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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Historic > Epic > TV Mimi Series > ROME – The Complete Series (2005 – 2007/HBO Blu-ray)

ROME – The Complete Series (2005 – 2007/HBO Blu-ray)

 

Picture: 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.

 

I had 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.

 

Those 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.

 

The class 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 know.

 

The 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.

 

The 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.

 

I highly 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


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