- Canadian Essential: Chosen by the Amazon.ca editors as one of the 50 Canadian Essentials in DVD.
The series makes much of the fact that the actors who speak, speak actual historically recorded words, so that nobody is making up the history. Of course, when you edit which words you choose to have actors speak, then you are editing history anyway.
I felt that, for my children, the use of the older English with its flourishes actually diminished the impact and clarity of the message. A "translated" speech, while perhaps not as historically accurate, would have done a better job at communicating the events in most cases. An occasional "actual recount" would be fine - although most of them are letters written to Europe, and as we all know people tend to speak with more flourish than when they talk. This makes most of the speeches sound quite stilted, and turned my kids off.
I felt more could have been done to act out the history, instead of relying on this precept that actual historical words have more power. There are some scenes acted out, and I suspect those are the ones that my kids will remember.
The setup of the DVD with its chapters was very useful, as very few will ever watch an entire disk at one go. However, as mentioned by another reviewer, having to watch the same commercial became rather annoying after the 4th and 5th time.
Last, I suspect the best measure of how much we liked it is our choice of going further with this series - will we buy the next set of disks? I will have to poll my family. For myself, I believe I need to know this history, and there is no less painful way to learn it. After watching this DVD, you will say to yourself "so that is what happened!". Its a shame that we know so much American history, and so little Canadian history. This is one step in the right direction.