Sunday, November 22, 2015

DVD Review: Empire

Based on the book Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British, Empire makes its North American DVD debut on November 17, 2015 from Athena, an RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) brand. Written and presented by English broadcaster, journalist, and author Jeremy Paxman (The Victorians), this richly detailed BBC documentary follows the rise of the British Empire. At its height, the small island nation ruled over a quarter of the world’s population. Examining what is often considered a dark stain on British history, Empire shows how greed and a lust for power marginalized numerous groups across the empire’s vast expanse, while also challenging viewers to see the empire’s undeniable effect on the modern world. Originally broadcast on the U.K.’s BBC in February 2012 and co-produced by Open University, the series was filmed on location in former British colonies around the world, including India, Singapore, Kenya, Canada, and Jamaica. This DVD 2-disc set features five episodes ($49.99, Empire is also available to watch at any time on Acorn TV, the premier streaming service for world class television from Britain and beyond at www.Acorn.TV.

Empire tells the story of Britain’s grand imperial venture, from the arrival of the earliest explorers through colonization and to the final lowering of the Union Jack. Hosted by veteran BBC broadcaster Jeremy Paxman, this five-part series examines the impact of the empire and how it continues to exert an influence today. What drove the British to leave the security of their island home for parts unknown? How did they take and then hold on to power? In what ways did they change the lands they conquered, and how did those lands and their peoples change them?

To help answer those questions, Paxman travels to India, the Middle East, Canada, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Far East—the outposts of an empire four times larger than ancient Rome’s and on which the sun famously never set. There, he finds extraordinary individuals and an enduring legacy that, for good or ill, continues to shape the behaviors and beliefs of peoples all around the globe, as well as in Britain itself.

Episodes: A Taste for Power, Making Ourselves at Home, Playing the Game, Making a Fortune, and Doing Good

BONUS: 12-page viewer’s guide with a timeline of the empire; a map of British colonies; and articles on the empire under Queen Victoria, the British Commonwealth, and modern multicultural Britain

Street Date: November 17, 2015                                    SRP: $49.99     

DVD 2-Disc Set: 5 episodes – Approx. 303 min. – SDH Subtitles

UPC 0-54961-2228-9-6                                                   ISBN 978-1-62172-228-1

My Thoughts
This is a excellent DVD about British Empire conquests. There are five hour-length episodes including:

A TASTE OF POWER- This episode is about the Imperialism of India. We learn about the 1857 Indian War of Independence.

 MAKING OURSELVES AT HOME- British traders try to impose Victorian values on the locals of India.

PLAYING THE GAME- Adventurers believe how you play is more important than winning as they set out on adventures.

MAKING A FORTUNE- The British make money on African slave trade.

DOING GOOD - The British turn to Africa in search of diamonds with resistance from Kenya.

There is definitely a lot of history in this series, and hopefully some lessons learned from the greed of the past.  Paxman does a great job of digging deep and forcing us to look at the darker side of an empire.