Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere|
Actors: Gary Bakewell, Laura Fraser, Hywel Bennett, Clive Russell, Paterson Joseph
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television
Studio: A&e Home Video Release Date: 09/09/2003 Run time: 180 minutes Rating: Nr
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Chris B | Seattle, WA | 09/26/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Neverwhere isn't a great work of television. In fact, it's not especially good. The effects are decidedly second-rate, the acting is occasionally hammy, the camera work borders on the amateurish and many of the details used in the novel are sacrificed to fit the constraints of episodic story telling, which means the story can feel thin at parts. In other words, this is a bad introduction to Gaiman's work that looks like a particularly cheesy episode of Doctor Who.But that doesn't mean that Neverwhere is bad. The show itself is actually kind of fun to watch if you don't have the highest expectations and, yes, expect a cheesy episode of Doctor Who. There are also some particularly good acting bits (Croup, Vandemar and de Carabas particularly) and I'd almost say that the DVD pays itself off for Dave McKean's credit sequences.Beyond that, of course, is the commentary by Neil Gaiman, where he describes the joys and trials of making it, pointing out trivia, explaining which characters worked for his imaginings and which didn't. Also occasionally simply watching a scene in quiet enjoyment. Fascinating stuff.This isn't easy to recommend to anyone beyond fans of Gaiman's work, and even then you have to be willing to overlook a lot a lot of failings. Despite that, though, and because of the commentary and other extras, I have to say that this is a good buy for fans of Neil Gaiman and anyone willing to ignore cheesy effects for, what remains despite the Great Cow of London, a good story."
Mind the gap, get on board
Flipper Campbell | Miami Florida | 10/20/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of "Dr. Who" will feel right at home in "Neverwhere," with its fantastic story line, low-budget look and creaky acting. But "Who" haters will find more of an adult appeal to Neil Gaiman's darkly comic tale, which also brings to mind "The Prisoner," "Clockwork Orange" and, say, "Yellow Submarine." "Neverwhere" wastes no time in hooking viewers, and maintains its loopy appeal over the course of six episodes."Neverwhere" imagines a grimy fantasy world beneath modern London that's unknown and off-limits to those who live above. The homeless who inhabit London Below seem to hail from an unspecified time several centuries back, with their own olde English mythologies, rivalries and rulers. Viewers enter their world along with the mini's hero, a yuppie exec (Gary Bakewell of "Backbeat") who falls down the "Neverwhere" rabbit hole while helping a damsel in distress. Video is just passable -- the BBC apparently backed out on the plan to process the taped mini as film, foiling director Dewi Humphreys' lighting scheme. Still, the images are a big improvement over the grainy bootleg tapes that have been circulating on eBay. Audio is surprisingly effective now and then. Gaiman has his say in a BBC interview from 1996 and in a commentary that runs the length of the miniseries. He tells how he got art-rock legend Brian Eno to do the score for pennies and how he snuck in a cameo in graphic-novel artist Dave McKean's astounding opening titles."
Neverwhere is finally on DVD!
Itamar Katz | Ramat-Gan, Israel | 08/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After seven years, Neverwhere is finally available on DVD, and can be found on major shopping sites like Amazon. I'm sure many of you heard of it, but much fewer have seen it. This fascinating 1996 BBC mini-series was created by Mr. Neil Gaiman, accomplished and acclaimed author of American Gods, Coraline and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett) among others, and co-written by Gaiman and the wonderful British comedian Lenny Henry. Gaiman fans such as myself have waited for quite some time to see this series introduced to American audiences - and since Gaiman is now finally breaking ground in the States (American Gods actually won the Hugo award, and was an international bestseller) this seems like the perfect time. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a video of the series a couple of years back, but those are quite rare. If you love Neil's work, take the chance to finally see this lovely piece of work.Neverwhere is a highly imaginative story of urban legend, rich with Gaiman's special brand of British black humor. The script is really wonderful, and Henry helps with his own experience in screenplay writing. Acting is terrific by everyone involved - I loved Gary Bakewell (frequent Paul McCartney impersonator on various BBC tele-biographies) as Richard Mayhew, the ordinary Englishman drawn into a strange adventure underground, and many other accomplished British actors - such as Laura Fraser, Trevor Peacock, Freddie Jones and Peter Capaldi - give a great performance. Unfortunately, the series suffers from the same problems shared by most British TV series - a budget lower than that of one episode of `Dharma and Greg'. Therefore, the scenery, though highly inventive and original, doesn't look very impressive. Dewi Humphreys directs like he would direct a soap opera or a murder mystery, and though the directing of the dialogue is flawless, the action scenes are immensely disappointing, especially the `Beast of England' battle, which is incredibly unconvincing.Despite these weaknesses, though, the series is still well worth watching, especially if you're fond of the genre, and also if you're fond of British television. A word on two great artists who contributed much to the series: Dave McKean, for one, the great artist who collaborated with Gaiman in works like `The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch', `Black Orchid' and Coraline, created an astounding opening sequence to every episode, which is a fascinating piece of work by itself; if you enjoy his work on such graphic novels as Arkham Asylum, Cages and his covers for Neil's Sandman series, the DVD is worth it just for this one sequence. Secondly, the brilliant Mr. Brian Eno, the inventor of Ambient music and musical collaborator of the likes of David Byrne, David Bowie and Robert Fripp, supplies the wonderful score to the series, very eerie and atmospheric synthesized music. Thank god for that, because without him we'd probably have basic British TV music, which tends to be quite awful - and Eno's sound really adds a lot to the atmosphere of the story.It's important that, if you read and enjoyed the novel Neverwhere, you won't approach this series expecting Hollywood - or even modern American television - production values, because you'll be disappointed. A movie version of this nature, in collaboration with Jim Henson co, has been in talks for some time, but it doesn't seem very likely. If fantasy films are to you special effects and big battle scenes, you probably won't be impressed by Neverwhere. If you love fantasy literature, though, and especially Gaiman's work, you'll find Neverwhere highly rewarding. It's very entertaining, and very imaginative. And in the end, imagination is what fantasy is all about. Isn't it?"
The Birth of Neverwhere
Flipper Campbell | 11/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don't be fooled by those who complain that this BBC series isn't a worthwhile adaptation of the novel. The book that many love so dearly would not exist if not for this series.Mr. Gaiman actually wrote the teleplay for this series FIRST. He then turned it into a novel afterwards. So if you're a purist, perhaps you should truly watch this before you read the book.As for the DVD: it seems to be mostly shot on video, so it definitely has that Dr. Who feel to it. Book lovers will want to check out the Neil Gaiman interview included with the DVD extras.Overall, once you accept the fact that there quite obviously wasn't a multi-million dollar budget, and let go of your (unintentional, I'm sure) Hollywood elitist ideals, you'll find yourself carried off into an alternative fantasy world... and you just might have a good time."