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Invasion: Earth (mini-series) - Invasion: Earth Review




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Rating
Video:   7/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   2/10

We're being invaded!
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
11/02/2005

    The time is the 1990s. The place is the fabled Scottish highlands. The players hail from different worlds. The dimensions are countless. At stake is the planet Earth.

    From the BBC and the Sci-Fi Channel comes Invasion Earth, an ambitious, thought-provoking sci-fi epic on DVD for the first time. When an ace pilot and a beautiful scientist investigate a UFO crash, they discover two alien races at war with each other: the peace-loving Echos and the dimension-hopping nD's. Earth is the battlefield - and it's up to a small band of humans to save us all.

    Invasion Earth is sci-fi of the highest order, filled with inventive plots, startling special effects, and gut-wrenching cliffhangers.
I love sci-fi shows, so I was eager to watch this, though I hadn't heard anything about it before it was announced for DVD. The 6-episode mini-series is on this 2-disc set:

Disc 1 (2:15:06)
The Last War (45:42)
The Fourth Dimension (44:42)
Only the Dead (44:42)

Disc 2 (2:14:07)
The Fall of Man (44:42)
The Battle More Costly (44:47)
The Shatterer of Worlds (44:38)

Video

There's no mention of the aspect ratio on the packaging, but I noticed two very thin lines at the top and bottom of my TV screen. I popped the disc into my laptop, and the black bars on the top and bottom are obvious. I took a snapshot and brought it into Photoshop to measure the aspect ratio; it's about 1.56:1, which isn't a normal aspect ratio at all. I haven't seen a broadcast of this series so I don't know what the proper aspect ratio should be. The picture is a bit soft, and there's some video noise that can be seen (I'm assuming this was taken from a tape source). I didn't notice any other major flaws. There's a "play all" option for each disc, but there aren't chapters placed after the opening of the mini-series.

Audio

I wasn't sure what to expect from the audio on this release. The packaging mentions it's a stereo track, but I suspect it's a stereo surround one since I noticed some audio coming from my rear speakers (and it sounded nice). I had to turn the volume on my receiver up a little bit; I found the audio slightly quiet. There aren't any subtitles or captions.

Extras - How we rate extras

Production Notes (3 screens)
Just some notes on the production of the series.

A Brief History of the Alien Invasion Film (5 screens)
Just like the title suggests, this is a brief history of alien invasion films.

Biographies (8 screens)
Biographies for Maggie O'Neill (2), Vincent Regan (3) and Fred Ward (3).

Summary

I have a mixed opinion of this mini-series. The story is pretty cool, but I thought it moved a bit slow. Some of the episodes dragged on and on, and there were numerous parts that could have been tightened up. Maybe it was just the mood I was in, I don't know.

This is a decent release from A&E. I wish they would catch on to the chapter-placement issue; they're one of the few companies that don't place chapters after the opening of the show. The extras are a bit skimpy, but A&E has never been known for cramming their sets with bonus material because of the small budgets they work with.

Die-hard sci-fi fans will get a kick out of this set, but I'd suggest others rent it instead of purchasing it. It's not a bad mini-series, but it's not excellent (though that's just my opinion).


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