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Category:    Home > Reviews > Exercise > Martial Arts > Massage > Awakening Level (Duncan Wong – Yogic Arts)

Awakening Level (Duncan Wong – Yogic Arts)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Main Program: B



Though we are far from a site that is about health and nutrition, we have covered many Yoga and Exercise titles with varied results.  Some have been better than others, but none have been a catastrophe.  However, there seemed to always be more room for improvement and figured that one of these days, a DVD would come along that exceeded genre and broke new ground in the field.  Duncan Wong’s Awakening Level, produced and directed by James Wvinner, is that disc.


Wong is exceptionally literate, articulate and able-bodied as he beings by explaining how he has pursued physical arts all his life.  What he calls Yogic Arts is a great combination of Yoga, Martial Arts and Massage that is most impressive and effective.  The program is about an hour long, chapterized and in two parts: Awareness Level Workout and Enlightening Level Workout.  With fine music by Shaman’s Dream, Rara Avis and Craig Kohland, the overall result is the most effective in the field we have seen to date.  If I were asked which title to recommend, this would be the hands down winner!


Director Of Photography Sion Michel, A.C.S., brings the Exercise/Yoga cycle to a higher level with this release.  He was a camera operator on both Michael Mann’s mostly HD-shot Collateral and Rob Marshall’s Memoirs Of A Geisha, both with DP Dion Beebe.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is the best we have seen for an exercise program to date, shot in both 16mm film and digital High Definition, then played back in black and white.  Since there is not monochrome HD, it was color-drained HD, but the 16mm might be color.  It is hard to tell, because it could also be commercial Kodak B/W stocks like on Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, but detail is not bad and depth is decent, embarrassing many a black and white transfer we have seen for TV and feature films on DVD.  We have lower expectations for Music Video transfe4rs because they do not get the respect they often deserve.


The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has pleasant Pro Logic surrounds with and without the instructions that accompany the exceptionally well-chosen music.  The combination is enough to inspire the laziest and most complacent person to become interested.  Extras include four additional segments on how to improve movement with a Gung Fu demonstration, Downward Scorpion adjustment and further explanations of Mudras and Bandha.  All in all, this is a remarkable release and could be the beginning of a phenomenal new series of DVDs in the field that gives that whole special interest area a new boost it badly needs.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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