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"Spartacus" - (Gods of the Arena)
Wayne Klein
Studio: Anchor Bay
Release Date:
Special Features:

See Below


Unapologetically violent and filled with plenty of nudity and gratuitious sex "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" will be an acquired taste for some action fans; "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" beats out just about anything I've seen on pay cable when it comes to extreme, well, EVERYTHING.***

Nevertheless, "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" is a fun gory ride. As most fans of "Spartacus" know "S:GOTA" began life as a prequel to allow time for the late star Andy Whitfield to recover from the lymphoma that tragically took his life at the age of 39. On its own merit "S:GOTA" isn't quite as good as "Spartacus" but it is a diverting six episode series.***

The main flaw with this set is the packaging. Both DVDs had glue on the edge of the discs that were actually in the playing area. The discs slip into cardboard holders which also tend to scratch the discs as well. Considering the care of the design of this set I'm kind of surprised at the shoddy storage for the discs themselves.***

Focusing on Batiatus (John Hannah from "The Mummy and "The Mummy Returns") and his wife Lucretia (Lucy Lawless from "Xena" and "Battlestar Galatica") two key characters from "Spartacus" who own slaves that fight in the games, the prequel follows their most promising gladiator Gannicus (Dustin Clare)who knocks down all opponents sometimes with just his fists. Batiatus wants to use Gannicus to expand his success. Gaia (Jaime Murray of "Dexter")a long time friend of Lucretia's helps the rise of House Batiatus but at what cost?***

If you haven't seen the first season of "Spartacus" there are some spoilers that appear from the end of that show at the beginning of this prequel.***

Image & Sound:

The show looks quite good with a nice, sharp transfer of the highly stylized series.***

Special Features:

DThe special features include "Starz Studios: Gods of the Arena" a making-of featurette with cast and crew discussing the challenges and fun in shooting the show. It doesn't overstay its welcome clocking in a a brisk 14 minutes.***

"Weapons of Mass Disruption" runs just under 3 minutes and gives us background on the weapons used in the arena for the series.***

"Battle Royale: Anatomy of a Scene" takes us behind-the-scenes for one of the best sequences in the series and how it was created.***

"On Set With Lucy Lawless" runs under seven minutesas we get a tour of the set with Lawless.***

"10 Easy Steps to Dismemberment" is pretty self explanatory and clocks in at a brisk 2 minutes.*** "Dressed to Kill" focuses on the costuming for the show.***

"Convention panel" is an edited down featurette featuring the cast and crew during their Comicon 2010 appearance. We also get a blooper featurette.***

"Post Production: The Final Execution" and "Enter the Arena: Production Design" are the two final featurettes giving us insight into the challanges the team faces putting together the final product and how the look of the show was designed.***

Final Words:

Over all I enjoyed "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" just be aware that it's 1) very bloody 2) full of sex scenes and nudity. It's still an entertaining series for adults and the episodes included on this are evidently extended episodes running longer than they did on "Starz!" (I never saw the series on that cable network so can't comment on what has been expanded here).***



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