Review of "Marco Polo: The Complete First Season" From The TV MegaSite
 

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Marco Polo: The Complete First Season DVD cover

 

Marco Polo: The Complete First Season
 

 Review by Suzanne Lanoue 12/10/15

I really enjoyed this DVD, and a lot more than I thought I would. I enjoy historical miniseries. I grew up watching them on TV back in the 70's. They were not nearly as good back then because production values, story-telling etc. have changed greatly in the past 40 years. Now audiences expect more realism in their movies and shows, and faster stories, and better special effects, and more authentic costuming etc.  They were enjoyable for us at the time, and that's all that mattered. Anyway, the point is that I've never really cared all that much about learning real history, but I do love a good fictional historical TV show or novel.

This one is done very well. The acting, directing, and writing is all very good.  The martial arts and special effects are really good. It's a highly entertaining story, and a lot of it is based on real life events and people. The actor who plays Marco (Lorenzo Richelmy) is very handsome and also a really good actor. The entire cast does a great job, but of particular note is Benedict Wong as Kublai Khan, and Chin Han as Chancellor Sidao. Both of these characters are awful, terrible people, but their portrayers let you see all sides of them.

What is really striking to me is that the writing gets you rooting for the side of the mongols (led by Khan), even though they are the invading force. Khan is trying to rule the world, and he wants to take over the rest of China, starting with his walled city ruled by the last of the Song Dynasty.  Even though Sidao is also a terrible person, he is in the right here in defending the city (even though the Emperor, before he died, really just wanted peace--Sidao is a bit of a warmonger). 

Anyway, don't think too deeply about it, but just sit back and enjoy it because it's a very fun and entertaining story. It does have nudity and sex, so it's not for kids.  I wish they would release a version on broadcast TV that cuts that stuff out because I know the teenaged me back in the 70's would have loved to have watched it. I think anyone of any age would enjoy it if they took out the nudity and sex. I have nothing against those things, but it does limit the audience to adults. There's some violence they should cut out as well.

If you're an adult, you should really enjoy it. I liked it so much that I binged-watched it in two days and even watched all of the features (and there are SO MANY!). I found that "The Marco Polo Documentary" is very educational and enjoyable as well. All of the many features are great, but that's the one I appreciated the most. It tells you about the story and how it went in real life.

I think most Americans don't pay that closely to history, so that we think that Marco Polo is just some explorer that brought pasta from China to Italy (or worse, we just think of the children's water game).  He was so much more than that. Or we hear the name "Xanadu" and only think of the Olivia Newton-John song.  This story is not just about the explorer but about this particular time and place back in the 1200's with the grandson of Genghis Khan. It's fascinating.

I can't wait for the second season. It returns in July of 2016. That seems so far away. Make sure you buy this DVD or watch it on Netflix!

MORE INFO:

MARCO POLO

Complete First Season Available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD December 15
 BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company are proud to announce the season one home entertainment release of the gripping Netflix drama, MARCO POLO. Featuring over an hour of never-before-seen special features including The Marco Polo Documentary, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Fight Scene Rehearsals and more, MARCO POLO will be available on Blu-ray™ and DVD from Anchor Bay and Digital HD from Starz Digital on December 15, 2015.
 
This epic adventure follows a young Marco Polo, who finds himself in the court of the great Kublai Khan and must navigate a world of greed, betrayal and sexual intrigue as the Mongol leader wages a bloody campaign to become Emperor of the World.
 
Re-creating the legendary explorer’s 13th century exploits in the Far East, this historical drama chronicles the intrigues, duplicity and greed running rampant in the court of the Mongolian ruler Khan. 
 
The complete first season of MARCO POLO has a running time of 547 minutes, is not rated, and stars Lorenzo Richelmy (Sotto Una Buona, La Terra e Il Vento), Benedict Wong (The Martian, Prometheus), Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas, The Man with the Iron Fist), Remy Hii (Kiss, Treading Water) Olivia Cheng (Assault on Wall Street) and Joan Chen (Lust, Caution) from creator John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom, Hidalgo).
 
ABOUT ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT
 
Anchor Bay Entertainment is a leading independent home entertainment company celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015. Anchor Bay acquires and releases a wide array of filmed entertainment in the theatrical and home entertainment markets, including STARZ Original series, children's entertainment, fitness (Anchor Bay Fitness), sports and specialty films on Blu-ray™ and DVD formats. The company has long-term distribution agreements in place for select programming with The Weinstein Company, AMC Networks and RADiUS, among others. Headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA, Anchor Bay Entertainment (
www.anchorbayentertainment.com) is a full service distributor in the North American market. Anchor Bay Entertainment is a Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) business, www.starz.com.
 
ABOUT THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
 
The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein. During Harvey and Bob’s tenure at Miramax and TWC, they have received 341 Oscar nominations and won 81 Academy Awards.
 
Since 2005, TWC and Dimension Films have released such films as VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA; THE READER; INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS; SCRE4M; SPY KIDS: THE KING’S SPEECH; UNDEFEATED; THE ARTIST; THE MASTER; SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK; DJANGO UNCHAINED; SCARY MOVIE 5; LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER; PHILOMENA; THE IMITATION GAME; PADDINGTON; WOMAN IN GOLD and SOUTHPAW. Upcoming releases include BURNT, CAROL and THE HATEFUL EIGHT.
TWC boasts an active television production division which garnered twelve Emmy nominations in 2015. TWC Television produces the reality powerhouse Project Runway, with its spin-off series Project Runway All Stars, Under The Gunn, and Threads. Scripted series include John Fusco's Marco Polo with Netflix, going into its second season.  Other recent TWC television productions include Mob Wives, Million Dollar ShoppersRodeo Girls, Cement Heads and Trailer Park: Welcome to Myrtle Manor. Scripted projects in development include War & Peace, Ten Commandments and Daniel Stashower’s The Hour Of Peril.  TWC also developed Nanny Diaries and produced The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

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