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  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
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  • Featurette - Making of
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Ian Thorpe - Beneath the Suit
Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 60 mins . G . PAL


It's official; the world loves Ian Thorpe. And no wonder. Not only is he a world champion, Young Australian of the Year 2000 (amongst countless other People's Choice type awards), world record holder, unofficial Australian Ambassador to the World and one of the best swimmers ever to hit the water, he also loves fashion, music, jewellery, spearheads a kids' charity (Fountain For Youth) and is an advocate of a more stringent drug-testing program in sport. The accolades and awards are endless. Is the guy perfect? He just might be!

This DVD doesn't provide a probing and thorough look at 'Thorpedo's' life, or an in-depth expose of his career from unknown club swimmer to national hero, but it does take a good look at Ian Thorpe the swimmer and his thoughts and feelings on a wide range of subjects, as well as a good look at his style and his preparation routine. We also hear first hand what he still wants to achieve, how he feels about what he has achieved so far, and what it takes to remain at the peak of his chosen sport.

Budding swimmers will love the scientific and detailed look at his technique, demonstrated by Thorpe using various blue-screen and computer enhanced effects. Those wanting to know more about what makes him tick will also be appeased, and only those who want to know the deepest inner and personal details about Ian Thorpe will go away slightly disappointed.

Ian Thorpe - Beneath the Suit is a deliberate and planned marketing exercise, but it succeeds as it makes no attempt to be anything else. Sports fans will get a kick out of it, Thorpe fans will be in seventh heaven, and those wanting a polished but measured insight into one of Australia's living legends will also be pleased.


What a magnificent effort, from the deliberate blue look to much of the program, as well as the aquatic themed menus. In an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and 16:9 enhanced, the image is never anything less than razor sharp, even the underwater filming, and colours are bold, bright, often with a definite blue hue to augment the aquatic feel. There are no problems with the colouring and black levels are superb. There are no problems with shadow detail, and no evidence of shimmer. There are no artefacts or tape glitches whatsoever and no layer change to contend with. This is a faultless transfer.

Again we have been spoiled with a fine Dolby Digital 5.1 audio that has been well thought out. There are certainly no audio gymnastics on display here, but they are not needed. There is a lot of background music that sounds like Jean-Michel Jarre meets Madonna circa Justify My Love which does have some very nice bass, but the rest is a combination of narration and lots and lots of splashing sounds. It's all good however. There is a slight audio-synch glitch in one of the first pieces, but this soon corrects itself never to be noticed thereafter. Most narration (and some news footage and overdubs that sound slightly distorted) comes from the left and right front speakers, with on-screen dialogue placed squarely in the centre speaker with no signal from the rear channels. As said though, this works well.

Strangely, this whole DVD seemed to be a compilation of extras the way it is presented. There are four main sections that are further divided into various subsections that make up the content of the DVD, and then a couple of extras that are actually credited as such. The first is a Making Of that has the same video and audio specifications as the feature footage, and at almost 15 minutes is as interesting as anything else on the DVD. This is accompanied by a DVD-ROM extra that offers you wallpaper and a screensaver for your PC.

There are also a couple of hidden goodies, the best of which is the amusing snippets you will see if you allow the main menu to sit there and run its course. There are supposedly two actual Easter eggs though finding one of them proved too tough. The second can be found listed on our Easter Egg page.

As informative and interesting as this is, there is still much about Ian Thorpe that is not known, and that is quite probably how he wants it. What is on offer here is interesting, and nicely presented, but it never really digs too far below the surface, or gets deeply personal. Ian Thorpe may be a public figure, but he has the right to some privacy and we should respect that.

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  •   And I quote...
    "Ian Thorpe, Thorpie, Thorpedo, call him what you will; he's a champion athlete and all-round nice-guy - and here's the DVD to prove it."
    - Terry Kemp
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
    • TV:
          TEAC CT-F803 80cm Super Flat Screen
    • Receiver:
          Pioneer VSX-D409
    • Speakers:
    • Centre Speaker:
    • Surrounds:
    • Subwoofer:
          Sherwood SP 210W
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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