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July 2010

Expedition Africa: Stanley and Livingstone

featuring: Benedict Allen, Mireya Mayor, Pasquale Scaturro, and Kevin Sites

420 minutes (E) 2009
widescreen ratio 16:9
Go Entertain / History Channel blu-ray region B retail

RATING: 1/10
review by William N. Dyer

Expedition Africa: Stanley & Livingstone

This is a reality TV show that might be considered a cut above the average and it could have been through the cinematography of Africa but it failed, convincingly. The premise is that four 'explorers' retrace the epic journey of Stanley in his search to find Livingstone.

The journey is compromised from the get go when they decide not to follow the full same route, skipping populated areas (because people might get in the way) or to divert to a more photogenic or challenging route to give us more action.

From the second episode on the first five to ten minutes are spent covering what's gone before and this becomes very tedious on a blue-ray disc when you're viewing the episodes in quick succession.

From an organisation such as the History Channel, I would have expected something that displayed more integrity as a piece of work rather than pandering to some false view of the attention span and mental capabilities of the audience.

The false dramas set up among the four white protagonists could only help to engender in the local population that the white man is anything but superior. It's juvenile and pedestrian, to say the least.

This should have been a wonderful visual experience that captured the essence of Africa and its magnetic appeal to the 19th century European explorer and adventurer.

Disc extras: six featurettes drawing heavily on the footage shot for the series.



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