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6 Degrees Entertainment

'1066: The Battle for Middle Earth'
(Kate Ambler, Tim Plester, Katrine Bach, Mike Bailey, Søren Byder, Anthony Debaeck, et al / DVD / NR / 2015 / BBC America)

Overview: Narrated by Ian Holm (The Hobbit), starring Francis Magee (King of Thrones) and Tim Plester (Kick Ass), In this epic roller-coaster adventure of invasion and resistance that changed Europe forever, you'll feel the panic of ordinary villagers caught in the crosshairs of the Norman Conquest.

DVD Verdict: In '1066: The Battle for Middle Earth,' We see the grim realities of warfare in the purported "dark ages", and some of the pillaging that was characteristic of the period; but little else. The idea here being that since this show is aimed at men, and men like to see violence (and some sex), this film will therefore show lots of sword play violence, and some sex.

The truth about the battle of Hastings is that both sides slugged it out on the lower grade of the hill, broke for lunch, then had at it again. The Norman forces feinted back, the English charged, and were defeated. The battle depicted in the film shows the tactics being somewhat more complex.

The one thing I really like about this TV mini series are the explanations of Tolkien's inspiration for his own "Middle Earth" saga. The explanation of terms is interesting and adds something to the piece. The acting is what it is, good and passable. No one gives a bad performance. But the material the actors have to work with is a bit spartan. We essentially see a kill or be killed plot line, with little else operating as a story mechanism. That's too bad.

The props are okay. The armor worn by the actors looks like the stuff you can buy off any medieval website, and I'm sure that's not too far off the mark. The cloths seem authentic, but don't feel authentic. This is, after-all, the dark ages, and the machine clean linens and overall look to the film seems a bit out of place. Most of the money seems to have gone into staging the battle sequences, and putting sword fighting onto the screen. Again, perhaps there could have been a bit more as to how and why the battle of Hastings was fought. But perhaps that's a job for another production. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.