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The Last Kingdom: Staffel 02 / Amaray Blu-ray – 19 January 2018
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- ASIN : B07923JSB9
- Publisher : Capelight Pictures (19 January 2018)
- Language : English, German
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Ten out of Ten...
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The acting and production are first class and completely believable. Alexander Dreymon brings Uhtred's very complex character brilliantly to life. Real edge of the seat viewing, you feel as if you are there with them, afraid to see what is going to happen next but not wanting to miss it all the same! Can't wait for the BBC to bring us Series 3 as soon as possible please!
A big mistake on their part. How will they cope without his support? Cue for much violence, fierce battles, not to mention most bloody revenge on enemies since childhood.
A fascinating glimpse into a brutal time, it rendered more so by such opposing beliefs and lifestyles, Uhtred unique in understanding both. Alexander Dreyman excels in the role, as does David Dawson as the king straitjacketed by Godliness. Indeed the series abounds with fine performances, no character one-dimensional.
Ten hour long episodes. Two fine bonuses. Curiously "The Story So Far" appears on the final disc. Really it needs to be watched before anything else, an excellent jog to the memory. The interesting second feature tells how the second season was made. Incredibly just one site contained impressive recreations of four cities.
Certainly not for the squeamish. Like so many others, I found it all great.
As with Season 1, we watched the original BBC series, and it looked good on TV. Watching it on these discs in 1080i HD Widescreen, the image is even better. The pictures are bright, the detail crystal clear, and the colours are rich. The sound too is excellent. This is another really superior product.
We very much enjoyed both the TV series. I have also now read a number of the Bernard Cornwell books about Ealdorman Uhtred of Bebbanburg, King Alfred, the Danish Vikings and the birth of Anglo-Saxon England as a nation. This is a fascinating and seminal period in our history, and Cornwell’s stories make a wonderful introduction. The fine detail is fiction, but he has researched the period and the real characters exhaustively. Whilst Uhtred is largely fictitious, King Alfred, his family and senior nobles in Wessex and Mercia (such as Ealdorman Odda and Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians) all existed. Many of the Danes challenging Alfred’s rule, including the brothers Eric and Sigefrid, were also real people. The major incidents described ~ the disputes, alliances, marriages and battles ~ all happened. Cornwell has sought to portray everything accurately, subject only to the necessities of his plot.
The series is obviously designed primarily to entertain, rather than to educate. Nevertheless, the lives of the Anglo-Saxons and of the Danes, both the elite and the peasantry, is well illustrated. We get a clear picture of how people lived and made a living, their homes, clothes, food, literacy, beliefs and religion. The impression is overwhelmingly authentic, the filming and production values superb. Life, even for the wealthy, was, by our standards, basic, and in a land where war or lesser incursions were virtually constant, it was often brutal. This is really well-realised in this series. We are left in no doubt as to the risks everyone faced, and of the stakes being played for here, by Alfred and by the Danes. There is also a good balance achieved, between interesting storyline, attractive fiction and ferocious fighting. The dialogue is punchy, colourful, often witty, and the action motors along. There is something here for everyone, as long as you have no aversion to TV gore!
As with most adaptations of well-known and well-loved books, plot changes have been made in the screenplay. Inevitably, the complex and intricate book plots have been compressed and simplified. Someone is always going to be unhappy with the result, but this is the reality of bringing fiction to the screen, large or small. Despite the changes, the real flavour, originality and character of Cornwell’s books is here, in glorious colour.
So, yet another superb, exciting, high-octane drama, told with panache. As with Season 1, we absolutely loved it.
Once again, one of the best features is the characterisation. Alexander Dreymon (Uthred) and David Dayson (King Alfred) are just as excellent as in the first season. My favourites however, remain the Dane characters, both those we have already seen during the first episodes (Ragnar Ragnarson and Kjartan being my top favourites) and the two brothers Eirik and Sigefrid. Also good is the performance put on by the actor playing the role of the weak, spineless, envious treacherous Gotfrid, the Christian Dane and puppet king of York put in place by Uthred, whom he betrays. The female characters – that of Hild, the former nun turned warrior and of Gisela, sister of Gotfrid and who becomes Uthred’s wife in particular – are just as good. One minor disappointment for me was the character of Heasten, who seems to be loosely inspired by the historical Viking warlord Hasting. His importance has been considerably toned down, even when compared to the novel, in order to make the brothers more prominent.
While Season 2 keeps the rather impossible love story between Eirik and his captive, and it dramatic ending, the scene portraying Sigefrid’s maiming by Uther is quite deliberately different. This is perhaps one the main adaptations and differences from the novel. It is, of course, quite deliberate, since it allows a battle-enraged Sigfrid to lead the Second Great Army, fight at the head of his warriors and become berserk in pure Viking way. Needless to say, the visuals are quite stunning and effective. Another area of adaptations - I believe - are some of the features surrounding the demises of Kjartan and of his son. In both cases, however, they are mostly successful with a tendency to emphasise gore even more than in the novel.
Another great five star effort.