SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The hit Starz series tells the story of Roman slave Spartacus who leads a rebellion against the Roman Republic. And there’s lots of blood, boobs and sex to help him along.
WHAT I LIKED
I had the fortunate of recently watching Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” on Blu-ray not too long ago. This gave me a unique perspective on watching this series. The two versions of the Spartacus story have very little in common except for some costume design, which makes it neat to watch how different two versions can be.
Anyone who loved the film “300” and would like to see it as a regular series will eat this show up. It’s got plenty of action, blood and sex in it… almost to a ludicrous level. The series is an exercise in excess, which offers a certain amount of charm.
I wouldn’t teach anyone history lessons from this series, but it puts old Roman television series to shame. After all, “I, Claudius” doesn’t hold a candle to this film in terms of production design and value. Sure, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is a big, macho show with a modicum of substance, but it’s fun to watch in small doses.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
If you’re expecting an intellectual look at the Roman Republic, you won’t get it here. You’ll get some quality actors showing up, like Lucy Lawless and John Hannah, but you won’t get a history lesson.
There is a bit too much CGI in this show for my tastes, though it makes sense as the show seems to be capitalizing on the “300” angle a bit too much.
Still, there’s boobs in it, and that’s not so bad, after all.
This Blu-ray set is a great package simply for its healthy dose of bonus features. Extended episodes are exclusive to the Blu-ray, and there are audio commentary options as well. Other features include a pop-up history option called “Spartacus Historicus” (a cheesy name, I know) and the movieIQ feature which tests your knowledge during the show.
There’s also a slate of featurettes, including a general behind-the-scenes look at the series. Other featurettes includes “Spartacus: Battle Royale,” “Gladiator Boot Camp,” “Grime and Punishment,” “Andy Gets Plastered,” “Legend Re-Imagined,” “Oh, Those Randy Romans,” “Shooting Green: The Shadow of Death” and “Exposing Your Ludus.”
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Anyone who thought the Stanley Kubrick version of “Spartacus” could have used a few more boobs in it.