Directed by John Howard Davies | 900 minutes | drama, war | Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Morag Hood, Alan Dobie, Angela Down, Sylvester Morand, Joanna David, Rupert Davies, Faith Brook, Anthony Jacobs, Frank Middlemass, David Swift, Colin Baker, Fiona Gaunt, Donald Douglas, Neil Stacy, Anne Blake, Gary Watson, Donald Burton, Basil Henson, Harry Locke, Athene Fielding, Alison Frazer
Leisure management has never been easier than it is now, as a movie fanatic you will never get bored again. Nowadays even the most obscure TV series or film is released on DVD, always nice of course to bring back old childhood memories. In addition to cult material, some more famous work from a bygone era will of course also be rediscovered. This also applies to the BBC series “War & Peace”. Film distributor Just Entertainment will delight many people with the release of a luxury box containing the much-loved British classic series. The set consists of five robust DVDs, each with a playing time of three hours, covering a total of fifteen hours.
“War & Peace” is based on the masterpiece of the same name by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. Although the series is almost a quarter of a century old, many people are still devoted to the now elderly series. This is understandable, because the TV adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel exudes style and class. “War & Peace” shows the worries of the aristocratic Rostovs, a Russian family. But the war with Napoleon is also discussed. The series not only shows a part of Russian history, the series also gives you a glimpse into the lives of various (high-ranking) Russians. That money does not make you happy is once again evident from the lives of these people. Every character has his or her problems that cannot be solved with money. Heartbreak, depression and self-hatred are some of the things that the elite club walks around with. Especially Pierre (Hopkins) does not know what to do with his life. His wife cheats on him and her lover publicly insults Pierre.
“War & Peace” is an ambitious project. The BBC has allocated more than nine hours to portray the worries of the Rostovs and their circle of friends. The production can count on an impressive cast with resounding names like Hopkins, Davies and Hood, so the cast is good. Yet “War & Peace” is a series that is not very accessible to newcomers. The reason? Age. Everything about this BBC series is quite dated. For example, the tempo of the series is quite slow by contemporary standards. It takes at least ninety minutes before the worries of Pierre and the Rostovs really get going. Even after seeing two discs, the speed sometimes slows down. You will regularly see some boring dance scenes that last just a little too long. Fortunately, the solid acting makes up for the lesser moments. Nevertheless, the somewhat younger viewer who is used to flashy edited series such as “Rome” will regularly have to persevere to keep the attention.
Not only is “War & Peace” outdated in terms of speed, the series also has to lose out visually against modern series. Although “War & Peace” was the most expensive series ever made in “72, you can’t tell. The costumes look nice, but the colors are just a bit too seventies, lots of brown and green colors with a little too bright shades in them. The fight scenes are impressive because of the amount of extras on screen, but as soon as there is actual fighting, the boring, poorly choreographed action stands out. It is no longer of this time to see soldiers pushing and pulling. “War & Peace” is a classic series that has been put together with a lot of love. Unfortunately, the test of time has done little good to the series. By modern standards, the film is too old-fashioned to captivate MTV viewers. For anyone who does not like the hectic video clip style of today, the calm construction of “War & Peace” is a relief.