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Image Entertainment presents

Mystery of the Nile (Blu-ray) (2005)

"I admire efficient predators ... except when they're contemplating having me for lunch."- Gordon Brown (himself)

Stars: Pasquale Scaturro, Gordon Brown
Director: Jordi Llompart

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for Nothing objectionable
Run Time: 00h:47m:38s
Release Date: 2008-10-14
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+AA- B


DVD Review

There's something inherently cool about these IMAX productions. I'm not the most adventurous person alive and, as a result, I can't exactly say when I'll get the opportunity (or gumption) to take a trip down Ethiopia's Nile River. From that perspective, watching something like Mystery of the Nile is quite enough to satisfy an armchair dweller such as myself. It's not as if I don't have a desire to see the world, but once you see the amount of danger our intrepid explorers encounter literally around every corner, you might think twice about your desire to explore the Nile. In this case watching the Blu-ray might be good enough.

Especially engrossing about this title is the fact that it plays like like an exciting adventure film. The narrative gets behind a group of explorers as they attempt to navigate the entire length of the Nile river - the longest in existence - over 114 days. Along the way they encounter everything from raging rapids, angry crocodiles and hippos and bloodthirsty bandits. There's plenty of friendly natives along the way as well, but it's the danger that keeps you riveted here.

Clocking in at 47 minutes, I could've watched another two hours of this one. Not only is it exciting, but plenty educational as well. I've got a newfound respect for explorers such as this as I'm just not sure I'd be willing to content with bouts of malaria, fever and several physical hardships. Not only is this an enthralling piece about the Nile itself, but another gripping testament of the human spirit.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: It was with great curiosity that I took this Blu-ray for a spin. Image's forays into high definition have been inconsistent at best but, thankfully, their most recent titles appear to be up to par. Quite frankly, this title is a stunner on Blu-ray. From the crystal clear water to detailed landscapes and stark temple interiors this is an incredibly powerful transfer. Natural film grain is apparent, but there's no trace of edge enhancement to spoil the quality. In a beautifully blinding contrast with the vivid colors, black levels are rich and inky and really provide this disc with a gorgeous, textured image. Very well done, Image!

Image Transfer Grade: A

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
French, Spanishno

Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 DTS English-language track is another highlight here. Dialgoue is sharp and clear - mainly relegated to the front main speaker. The sound effects and music are set up to pop through the surround tracks and front left and right speakers. It's an excellent mix as the narration is never drowned out or reduced to second fiddle.

Audio Transfer Grade: A- 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
Packaging: standard Blu-ray packaging
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Multiple trivia tracks
  2. Weblinks
Extras Review: The supplemental material on this disc is largely front-loaded, but undeniably compelling. The Making Of (43m23s) is a lengthy piece which details all areas of the making of. We explore this movie's beginnings (finding an experienced leader to head such an expedition) and incredible tribulations: like repelling tons of camera equipment down a massive waterfall face. The aftermath of the trip is also detailed, like our expedition leader's trip to a clinic to get his ailing foot injury taken care of. In shot, all-encompassing and nearly as interesting as the film. There isn't much else on the disc worth your time, but this documentary more than makes up for it. Recommended.

We get two trivia tracks, a weblink page and a resume-sheet detailing the experience of the producers. Nothing terribly noteworthy or memorable.

Extras Grade: B

Final Comments

An adventure so rich that you'd expect Lara Croft to come tomb raiding by at any second, Image's Blu-ray release is a must see for any interested parties. A real treat for your high definition home theaters, this is an attractive little release that falls just below reference quality - but worth your time nonetheless.

Matt Serafini 2009-01-23