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Rome the Complete Series Blu-ray Review - -

Feature 10
Video 9.0
Audio 9.0
Special Features 9.0
Total 9.5

Distributor: Warner
Running Time: 1103 mins
Reviewer: Howard Bourke
: R18+


Rome the Complete Series

HBO continue to create some outstanding TV series and thankfully they are not scared to try something different or break those clichéd network norms. Probably one of their most ambitious series to date was Rome, a historical war drama that featured authentic locations, stories and some extremely relatable and powerful characters.

Although the series was epic, the word cannot describe nor do justice to the detail and accuracy that has gone into the creating this series plus some of the wonderful performances by all involved, especially by two of the main protagonists, Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) who really shine in their roles.

The series begins in 52 B.C. as Gaius Julius Caesar's reign has become as turbulent as ever and the senate is divided as to whether he is a genius or insane. Although the series features some powerful historical characters such as Caesar, Octavian or Marc Anthony, the main characters are that of Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, two relatively lowly ranked soldiers in Caesar's 13th Legion. Best of all, the writers and directors have managed to link them with the powerful characters of this era and when they return from a lengthy battle away from Rome, they are shocked to find that city in turmoils.

Interestingly enough, both characters are like chalk and cheese with Vorenus a loyal family man, whereas Pullo is a hired goon who has a love of denarius and more specifically the company of ladies. The relationship between the two characters is quite turbulent at times but they make for the perfect protagonists in the series due to their two different views, however their friendship over years of fighting together has also become a loyal bond between them. Definitely the "Odd Couple" of the ancient world.

As the series progresses, both Vorenus and Pullo are caught in the assassination plot of Caesar as the lords and ladies of the senate ignite a deadly fire of politically intrigue that cannot be stopped. The series even goes into the almost incestuous relationships of those in power such as Servilla (Lindsay Duncan) who controls her son Brutus (Tobias Menzies) like a puppet or Atia (Polly Walker), Caesar's niece who is trying to find a suitable heir for her daughter Octavia (Kerry Condon) in a any means possible way. The crescendo in the first season are the conspiracies behind the assassination of Caesar and of course seeing Vorenus and Pullo's perspective on the repercussions and the civil war to come.

Season two of Rome moves to 44 B.C. and once again contains all the lust, intrigue and violence of the previous season and begins with the repercussions of the death of Caesar that is still being felt so many years later. Although the creators do take some artistic liberty in terms of historical accuracy, the colourful story just draws you in even more. As season one focused on Caesar and his "friends", season two fleshes out Marc Antony and Brutus a little better but our main protagonists are still Vorenus and Pullo and it's great to see the ancient world of Rome from their point of view.

Pullo is still the thug he was from the original series and even when he tried to go on the straight and narrow, he still fell back into his old ways. Whereas Vorenus who had a severe falling out with his family has rejoined the military as he follows Marc Anthony to Egypt. Old faces from the previous series who we all loved and hated once again return in series two such as Servilla, former lover of Caesar and instigator in his death and the now older Octavian. Octavian who was originally played by Max Pirkis and tutored by Pullo is now an adult and is played by Simon Woods who does a great interpretation of this Caesar to come. Marc Anthony also has his own battles to face, whether it's Cleopatra (Lyndsey Marshall) or the manipulating Atia, seeing all these plots and disasters unfolding is like watching a train wreck just waiting to happen but very addictive to watch.

Needless to say, Rome the Complete Series is an enthralling and probably one of the best series set in the ancient world that puts both Hollywood and mainstream TV to shame. Although some may consider the excessive violence and sex a little over the top, it actually suits this almost primordial story about lust, survival and power. Even with these almost godlike creatures controlling Rome, it's the more human faces such as Pullo attempting to save his friend Vorenus from his personal mourning that make this series so compelling to watch. The only unfortunate aspect of this collection is that Season 3 was cancelled by HBO due to high production costs and even more disturbing, a lack of viewers. Crucify the naysayers!

The only other way to get your fix for Rome are through the special features that include everything from documentaries to commentaries and some great behind the scenes featurettes. The content of special features is definitely up there with the best of them. Match that with high definition video and sound and the Blu-ray version of Rome the Complete Collection is a very impressive release that is worth every penny but will unfortunately have you craving more.

Long Live the legion and lustfully recommended!


Season 1
The Stolen Eagle
How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic
An Owl in a Thornbush
Stealing from Saturn
The Ram Has Touched the Wall
The Spoils
Kalends of February

Season 2
Son of Hades
These Being the Words of Marcus Tullius Cicero
Testudo et Lepus (The Tortoise and the Hare)
Heroes of the Republic
Death Mask
A Necessary Fiction
Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus (No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)
De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)

Special Features:
  • All Roads Lead to Rome - In-Depth Interactive On-Screen Guide prepared by the series' Historical Consultant Jonathan Stamp
  • Bloodlines - Interactive On-Screen Guide highlighting the connections between the soldiers, senate and families of Rome
  • Friends, Romans, Countrymen - introduction to the characters of Rome
  • The Rise of Rome - behind-the-scenes featurette
  • When in Rome - featurette on the culture of ancient Rome
  • 2 Shot x Shot featurettes
  • A Tale of Two Romes
  • The Making of Rome - Season II
  • The Rise of Octavian: Rome's First Emperor
  • Antony & Cleopatra
  • 13 revealing Audio Commentaries with Cast and Crew


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