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Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season(TV) (2013)
Torn from his homeland and the woman he loves, Spartacus, a Thracian warrior captured by Romans, is enslaved into a gladiator training school owned by Batiatus and his wife Lucretia. He is forced to fight daily for his life against deadly foes, under the brutal whip of trainer Doctore. Against all odds, Spartacus' rebellious instincts, his intense love for his wife Sura and his powerful fighting skills drive him to win a series of near-impossible battles - setting in motion a revolution against the tyranny of Rome. To survive, he must become more than a man, more than a gladiator. He must become a legend.
For more about Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season and the Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season Blu-ray release, see Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 3, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Andy Whitfield, Liam McIntyre, Lucy Lawless, Nick E. Tarabay, Peter Mensah, John Hannah
» See full cast & crew
Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review
A damn good Blu-ray set.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, September 3, 2013
Stephen S. DeKnight's Spartacus television epic has endured significant trials on its way to fame and fortune in the arena of cable ratings, fueled by Internet banter, water cooler discussions, and a whole lot of envelope-pushing. Not only did the show tragically lose its lead actor following its first season but it's also faced some controversy considering its massive reliance on excess nudity, frequent and graphic portrayals of raw sexual encounters, gratuitous violence, and unchecked tongue in shaping the tale of the famous slave rebellion and its effect on the Roman Empire. But it's also rightly seen as groundbreaking television, a show that ditches convention in favor of charting its own course and telling the story it wants to tell in the manner it sees fit. From Blood and Sand to War of the Damned, the series has seen a great evolution in terms of cast and story but, superficially, remained true to its style, a graphic novel come to life through a dedicated cast, clever writing, and a whole lot of CGI. War of the Damned, the final chapter in the Spartacus saga, continues the story of rebellion here made by muscle, sex, and sword as much as political maneuvering and military might. It's a fitting and fast finale, one that doesn't necessarily push the envelope any further and often feels indistinguishable from previous seasons -- notably Vengeance -- on a purely superficial level, but there's enough in the way of unexpected dramatic thrills and character moments to make War of the Damned a worthy final chapter in the blood-soaked and sex-filled story of Spartacus and his rebellion re-imagined for modern television.
The rebellion is in full swing. Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) and his rebels -- including the mighty warriors Crixus (Manu Bennett) and Gannicus (Dustin Clare) -- are winning the day over the Roman armies sent to squash them. Despite their victories, they've fought a largely nomadic war and won the day on strength and determination alone. However, Spartacus and his men decide that, to see victory through, they must establish a secure, defendable, and sufficiently large base of operations out of which they may wage a fuller, more aggressive war. Meanwhile, Rome's military and financial resources have dwindled following defeat after defeat at the hands of the rebels. Those shrinking financial reserves leave the Senate no choice but to entrust the fate of the Empire in the hands of Marcus Licinius Crassus (Simon Merrells), a wealthy Roman whose financial backing is rewarded with the opportunity to lead the Roman armies against Spartacus and his rebels. At the same time, a young, upstart Roman named Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance) is brought into the fold and tasked with infiltrating the rebel ranks and wreaking havoc from within.
Spartacus has always been one-half drama and one-half spectacle. War of the Damned is no different. Both parts play in harmony, though not always equal harmony; the sex and violence always feels like the dominant force, but not necessarily to the detriment of the program. War of the Damned, then, plays exactly as fans expect and demand, bringing the story to conclusion through the prism of its spectacle and the occasional, always welcome, and even expected major twist or revelation or happening that redefines the show in some way in almost every hour. War of the Damned, however, doesn't so much rely on ever-new dramatic dynamics -- despite some new characters -- but rather the evolution of old ways through the inclusion of new faces and the updating of old challenges. In that regard, it's simple storytelling and effective dramatic unfolding of the universe by way of introducing new wrinkles into old, comfortable clothes. War of the Damned plays out just as it should and, basically, as expected, both in a historical context as well as within the series' established parameters. Fans will praise the seamless continuation and mourn the inevitable conclusion, both the conclusion to the story and the conclusion to the series. And one cannot ask for much more of a satisfying end to a rather short-lived but fan-favorite program.
Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Spartacus: War of the Damned delivers a sleek and visually impressive high definition presentation. Anchor Bay's 1.78:1-framed image yields slick, well-defined textures. From leathery body armor to complex skin textures, from tattered fabric to dirt terrain, the image reveals most every element without hardship. It's very clear and well defined throughout, with only the occasional softer-looking shot getting in the way of a regularly striking image. Colors are bold, particularly the large volume of cartoonish blood. The palette is fresh and vibrant elsewhere, too, notably in city locations featuring crowds of people in diversely colored robes and other garments. Black levels are deep and satisfying, while flesh tones are true. The image does show a rather significant amount of noise, at times, particularly across darker backdrops. Otherwise, no complaints here; as with the other Spartacus Blu-ray releases, this one frequently dazzles.
Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Spartacus: War of the Damned slashes up sound systems with a high quality Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. While not a prolific listen, it offers everything in balance, making good use of every speaker in its arsenal and creating an enjoyable, oftentimes immersive, listen. Whether sounds of battle or light background ambience, the track seems always alive in its more energetic or atmospheric scenes. Natural environmental effects, such as seagulls and a windy breeze at a seaside town, help to effortlessly transport the listener to the location. On the flip side, chaotic action scenes feature squishy gore, clanking swords, and screaming combatants in a well-rounded 360-degree sound field that plops the listener in the middle of mayhem. Even more serene dialogue scenes play with a light sense of spacing around the stage. Similarly, music delivery enjoys firm clarity and natural front spacing with fine surround support and balanced bass. Dialogue plays firmly and clearly from the center. This is a top-end, all-around performance soundtrack that suits the material well.
Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Spartacus: War of the Damned contains sex featurettes, ten commentary tracks, and extended versions of each episode. All supplements, save for episode-specific commentary tracks, are located on disc three. All Episodes, minus episode one, contain optional previous episode recaps.
Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Spartacus: War of the Damned looks and feels like "more of the same," and in some ways it is. This season retains the series' signatures, excess sex and gratuitous violence, but as always weaves together a rather compelling story of rebellion and the relationships forged, developed, and broken on both sides of the sword. It's not TV's most compelling program, but Spartacus has proven itself a reliable entertainer over the past few years, and it's a shame to see it end. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Spartacus: War of the Damned delivers tip-top video and audio. The meat of the supplements comes in the form of audio commentary tracks; the featurettes are of minimal value. Highly recommended, particularly to series fans and serious collectors.
Spartacus: Other Seasons
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