V: The Final Battle

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Top 5 reasons that "V" is the greatest mini-series ever made…
5. Diana. She’s fine!
4. Where else can you see a guy swallow a live mouse?
3. Cross-breeding between lizards and humans…it had to happen!
2. The Marc Singer (aka "Beastmaster") factor…
1. Michael Ironside as Ham Tyler, need I say more?

Yes folks, I love "V" and have ever since it debuted on TV some 15 years ago. Joining the ranks of some other great mini-series like "Roots" and "The Stand", V stood apart in the sense that the special effects were pretty cutting-edge, but it also had a great storyline. Along the lines of movies like "E.T." and "Close Encounters", it answered the question of if there is intelligent life out there. However, unlike the two aforementioned Spielberg masterpieces, the "Visitors" in the series were not good; but pure evil.

It’s hard to classify the entire series into a plotline, and Warner made us wait the same year that we originally had to wait to see The Final Battle, but it’s here and worth it. Essentially, the Visitors come to Earth with huge mother ships located at major cities around the world. The focus is on the ship located above Los Angeles (it looks identical to the ones in Independence Day). The Visitors pretend to be our friends, but as some of the mortals start to find out, they’re not what they pretend to be. Eventually a resistance forms and it’s all out war with the citizens of Earth on one side and the Visitors on the other. Mike Donovan (Marc Singer) is the leader of the resistance and as a former broadcast journalist, is familiar with how to exploit their weaknesses.

The series has so many "lead" parts, that its hard to identify who is doing what. It follows about 10 different storylines, all of which end up intersecting in one way or the other. The special effects, naturally, pale by today’s standards and the image quality does leave a little to be desired. However if you’ve never seen "V", then this is the way to view it. Yes it’s dated with feathered haircuts, break-dancing clothes and the overall "attitude" of the mid 80’s in Los Angeles. Still, it was the basis for some of the movies that are around today and even though the series didn’t last long, it made an impact on me. See it just to sit there and do nothing for an afternoon, but see it!

Video: How does it look?

The mini-series was originally broadcast in a 1.33:1 standard TV ratio, but the good folks at Warner have made this into a 1.85:1 anamorphic ratio. I did manage to secure a copy of the old VHS version and with a little help, did an A/B comparison. While the image does lose a little on the top and bottom, the additional scenes to the sides more than make up for it. The colors are also a lot brighter and more vivid than that of the old video release. Yet another testament to DVD and anamorphic enhancement, I suppose. It’s not a perfect image by any means, as some scenes suffer from artifacting and the detail is kind of fuzzy from time to time. Add to that a bit of edge enhancement and you’ve got a really dated transfer here. Still, its likely the best it will look until (or if) a HD transfer makes its way into the works. Fans of the series (me) will be pretty impressed and more than happy that the new 1.85:1 image fills up their TV!

Audio: How does it sound?

Unfortunately the mix here is the dreaded mono. Not that it sounds bad, as a matter of fact it sounds pretty good for a mix only coming out of one channel. Unlike the image, the sound is a bit dated and those distinctive laser blasts (that you’ll never forget) do have a sound that tends to stay with you. The dialogue doesn’t suffer from any age and though there isn’t really much depth to the soundtrack, it does sound pretty good. I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t a new 5.1 track, but we can only expect so much, right? I don’t think that too many people will be let down, especially when all the action is on the screen.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Not a lot of extras here, mainly just some very basic cast and crew bios.

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