Horatio Hornblower: The New Adventures

Horatio Hornblower: The New Adventures (2003)
A&E Home Video
Cast: Ioan Gruffudd, Robert Lindsay, Paul McGann
Extras: Commentary Track, Biographies, Photo Gallery

Every other year or so, A&E produces sequels to their phenomenal Horatio Hornblower series, each installment eagerly awaited by fans of the series. With ’The New Adventures, ’ the studio serves up two new feature-length episodes in which Horatio and his crew have to once again survive the perils of the Napoleonic Wars. With daring missions, conspiracies and wonderful sea battles, these new adventures once again fulfill every fan’s dreams with rich visuals and exciting plots.

A&E is presenting ’Horatio Hornblower’ in a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio on these DVDs in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 televisions. The transfer is very good and absolutely clean. Not a speckle is in sight and the level of detail is high throughout. The image is rich in color and boasts deep blacks that give the image good visual depth and renders shadows deep, yet without losing detail. Skin tones are always natural and the overall color palette used for the films is nicely reproduced without any flaws. No edge-enhancement distracts from the adventures and the compression has been done equally well, leaving the presentation free of artifacts.

The Dolby Stereo audio track provided on the DVD is very good and has a wide and natural frequency response. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable. The audio is free of distortion or sibilance and also manages to bring across the powerful cannon fire without any problems.

A number of extras can be found once again on this release, such as a commentary track with director Andrew Grieve, producer Andrew Benson and costume designer John Mollo. The track is engaging and full of valuable information. Whether it is the production itself, the literary background the series is based upon, or detailed information about the historic era depicted.

Also included are biographies and a photo gallery with images from the sets.

Once again, A&E delivers a rich experience – dense adventure stories filled with peril and explosive period action. Wonderfully cast and produced, ’Horatio Hornblower’ once again manages to pull you under its spell with this stunning new DVD release. Get it. You owe it to yourself, really!