 minutes and I wished it were longer, but Morrison makes his points very clear as I believe he is getting better and better at what he does.

A booklet on the film inside the DVD case is the only extra.

Last but not least is Ride Report: 10,000 Miles To Rio (2014) in which two friends (Tiernan Turner and Matt Kendall) decide to attend Carnival in Rio, but instead of flying, they are big motorcycle fans and decide to take a long bike trip to get there! They use the Internet and sites of fellow bike riders in the biking community (the parts that apparently are not about gangs and fights) and take a long, long, long ride there. A risky idea, the idea is to have fun, but it is a road trip just the same and once I started watching, I could not stop. The guys are serious about this, go out of their way for this and the results (no matter the problems they do run into) are as interesting as the solutions that follow.

Goes to show you the value of road trips, fact or fiction, but it also is one of the first (even more than the great documentary Y.E.R.T. Reviewed elsewhere on this site) how the concept, idea and actual taking of a road trip has changed and why it is as desirable as ever to do. This was so good, I hope they get even more ambitious and try something even more surprising. It also reminds us how awesome Rio is.

Extras include the Original Theatrical Trailer and Bonus Interviews.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on all three DVDs are decent and what you would expect from documentary releases. War has some older graphics that date it as much as its stock footage, Flood has stock footage almost as old as War and fading even more in some cases and Ride is the newest production with the newest footage, but the limits of the digital video have their some motion blur and distortion here and there. Still, in spite of the noted flaws, all make for very compelling viewing just the same. All three also offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo tracks, with War made of interviews and music since its footage is silent archive stock, as is the footage on Flood, but that (including a clever montage of Sears catalog pages of the time) is set to Bill Frizell's effective score and Ride has location audio that is usually fine throughout. I love the color-background captions they use when the audio is hard to hear. Very clever and I wish more people would try their approach.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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