Acorn Media // 2008 // 55 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 7th, 2010
A stunning aerial tour of the ancient land.
Previously unveiled on public television, Visions of Israel provides an exhaustive, beautiful helicopter tour of nearly all corners of the Jewish state. Narrated by Itzhak Perlman, an Israeli-American violinist, the feature leaves very few pieces of Israel real estate unexplored. You'll get all the heavy-hitter tourist attractions (The Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the JFK Memorial, the Dead Sea) and some locales that may not appear on postcards.
As the landscape is panned over, Perlman mixes in commentary that touches on the deep history, the rich culture and the volatile political climate that is so closely connected to the region. And no matter which of the big three religions you subscribe to -- Judaism, Islam or Christianity -- there will be some major historical site that gets attention from the documentary.
All of this material is presented in a gorgeous video transfer. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer represents a top-shelf effort in digital rendering, breathing high-res, color-filled life into the multitude of vistas. From the bright lights and modernity of Tel Aviv to the almost extraterrestrial make-up of the Dead Sea, the pictures captured by these guys' helicopters jump out from the screen. This is seriously one of the finer DVD pictures I've seen in some time, striking only a few degrees south of high-def quality.
The 2.0 stereo mix is laid-back, but aside from the narration and the ambient music, the audio doesn't need to do as much heavy-lifting as the video in this production. Visions of Israel is just that: visions.
Twenty-five minutes of bonus footage accompanies the feature in the extras section, bringing you nearly 80 minutes worth of aerial goodness.
Not Guilty. You can't ask for a more sweeping look at the grandeur of the
Holy Land. Second only to being there, of course.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Acorn Media
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 55 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Footage