Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
A magnificent series.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The DVDs faithfully reproduce the videotapes; I see complaints about the quality of the transfer as unjustified. One would think from reading the other reviews that the DVDs are somehow technically defective; this isn't the case. They don't improve on the original footage, but who reasonably expects them to do that?This is a fascinating documentary series, covering a retracement of the Silk Road from east to west, as recorded by NHK over the course of several years, beginning in 1979. This set contains the first dozen episodes, part I of the series (Boxed Set 1 and Boxed Set 2, which is not to be confused with Silk Road II, the final 18 episodes). It begins in Chang-An and ends in the Pamirs. Part II, alas, doesn't seem to have made it to DVD; that covers the journey from Central Asia to Rome.Titles of the episodes in this set are:
The Glories of Ancient Chang-An
A Thousand Kilometers Beyond the Yellow River
The Art Gallery in the Desert
The Dark Castle
In Search of the Kingdom of Lou-Lan
Across the Taklamakan Desert
Khotan -- Oasis of Silk and Jade
A Heat Wave Called Turfan
Through the Tian Shan Mountains by Rail
Journey into Music -- South Through the Tian Shan Mountains
Where Horses Fly Like the Wind
Two Roads to the Pamirs"
Content 5 stars--video 3 stars
M.R. | San Francisco, CA | 11/03/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having watched this entire set, I can say that the quality of the content outweighs any qualms about sound or video quality. Yes, the picture looks more like an old VHS tape than a new DVD, but it's not THAT bad. I found it it didn't get in the way of enjoying one of the best documentaries ever made. Bottom line: if you're picky--make that super picky--about video quality, avoid this. If, however, you are really interested in an excellent documentary on the Silk Road, then take the plunge. You won't be disappointed."
Good, but outdated...
Gary Johnston | USA | 05/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary is good given the time at which it was made, and given the fact it was probably the only one of its kind back then. For those who are interested, I compared this to the Marco Polo Trilogy by Monarex, which I also bought and found the following-
FOOTAGE: The Marco Polo Trilogy has better footage altogether, but the Silk Road Collection does have its fair share of interesting shots too. Definitely not a horse falling 50 feet from a bridge into a turbulent river and somehow surviving unscathed, but interesting. Silk Road Collection pulls a lot of its content from old Chinese television footage and pieces it together, which is fairly similar to how Marco Polo was made. Marco Polo is just a newer version with better camera work and much higher quality video - the government had commissioned a lot of new video archiving ever since the late 90's.
LENGTH: The difference in length between the two is significant (Silk Road Collection being 630 minutes compared to Marco's 270) but unless you have a need for in obscene amount of footage I think that you would be very pleased with the concise, but not too concise, nature of the Monarex trilogy. Not to mention, Monarex has a fourth film about the Silk Road (Secrets of the Silk Road) which is not a part of the Trilogy, but might as well be given its subject matter. So assume if you buy those four together, you have 360 minutes.
CONTENT: The Silk Road Collection is a collection of episodes, each covering its own little topic given the information at hand (which wasn't very much back in the late 70's). The Marco Polo Trilogy and Secrets of the Silk Road are definitely broader in spectrum, which can be both positive and negative. The interesting aspect is that even though they are broader, they still provide more details given many recent discoveries in China since the 70's and 80's, not to mention the release of information from the government itself. So even in its generality, I found that the Marco Polos gave a wide array of new information not found in the Silk Road Collection.
CONCLUSION: The Silk Road Collection is like a full blown Greek Dictionary, where the Marco Polo Trilogy is like a book of Commonly Used Greek Phrases. Personally, I enjoy the Marco Polo version more because I am not looking for the smaller details regarding the Silk Road. I wanted a great overview and got it with the Marco Polos. If you are a professor about to teach a course on the Silk Road, I would recommend BOTH. Watch Marco Polo first, then Silk Road Collection. If you are like me and looking to build your knowledge because you are interested and would like to be further educated on the "Sleeping Giant", Marco Polo all the way.
Marco Polo's Shangri-La
Marco Polo's Silk Road
Marco Polo's Roof of the World"
Beware - Poor dvd video quality
Gary Johnston | 04/23/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD suffers from very poor video quality. It doesn't look like they made any serious effort during the transfer to DVD. Unlike in other well produced DVDs, you can actually see very annoying and noticeable pixelations in this documentary. It is reminiscent of the highly-compressed MPEG video clips you can download over the web. If anyone has ever seen how such video clips appear when they are enlarged to full-screen view, then they have a good idea of the type of video quality to expect from this DVD. Yes, it is nearly that bad! The listed retail price for this DVD is VERY excessive considering the lack of effort they put in encoding the video to DVD format. What a shame since the documentary in other respects is very interesting and educational. The firm (Central Park Media) that produced this DVD owes an explanation to its customers as to why it produced such a poor-quality product. The NHK studio that originally filmed the documentary also owe an explanation for why it allowed its licensee (i.e., Central Park Media) to sell such a sloppily-produced DVD.... Potential customers await your explanations. As for myself, I will not be buying any other DVDs produced by Central Park Media. I feel I've been ripped off."