Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|To the Ends of the Earth|
Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch
Director: David Attwood
Genres: Action & Adventure, Television
From Nobel Laureate William Golding's (Lord of the Flies) epic sea-voyage trilogy comes the story of an ambitious British aristocrat, humbled by the lives of his fellow passengers, as he embarks on an ocean voyage for Aust... more »
Similarly Requested DVDs
The Privilege & Problem of Rank "To the Ends of the Earth"
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 04/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"4 and 1/2 hours in one sitting is to me the hallmark of what makes a miniseries exciting, exhilarating, involving and totally engrossing; when I can barely make time to go to the bathroom or bother to eat something because a film is THAT grand in scope and magnitude, then I take off my hat to the the BBC for a job well done to David Attwood's British star-powered TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.
First off, The trilogy of novels from which Leigh Jackson, Tony Basgallop and Lynn Hersford (who finished up this project upon Jackson's death) adapted this series, were written by England's Poet-Laureate , William Golding ( anyone who has read any of Golding's novels knows that he explores the darker side of human nature!!!) With that in place, TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH is just that- one man, young Lord Edmond Talbot's self-discovery about the just and the unjust, seedy sides of mankind; this is all learned and "journaled" on a perilous, eye-opening voyage aboard an 18th-century passenger ship boarding in England and sailing to Sydney, Australia (The Antipodes). As passenger of highest born rank, the young Talbot (pronounced Talbert) learns about real life, apart from his noble rank and privilege which involves the mysterious "murder and buggering" of a Reverend, the suicide of a cabin keeper, dirty politics upon the High Seas and the cover up of dastardly deeds of crewman. This drama series is as full of mystery and intrigue as it is entertaining and downright comical!!! No small wonder, in that David Attwood, who in 1996 brought to the screen a similar treatment of Daniel Dafoe's The Fortunes & Misfortunes of Moll Flanders, now has performed his similar magic with Golding's three stories with great success! One minute you are spellbound, and the next you are laughing. Attwood understands the necessity of building tension and the importance of a release valve!
The true star of this series is Benedict Cumberbatch, as Edmond Talbot, who one year later recorded a similar triumph as William Pitt The Younger in Michael Apted's big screen biopic of abolitionist William Wilberforce in Amazing Grace. Cumberbatch is in every demanding, dialogue-laden, ship-tilting scene and the grace and power of his abilities, again, is undeniable. Cumberbatch is proving to be one of England's rising stars with his classically trained acting and his incredible sense of character that makes this series an immense pleasure to watch. He is as skilled an actor as any out right now. The viewer is put at total ease and assurance with the entire cast of seasoned English actors plus Australian-born veteran Sam Neill (who is most present in Episode 3) who combine with uniformly outstanding performances in this well crafted saga of real life aboard a sea ship of the time.
Unlike many "cleaner" drama serials such as Horatio Hornblower Collector's Edition which concern the valour and honour of the 18th-century Royal Navy, TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH is more intent of presenting all of the warts, belching, farts, and "indelicacies" of sea life that are far more accurate in accounting what ship passage was actually like. The camera work is ingenious in the steadiness that it displays while watching the passengers suffer from "riding the ship" (getting their "sea legs") as well as suffering from "mal de Mer" (sea-sicknesses). Having been aboard the Revolutionary War Frigate "The Constellation" that is anchored in Baltimore Harbour, I can attest that a series could not be more accurate at the depicting the dark, dank accommodations of cramped cabin life in the underbelly of a ship!!!
Some of the interesting points that I would like to observe: (1) the music and dances aboard ship are done live (which to a musician is noted and much appreciated. No fake cello, flute or violin players HERE!) (2) The underbelly of the ship is scaled to five feet in height (normal for the time) which makes Cumberbatch's unusual 6 -foot height all the more interesting. (3) The SHIP is tossed so that the actors must adapt, NOT the camera tossing to and fro making the viewer sick! (note my comments on John Adams (HBO Miniseries)!!!) (4) The costuming is 100% accurate, and the manners and customs of the time are well noted and observed.
The only downside that I found with this series, is that Episode 3 seems rushed and edited more quickly (probably due to the death of screenplay adapter Leigh Jackson) than Episodes 1 and 2. Also, for those who have problems dealing with a myriad of English accents, alas, there are no subtitles. I found no problem because the diction, even with the lowest ranking sailors, is quite clear; still some may find it problematic. With those two caveats, I still highly recommend this two disc, three-part drama series as one of the finest and most absorbing mini-series of any kind. The soundtrack is appropriately "English and sea-worthy" by Rob Lane who also composed for the current HBO's John Adams (HBO Miniseries) as well as the Emmy/Golden Globe Winning Elizabeth I starring Helen Mirren.
One final note: the part of the murdered Priest, the Rev Colley, is played by Daniel Evans, Olivier Winning stage actor who is currently on Broadway in Sunday in the Park With George (2006 London Revival Cast)."
Fascinating character study
G. Rene | Seattle, WA, USA | 04/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this movie to be a more accurate, and less romantic, depiction of life aboard ship in the days of sail. It was often brutal, extremely difficult, and for better or worse, captains had absolute power. Benedict Cumberbatch's performance was brilliant! I felt that he humanized a fairly unsympathetic character, and it was fascinating to watch him grow and learn. We tend to judge these people against our own time and culture, when we should be observing them as products of their own time and place. As such, I found all the characters endlessly interesting, and enjoyed following each of their personal journeys."
"To the Ends of the Earth"
nataldo | western Washington State | 10/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This four and a half hour series, produced for television by BBC, would be a great adventure experience for any viewer. Briefly, it is a saga of an 1814 voyage from England to Australia as seen from the point of view of a young English aristocrat who is embarking on a civil service career.
However, there is far more than a thriller at sea for reader's of William Golding's trilogy on which it is based...and for which Golding received a Nobel Prize for literature. The producers did a fine job of depicting young Edmund Talbot's growth from spoiled snob to humanitarian with a film that was mostly faithful to the novel. Casting was excellent--with a couple of exceptions-; and scenes of dramatic devlopment on a storm-tossed ship ranged from extreme tension to hilarity. The ending was undoubtedly adequate for the film-viewer only; but disappointing for lovers of the full message of the novel."
Compelling and Dramatic
Addison Dewitt | out there, in the dark | 11/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"(this is for the U.S. Format DVD, not available as of 11/5/06)
Found this 3 part film to be quite realistic and well-played. Costumes, sets and acting all top notch, but would we expect anything less from the Masterpiece folks?
At times I found myself alternately hating and loving the main character which speaks to his acting skills. The cramped horrible conditions of sea travel are so well-portrayed, I wanted to run outside after every episode and breathe in the fresh air. This is not a film for the claustrophobic.
Wished they would have added a few more long shots of the ship, most of the footage was close-ups of the vessel and interior shots which may or may not have been sets (we're still argueing about that here.)
Mysterious "ghost" appearances and the romantic interests (ranging from boyish frippery with the dames to hi-jinks, featuring off-camera buggery of the drunken parson by the scaliwags who populate the lower decks) would keep a wide range of audiences captivated.
Would have given 5 stars but for the heavily-accented dialogues of some of the mates which were barely intelligible and low-volume to my American ears. However, the work is still a highly enjoyable film for anyone who is interested in history, ocean travel, english drama and more."