Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Not as bad as all that!
B. Langman | British Columbia, Canada | 08/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps I'm not as learned as my co-reviewers but I found this set thought-provoking and interesting. Who really cares if it's not 100% factual? Is there any free-thinking, reasonable person who believes the bible itself is 100% factual? These short documentaries merely present alternate interpretations of historical facts and they're quite clear about that - even warn the viewer that the interpretations may be controversial or offensive. Lighten up out there. I own this set and enjoy watching it. I'm sure others will, too - if they're not completely turned off by your scathing reviews. Unless you're a huge history buff who absolutely insists on perfection (or someone who can't see beyond alleged imperfections in the lighting, directing, and musical score), it's very possible that you will indeed enjoy this set."
C. Truog | Minneapolis, MN USA | 06/21/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"An innacurate, misleading documentary riddled with inconsistancies, half-truths, and insane leaps of logic, this DVD is a tired retread of 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' and, of course, 'The da Vinci Code'. For a more balanced and truthful look at Leonardo da Vinci, I recommend the Questar DVD 'The Life of Leonardo da Vinci', an Italian mini-series from the seventies, or Serge Bramly's excellent biography 'Leonardo: Discovering the life of Leonardo da Vinci'. 'The Da Vinci Files' belongs on the dust-bin of history."
Video terrible, sound abysmal, content poor
ashurbanapli | Canada | 12/28/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I bought the set for Christmas for the family, and I agree with C. Truog - it's a big disappointment. The set deserves the poorest marks available based on the technical presentation alone. Details:
The box claims that the set was filmed in HD, but it wasn't. The video quality is terrible, and the lightning is often bad resulting in a dark or highly contrasted picture whenever the narrator is talking (sometimes it seems like an orange lens has been placed on the camera). A few times the picture even rips visibly between scenes, as if the person responsible for putting it together didn't know what he was doing. The narrator's discussion fades in and out at random when he isn't done talking yet (i.e., a shot was started but the narrator made a mistake later on, so only the first half of that shot was kept and spliced to another instead of re-shooting the whole scene), and overall my impression is that most of the narrator's content was filmed with a low-quality handheld digicam.
The sound is even worse. The music is very repetitive, as the same tracks phase in whenever "Leonardo" is being filmed, which is at least half of the content in this set. The narrator/commentator's volume is usually too low, and the music is very loud and booming with high base, so quite often the music drowns out the conversation(s). You'll find yourself rewinding a lot to figure out what the narrator was saying. The quality of the music is very poor too (scratchy and fuzzy), and sometimes the narrator sounds like he is being recorded on the other side of a brick wall. There are no options in the disc menus to turn off the music tracks, so you'll often have to jack the volume when the narrator is speaking so you can hear him, and then jump for the remote to reduce the volume when the booming music returns.
The narrator gesticulates excessively and artificially, and pauses often in the middle of a sentence for 2-3 seconds and then starts up again (presumably it takes a long time to change the queue cards). The accents of the narrator and the commentator are thick and they mispronounce English words (which makes them sometimes difficult to follow, necessitating another rewind).
I approached this set expecting a collection of detailed documentaries on Leonardo (as the set claims). The content of these "documentaries" is however poor and you'll often come away with the impression that the filmmakers don't really have much to say. At least three-quarters of the filming time is wasted on fluff or drama, and when something is being said it is indeed uncritical promulgation/repetition of the Holy Blood, Holy Grail (HBHG) and Dan Brown Da Vinci Code (DVC) myths that have been disproved long ago (i.e., this set about Leonardo often isn't about Leonardo at all). So these aren't documentaries per se, so much as a discussion of what the filmmakers think of the HBHG/DVC issues. Within "The Da Vinci Files" the filmmakers state their opinions, and then build on them to produce conspiracy theory-quality assertions they try to pass off as facts; sometimes this is HBHG/DVC material, sometimes it is their outright invention.
Importantly, these "documentaries" assume you know the HBHG/DVC material, and even given this preparation, the ideas and discussion of the filmmakers proceed at random, are totally uncontextualized, and are disorganized. People watching the discs with me (that had read the DVC) often had to ask me what the narrator/commentator was talking about, as this wasn't explained -- they just started talking and assumed the audience could follow. Therefore, someone who doesn't know the HBHG/DVC material probably wouldn't get much out of these discs at all. This is because the narrator often jumps around between subjects; sometimes he is supposed to be talking about one thing (the subject of that documentary), and he wanders off into irrelevant subjects only because he wants to talk about them.
This is fine, if that is your thing. If you're interested in Dan Brown's DVC material in the Priory of Sion, Knights Templar-conspiracy-theory sense, this set is for you. If you're looking for "documentaries" that discuss the DVC/HBHG material critically or in a historical sense, you'll be very disappointed. I would direct you to Tony Robinson's "The Real Da Vinci Code" as a start instead.
Overall, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that "The Da Vinci Files" is an unapologetically poor-quality money-grab, riding the Da Vinci Code cash cow. The set should never have been shipped in the technical state that it's in, it's really an embarrassment.
Moreover, the 5th disc of "The Da Vinci Files" is not a content disc, it's instead an audio CD of "music from the Renaissance" (of questionable value save to claim this is a "5 disc set"). There are no French tracks available, only English and Spanish audio is present. Two stars given, since that's about as many good points they make in the set."
This is garbage
Gregory Holmes | 03/28/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"A beautifully packaged 3 disc box set with eye catching screen menus, opening credits and "bonus" features can't hide the fact that the material in these "documentaries" is just a bunch of nonsense. The information is presented so poorly that it is painful to watch. It comes across as something a talented 6th grader might have whipped together for extra credit. The music soundtrack is so bad you will find yourself reaching for the remote control to mute it. Don't order this mess and if you see it on a shelf in a store, don't be fooled. Madacy is marketing this garbage in a very elaborate case with excellent artwork and it is a beautiful presentation but the contents are worse than an amateur home video would deliver. There are even mispellings on the menu and in the credits (there are three different spellings for "blasphemey"). The narrator stumbles through reading his lines. The editing is so sloppy that you would have to see it to believe it (but don't bother). AWFUL!
A true rip-off."