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Dafne Keen, Amir Wilson, Ruth Wilson
Writing Credits:

Two children embark on a magical adventure through parallel universes.

Rated TV-14.

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 471 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 4/25/2023

• None


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His Dark Materials: The Complete Third Season [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 6, 2023)

2019 introduced an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novels via Season One of His Dark Materials. 2020 continued the series with Season Two but fans needed to wait until late 2022 for the third – and final – year of the show.

This two-Blu-ray package includes all eight episodes for the show’s third season. The plot synopses come from the official HBO website.

The Enchanted Sleeper: “As Will (Amir Wilson) searches for Lyra (Dafne Keen) across worlds, Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) tests an unlikely new ally, while Asriel (James McAvoy) recruits for his war against the Authority.”

Given the long gap between Seasons Two and Three, I get the decision to largely present “Sleeper” as “catch-up” exposition. However, this form of reintroduction means we get a fairly sluggish opening episode.

Does “Sleeper” allow us to re-establish our bearings in terms of story and characters? Yes, but it does so in a dull manner that means I don’t find myself excited to move to the next show.

The Break: “As the Magisterium closes in on Mrs. Coulter, Will tries to help Lyra to safety. Asriel's base is rocked by unexpected visitors.”

With the first episode’s exposition out of the way, I hoped “Break” would create a more dynamic narrative. Unfortunately, “Break” continues Season Two in a sluggish vein, as it fails to find a real groove.

The Intention Craft: “Lyra and Will seek help to fix Will’s knife. Mrs. Coulter causes chaos at Asriel’s republic.”

As S3 progresses, we get the sense the show pushes toward a big dramatic climax. Three episodes in, though, the tale continues to proceed at a slow pace, one that fails to create a lot of real intrigue. “Craft” just doesn’t find much way to expand the characters in a vivid manner.

Lyra and Her Death: “Lyra and Will travel to a dangerous place from which no one has ever returned. Mrs. Coulter tries to thwart the Magisterium's deadly plan.”

When Lyra and Will attempt to visit the Land of the Dead, S3 shows glimmers of creativity and spark. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode sticks with the same tedious exposition and build-up that made the prior shows dull.

No Way Out: “Will and Lyra journey into the Land of the Dead in search of Roger (Lewin Lloyd). Mrs. Coulter risks everything to save Lyra.”

That brief sense of intrigue that came with the approach to the Land of the Dead fails to recur here. Instead, “Way” reverts to the numbing sense of somber blandness that impacts the rest of S3, so we find another flat episode.

The Abyss: “Lyra and Will try to escape the Land of the Dead. Asriel and Mrs. Coulter make a shocking discovery.”

At this point, I’d feel shocked to discover an episode that turns around the uninspiring nature of Season Three. Though the episode implies potential action and fireworks down the road, they don’t manifest in this bland program.

The Clouded Mountain: “As war rages, Will and Lyra search for their daemons amidst the battlefield. Mrs. Coulter and Asriel challenge the ultimate enemy.”

With little time left in Season Three, is it too much to hope that “Mountain” heats up the action and propels us toward a vivid finale? Apparently.

Yes, “Mountain” does amp up the visceral material, as it brings battles and whatnot. However, these feel stale and forgettable, mainly because the prior shows lacked impact. It just feels hard to care about how things go, and though it shows more of a pulse than its predecessors, “Mountain” doesn’t prove impressive enough to overcome that ennui.

The Botanic Garden: “Will and Lyra reunite with Mary (Simone Kirby) and hear a story that changes everything. But there is one last sacrifice they must make.”

Season Three – and the series proper – ends here. After the major drama of the prior episode, “Garden” feels more like a post-script than a climax.

This mostly means Lyra and Will feel the pangs of young lust and act on those impulses – in an innocent, “PG”-rated manner, at least. All of this feels pretty uninspiring.

Which makes sense for a wholly lackluster season. At its best – mainly during Season Two - His Dark Materials provided reasonable fantasy and adventure. Season Three just tends to feel slow and without dramatic impact too much of the time.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus F

His Dark Materials appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.00:1 on these Blu-ray Discs. The series came with high-quality visuals.

Sharpness worked well. A few interiors could be a smidgen soft, but those instances remained rare, so the majority of the episodes delivered tight, concise material.

I saw no signs of jaggies or moiré effects. The shows lacked edge haloes and source flaws.

Materials went with an emphasis on teal and amber/orange. These colors seemed tedious, but the episodes displayed them in an appropriate manner, and some other stylized hues popped up at times.

Blacks appeared dark and dense, and shadows showed nice opacity. The episodes came across as appealing.

In addition, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Materials also satisfied. With occasional action on display, the soundscapes boasted a nice array of information from all five channels, and the information moved well.

Audio quality succeeded too. Speech came across as natural and concise, while music showed rich, full tones.

Effects appeared accurate and dynamic, with good low-end and impact. I felt pleased with the audio found here.

Although prior sets came with a decent array of extras, none accompany Season Three.

As the conclusion of a saga, Season Three of His Dark Materials proves unsatisfying. The overall narrative drags and never goes anywhere especially compelling. The Blu-rays come with very good picture and audio but they lack bonus materials. This winds up as a bland wrap-up to the series.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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