ROME – The
Complete Series (2005 – 2007/HBO
B+ Sound: B+ Extras: B+ Episodes: B+
ROME was one of the best and most expensive series to ever
premiere on HBO. Avoiding petty single
Blu-ray set releases HBO has given fans both seasons of the epic series in one
package. Though ratings were seemingly
through the roof for ROME and fans
were wild about the series (including this reviewer) the cost of the series was
ultimately its down fall.
previously reviewed ROME: Season 2 on this site and chronicled
the struggle between Octavian and Mark Antony.
As the entirety of the series focuses on the ups and downs of Rome shifting views
between the rich and powerful, while never forgetting the commoners. The First
Season emphasizes the lives of two real soldiers (Lucius and Titus) of the
era and part of Caesar’s Army. The
writers of ROME had the two men take a back seat to
the colossal and historically significant events going on around them, so they
could be an outlet for viewers to experience a variety of the most interesting
happenings of the time. Like the
absurdist play Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern are Dead, that featured two seemingly insignificant characters
from Shakespeare’s Hamlet taking
center stage, Lucius and Titus are merely a mode (though a serious one) and
creative means to propel a tale of wonderfully vivid historic events.
characters are the ‘common class’ we see, while concurrently the series
divulges the exploits of a young Julius Caesar as he rises to power with his
war of 49B.C., becomes a dictator and subsequently meets an untimely end
(*cough* assassination *cough*). That is
all of Season One, while Season Two (as previously mentioned)
focuses on the issues surrounding Mark Antony and Octavian. The entire series does not paint a pretty
picture of Rome and in actuality pulls back the
curtain to reveal the corruption, greed, boozing, gambling, sex, politics and
the idiosyncrasies that made the world turn in Rome.
The series creatively jumps points of view as to illicit outlooks on all
walks of life from the powerful elite to the struggling impoverished.
system is at the forefront in ROME as the rich treat the poor as currency
to fulfill their most heinous intentions.
I am more than certain that this series had much more to say as it was
set up in a manner that had a much bigger end game…but sadly we will never
technical features of ROME: The Complete
Series are ultimately well done with a solid picture and sound
presentation. The picture is a 1080p AVC-1
High Definition presentation that is as pristine as the marble of the columns;
demonstrating a consistent clarity and color palate that is admirable. Where as areas of the two seasons are darker
than I would have liked the details are simply amazing as ever wrinkle, glare
and grain of dirt POP. The colors of the
day sequences are vividly presented, which is in stark contrast to the
problematic night sequences that dismiss inky blacks for ugly grays. Even with the light dark issues of the night
sequences the rest of the series is well done and nothing is too
distracting. The sound is a lossless
DTS-HD Master Audio that gets the job done, though it lacks the power I was
looking for. The sound is nice through
and through as far as a dialogue driven series, but for the more powerful
scenes and musical scores something is lacking.
extras include 13 Audio Commentaries that are flighty as some are great and
others are pure dribble. Different
members of the cast and crew jump in to voice opinions and trivia; whereas they
are solid as a whole I don’t see myself taking the time to listen to the
drabness again. Other extras include
Interactive Bloodlines; All Roads Lead to Rome; Friends, Romans, Countrymen;
The Rise of Rome; Shot x Shot: Caesar’s Triumph; Shot x Shot: Gladiator; When
in Rome; Tale of Two Romes (HD); The Making of Rome Season II (HD); The Rise of
Octavian: Rome’s First Emperor (HD); Antony and Cleopatra (HD); Episode
Previews for Season I and II (HD). The
extra features take a while to get through, but for the most part are well
worth it as the featurettes chronicle the difficulty of bringing this landmark
series to life.
recommend the series and even though it never got to complete its intended run
it is an amazingly stunning series busting with creativity, jaw dropping
visuals and much more.
- Michael P. Dougherty II