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Image Entertainment presents
Terrorism: A World in Shadows (2005)

"Terrorism: A World In Shadows. A look at the many forms of political violence throughout the world."
- narrator

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: May 05, 2006

Director: Robert Kline

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (scenes of violence)
Run Time: 05h:35m:00s
Release Date: January 31, 2006
UPC: 014381206722
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- B-B-B- D-

DVD Review

If you're looking for a staggeringly downbeat series of programs as fresh as today's headlines, then the Terrorism: A World in Shadows will probably fulfill the need to have the will to live beaten out of you. Over the course of more than five hours, the good folks at Enduring Freedom Productions regurgitate news clips and archival footage into seven one-hour episodes, each centering a specialized subset of man's inhumanity towards man, whether it be terrorism based on ethnic revolutionists, religious factions, ideological anti-authority types, state-sponsored violence, or good old-fashioned genocide. And of course a three-disc set on terrorism wouldn't be complete without a look at the radical Islamic front, which is covered in Episode 7.

You may have caught an ep or two of this on The Discovery Channel, and in small, in-between-commercials doses a segment on Hizballah, the IRA, Khmer Rouge or the Sikh Independence Movement goes down like a bite-size snack of historical events, the kind you can watch while folding laundry under the auspices of learning something as opposed to watching a rerun of The Simpsons. But as a back-to-back-to-back block the gloom and doom gets rather oppressive, the footage often grim, and the message that well-armed nutjobs with their own deadly agendas have existed in nearly every corner of the globe doesn't do much to inspire any sense of security.

The title sequence presentation is little on the cheesy side—some of these were produced as early as 1990—and the tacky ever-present computer graphic spinning globe or the stylized transitional wipes get a little tired after a while. Even on the ep produced in 2005 (Islamic Terrorism) the goofy elements still show up, giving the series some graphical continuity, albeit one that makes it look a little low rent.

Presentation beefs aside, the material is depressingly engaging, at least in small chunks. I think it's safe to say that it is understandably impossible to get the entire scope of something as large as the Holocaust or the Taliban in a ten- or fifteen-minute window, but as a Cliff Notes version it hits most of the salient facts. Consider it a bullet point history lesson of the darkside.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: All episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The segments are made up of an assortment of archival and news footage (both black-and-white and color) and interviews, so understandably there is a variation in quality, but it all falls within an acceptable range for a television documentary series. This won't wow you, by any means, but the presentation is average without being great or awful.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The audio side is a standard issue 2.0 stereo track, one that delivers clear narration with no evidence of crackle or distortion.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 35 cues and remote access
Packaging: Nexpak
Picture Disc
3 Discs
3-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The three discs are housed in a thick NexPak case and it has the heft of book. No extras to be found, though the seven eps are cut into five chapters each.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

A grim primer on all that's wrong with mankind, divvied into seven separate episodes on three discs, covering all subsets of terrorism such as biological, religious, ethnic and Islamic flavors.

Not sure how this helps me at all, but it's interesting in a depressingly hopeless kind of way.


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