Review by Chastity Campbell
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Features: See Review
Length: 200 Minutes
Release Date: February 24, 2004
Fierce and sometime brutal
beyond belief, Barbarians as we have termed them played a vital role in
shaping the history of the civilized (if you can call it that with the way
things are going nowadays) world.
Where would we be today without
the Goths, and their fierce determination to fight the Huns who were forcing
them from the only home they had ever known, or their would be allies the Romans
who were selling Goth children into slavery?
Without Barbarians, the
fall of the Roman Empire may have taken longer than it did, and at least where
fashion is concerned, those Goths got in there just in time, because the toga
was so outdated. Give me a good
sheepskin coat any day!
This two-disc box set from
A&E takes you back in time to a place where it was necessary to fight on a
daily basis to simply survive. Barbarians
fought, and died for many different reasons.
Sometimes it was as simple as maintaining their belief system, and
sometimes as complex as attempting to take over the rule of a kingdom in a show
of ultimate dominance and power.
Disc one contains two of the
four episodes that make up this box set. The
first episode introduces you to the Vikings.
You’ll follow these master ship builders as they rape and pillage their
way toward England and Paris in an attempt to gain as much wealth as possible.
Now that we have established their motivations, we must give them credit
because it was these Viking Barbarians who are largely responsible for
establishing trade routes between Europe, Africa, and all over the Middle East.
That old saying about good things coming from bad places seems to be in
full force here.
The second episode on disc one
features the Goths. The Goths
were a farming and mostly peaceful people who were forced to flee their homeland
by the invading Hun armies. The
Goths sought refuge under the banner of the Roman Empire.
It wasn’t long however before the Romans began grinding the boot heel
of oppression into the hearts of the homeless Goths. Forced to sell their children into slavery and serve as
battle fodder for the Roman Army, the Goths rebelled and began to retake the
freedom that was stripped away from them.
Disc two takes you on a wild and
crazy ride with the Mongols and the Huns. The
Mongols are one of the most interesting and terrorizing brbarian hoards to ever
walk the land. Their battle
techniques are legendary, and still utilized by many armies today.
Mongol leaders like Genghis Khan and Tamerlane are known throughout
history for the brutality they inflicted on the peoples their armies faced.
Completely without compassion or mercy,these Mongol leaders built an
empire larger than any before it. But
what goes up must come down, and once you give this disc a spin you’ll see how
greed and power can cause even the largest of empires to crumble from within.
The final episode in this four
part series takes you on a ride with Huns. Led by the legendary Attila, these warriors were unrivaled in
their horsemanship and prowess on the battlefield. During the 4th and 5th centuries,
the Huns military dominance brought the Roman Empire to the brink of destruction
and led the Chinese to build the Great Wall Of China to keep them off of their
I have watched many features
presented by A&E but this by far, in scope and scale, exceeded even my
expectations. The DVDss are
beautifully done, and contain some decent bonus features.
I would definitely recommend
this box set for educational, and more importantly, entertainment purposes.
A&E truly knows how to deliver a good time on DVD.
The look of this two disc DVD
box set was as impressive as the sound quality.
The 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen presentation was vivid and clean with
very few detectable flaws. There
was a tiny bit of softness around the top of some of the frames on disc two, but
otherwise a very nice digital transfer.
Colors were vivid and bright,
and by using a lot of natural lighting, these DVDs had a more realistic feel to
A&E definitely has someone
very good in the audio department, because these DVDs are mixed in a Dolby
Digital Stereo mix that sounds better than some 5.1 Surround mixes I’ve heard.
There were no audible dips in
audio or dropouts that I could detect. The
music bed was blended into the background to allow the voice over to be front
and center, while at the same time creating a seamless blending of the two.
Disc one contains a behind the scenes featurette that will entertain as well as inform.
Disc two will “Khan” you
into watching the Genghis Khan: Terror And Conquest episode of
A&E’s award winning series, Biography.
Interactive Menus, and Scene
Selection are available to make your viewing experience not only pleasurable but