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The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey ( The Navigator ) [DVD]

Bruce Lyons , Chris Haywood , Vincent Ward    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 25.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Bruce Lyons, Chris Haywood, Hamish McFarlane, Marshall Napier, Noel Appleby
  • Directors: Vincent Ward
  • Writers: Vincent Ward, Geoff Chapple, Kely Lyons
  • Producers: Gary Hannam, John Maynard
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: AV Channel
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Jan 2005
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000CCRA0Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,958 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Australia released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: This Australian fantasy stars Hamish McFarlane as a young 14th Century boy with acute psychic powers. During the period of the Black Death, Hamish believes that he can rescue his fellow villagers by leading them into an abandoned mine. The fugitives tunnel their way through the darkness and emerge on the other side--into a bustling New Zealand metropolis in the year 1988. The phenomenon is seen from the point of view of the 'aliens,' to whom every modern convenience and invention is a miracle comparable to the Resurrection. The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey successfully creates and sustains its own logic, framing the story in the linear form of an ancient legend, and never treating the bedazzled time-travellers in a condescending manner. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: Australian Film Institute, Cannes Film Festival, Fantasporto Awards, ...The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey ( The Navigator ) ( The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey )

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars navigator 23 Sep 2009
No, not the film staring brad pitt but one with a cast of a majority of unknowns.
I first saw this film on a late night tv arts channel and it struck a chord then, now having it on dvd I have watched it twice within a few days.
Made at a time when the AIDS epidemic was receiving constant media attention the parallels to that and the plague in the film are obvious but nothing detracts from telling the story.
Starting off in Britain during the Plague the film follows a journey to 'deliver' a cross for fixing to a church steeple. The journey is both physical and one through time as it ends up in present day New Zealand (or as it was when the film was made).
It may sound far-fetched but it is not science fiction it is an intellegent story that really works on all levels.
I thoroughly recommend this film and will be watching it again myself before too long.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More admirable than engaging 22 Dec 2007
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Vincent Ward is one of those directors who make films that are easier to admire than to enjoy. The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey is an excellent example - striking visuals, harsh landscapes, painful accents that make key plot points incomprehensible and a big idea that doesn't work quite as well as you'd like it to. Kicking off in a harsh black and white Cumbria in the early 14th century, an isolated village is persuaded by a boy's visions that the only way to keep the plague out of their village is to tunnel to the other side of the world and erect a cross on the great church tower before dawn - only to find themselves in God's city (or New Zealand circa 1988 to us), a world of colour and lights crippled by its own plagues, redundancy, nuclear proliferation and AIDS. Blinded by television and information overload, the boy loses his ability to see beyond the knowledge that one of them will die in the attempt... There are a lot of pluses, not least the great faces in the cast, many of which look like they've literally stepped out of a Renaissance painting, but it never really engages as much as you'd like, leaving you an almost disinterested observer.

The Australian DVD is much better than the shoddy NTSC release - the Australian DVD boasts a superb anamorphic widescreen transfer, trailer and trailers for Ward's Vigil and What Dreams May Come.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Award winning film 23 Nov 2004
I saw this film at the cinema in Sydney, Australia where it won awards. It was strange that it was popular there as we english had to translate the strong 'medieval' Cumbrian/Northunbrian accents for the aussies. It is a work of art, filmed in New Zealand and has a fab twist at the end. They fear plague and see it as an evil not realising that as they flee back to the safety of their village they are taking the plague back with them. One main actor is a young boy and he really good. It sounds too fantastic that they arrive in the modern-day world and see cars (dragons) and televisions but it works well. The shame is that the only format available seems to be the American one so make sure you have the right equipment to watch it if you order this DVD.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange fruit 27 Feb 2009
A real oddity this; a film that follows the fortunes of a group of Fourteenth Century Cumbrian villagers as they embark upon a quest to tunnel through the Earth in search of a church upon which they can erect a bronze cross. They hope that if they achieve this feat before dawn their village will be spared a visitation from the Black Death, which is sweeping through the land.

A young boy, Griffin, leads this expedition, as it is his visions that have convinced the village to act. His 'second-sight' provides vivid dreams of the church and the cross, and also of a strange land. After a seemingly brief amount of tunneling the travellers find themselves in New Zealand in the present day (1988), and the film becomes more surreal as they encounter all the phenomena of the modern age - cars that seem like dragons, huge highways that appear impossible to cross, and various other aspect of technology, that seem to the ignorant and superstitious Cumbrians to be witchcraft.

Acclaimed Kiwi director Vincent Ward has crafted a quirky, enigmatic and at times completely bonkers film; his use of black and white for the sequences in the village give the film an intensity that lifts it from the mundane. Unfortunately, the weak perfomances from the cast of unknowns coupled with the film's confusing and meandering middle section, undermine the plus points and left me feeling quite bemused by the whole thing. There are moments of dark humour and pathos, but overall this is a film that is curiously unsatisfying.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing, thought-provoking experience 5 Dec 2002
By waived wench - Published on
As a PhD student in medieval history, I usually approach films set in the Middle Ages with no small sense of trepidation. The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey is the exception. It is a visually stunning, well-written well-acted little film that manages to be both thought-provoking and entertaining. What I found particularly worthy of note is Vincent Ward's use of imagery. His choice to film the medieval scenes in mid-winter and in black and white conveys the bleakness of medieval peasant life and the muted colours of the modern scenes have a mystical feel to them. The film actually feels medieval, and since it does not refer to an historical event more specific than the Black Death, there's no opportunity to get annoyed with historical inaccuracy (a curse of all we would-be professional historians!) I recommend it highly to anyone who likes fantasy and adventure.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent sci-fi not for the shallow of heart 12 Jun 2000
By Elicia Donze - Published on
Deep, resonating messages and stunning, haunting visuals contribute to the power of this film which is so completely independent of any genre that calling it a sci-fi or a fantasy does not seem to do it justice; rather, such stereotyping is more of an insult. The best eye-candy in this film is its shoestring-budget special effects (read: no REAL special effects) and its cinematography (it was directed by the same guy who did "What Dreams May Come," which is a poor modern cousin full of hypocrisy).
At any rate, The Navigator is real and raw. And a classic. It reminds me of the Dutch film version of MEDEA. It's fascinating the same way AKIRA might be fascinating: you simply cannot believe that such a fantastic story can work in such a simple narrative. The filmmakers of Navigator trust their audience to be receptive of that which is truly bizarre.
Not for the shallow of heart! I've read other reviews of this film and must agree with one in particular: if you feel intellectually stimulated by Independence Day or Armageddon or other such mindless fluff (even the Matrix), you will get nothing from this film....
Other films that remind me of the Navigator: The original Highlander movie (especially the low-res, poor-quality version on Beta Hi-Fi), Ladyhawke, Eraserhead, In the Name of the Rose (that weird monk movie with Sean Connery and Christian Slater), Medea (the scratchy Dutch version), and even Monty Python and the Holy Grail (not so much for the humor, but the general film presence).
Enjoy! But not too much.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling fable 2 Feb 2002
By Dr. R. T. Lambert - Published on
Set in 1348 in Cumbria in North West England during the plague this is an outstanding tale.
There are many reasons why the film is outstanding, the mix of black and white and colour photography is beautifully balanced, even to the extent of mixing within individual scenes,this all adds to the mythical qualities of the story. The desolate snow swept landscape of Cumbria (New Zealand doubles up for Cumbria)are stunning and the perfomance by Hamish McFarlane as the visionary boy is suberb.
It is partly about time travel, the boy with a small group of his fellow villages go through a mine to find themselves in a modern day New Zealand city, that essentially is more barren than where they came from. They are in search of a miraculous church and their quest is to place an icon on top of the steeple. There are some nice gags but essentially the film is about the boy's vision. Did in fact the travel through time actually happen or was it part of the boy's spirituality.
Is in fact the film a subtle allegory that,without preaching, equates the plague with Aids and the barreness of the landscape and the villagers on the edge of not surviving, a post nuclear apocalyptic vision? The film was made in 1988 when these possibilities dominated. Equally though, these possibilities are as relevant today.
A lyrical but disturbing fable.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie 19 Jan 2000
By "lex_of_the_cherubum" - Published on
This is definately one of the best movies I have ever seen. The actors do wonderful jobs of portraying the emotions felt by their characters, and the sense of hopelessness and helplessness that must have been felt during a medievil plague! The black and white shots were visually stunning, and the music is almost celtic... ancient-sounding, poignant and lilting. This movie made my heart feel crampy with wist for some long-lost time of inherent fantasy and myth. This is truly one of those gems-in-the-roughs, as far as movies are concerned. It is more a piece of moving modern art than a slap-stick Hollywood movie, however, and is lacking many of the guady and visually stressing noise-makers and whirly-gogs that so many directors like to thrown in their scenes, for the sheer hell of them.
Rent this movie before you buy it, though. It is sort of an aquired taste. It may be slow-moving like a snail for some people, but it delighted me!
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NOT thrilled 16 Feb 2005
By 'Space Captain' - Published on
I purchased this disc in May 2004.
I has a VHS copy -taken from pay TV. While the DVD was a bit cleare/less grainy ,the video was 1.33:1 ,not 1.85:1 as advertised;also the sound was MONO ,not Dolby Surround as advertised. A good film but a technically inferior disc.
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