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WWII in HD [Blu-ray]

Gary Sinise , Charles Scheffel    NR (Not Rated)   Blu-ray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 44.99
Price: CDN$ 27.75 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Description

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At first glance, the very concept of WWII in HD seems like an oxymoron. After all, isn't the footage from back then nothing more than grainy black-and-white newsreel? And really, how much definition can be added to film that was shot more than 60 years ago? The answers: no, and quite a lot, actually. The quality of much of what is seen in the course of these 10 episodes (each around 45 minutes long) is surprisingly good. Add to that the fact that most of it is in color (not colorized, but originally recorded in that medium, some at the behest of the United States government), and the result is nothing short of astonishing. It's not easy viewing; there are sequences that are shockingly graphic (vivid examples include the carnage on view after major battles and the shots of Japanese civilians on the Pacific island of Saipan hurling themselves off cliffs to avoid capture by American troops). But all of it has been put to good use in what is undoubtedly one of the most compelling accounts of World War II ever produced.

Other documentaries have chronicled the same events seen here, from the earliest days of the war (when Hitler was overrunning Europe and the ill-prepared Americans were still years away from becoming involved), through Pearl Harbor, the major confrontations with the Japanese in the Pacific theater (like Guadalcanal, Tarawa, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the incomparably bloody Iwo Jima) and with the Germans in Europe and North Africa (the invasion of Tunisia, D-day, the Battle of the Bulge), and straight on to victory in Europe and finally the Japanese surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what separates WWII in HD is the filmmakers' decision to view these events through the experiences of a dozen individuals who were actually there, including a couple of war correspondents (one of whom, Richard Tregaskis, was the author of the seminal Guadalcanal Diary); an Austrian immigrant who escaped the Nazis and almost immediately enlisted in the U.S. Army; a nurse with General George Patton's Third Army; an African-American pilot who was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen; a Japanese-American medic who fought heroically while his family was held in an internment camp; and others from the rank and file. All of them are voiced by such actors as Rob Lowe, Amy Smart, Steve Zahn, Josh Lucas, and LL Cool J; and with Gary Sinise providing voice-over narration, the whole piece comes off as a dramatic film as much as a straight documentary (an effect also enhanced by some brilliantly creative juxtapositions of words, images, and music). Not all of these men and women made it through the war (those still alive also appear in on-camera interviews), but none could ever forget the horrors they witnessed, and while those of us who did not serve will never really comprehend the sacrifices they made, this remarkable program may be as close as we can get. --Sam Graham



Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great purchase! Dec 12 2011
By onyx14
Format:Blu-ray
I have been waiting to purchase this copy for a while now and I was not disappointed at all! The image quality is incredible and what these men and women have gone through is beyond thought! Touching, disturbing and courageous stories.

Received my copy within a week of purchase! Thank you Amazon!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Major Problem Dec 15 2012
By Aghast
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Excellent presentation, except: NO SUBTITLES!!!.
Yes those are capitals and 3 exclamation points. What were they thinking? An oversight like this for a documentary like this is inexplicable, unforgiveable, and infuriating! A great concept which shoots itself in the foot with the most basic flaw.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WWII in HD [Blue-ray] April 28 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This Documentary is one of the greatest i have ever seen. Its very unbiased portrayal of the events leading up to and during WWII, was extremely refreshing and greatly educational. The use of real footage from the time period (in color) gives it an amazing sense of actually being there witnessing the events as they took place. I found myself riveted to the screen over two days as every fascinating moment, both awe inspiring and disturbing, was compelling to watch. I recommend this series to anyone who truly appreciates and wants to know the factual story behind one of the human races darkest and most industrious times in history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great look at the Pacifc Feb. 20 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Well balanced on both sides of the war. It was great to see great documentation of both Europe and the Pacific
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  441 reviews
121 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best WWII documentaries Nov. 20 2009
By Pangloss - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have watched this series on the History channel and it is unbelievable. Although very graphic at times, the color footage is extrordinary and the comments by the veterans add a new dimension and at times will break your heart. Of all the WWII series I have seen this probably the best overall. The History channel has done a great job. I just wish the DVD was available right now. If you are at all interested in this part of US history or had a relative or friend who served in this war, you will want to get this series.
117 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best WWII mini-series ever Nov. 20 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
This came in a very close second in my favorite mini-series ever. Right behind Band of Brothers. Even though this series was different from B.o.B (being that the whole series was actual footage from WWII and not acting), it was still an amazing show to watch. Real footage from the war and interviews from actual soldiers that were in the war was perfect. Some of the video was graphic, but that made it real and worth watching. I rarely get teary eyed, but some of those interviews and some of the concentration camp footage, got to me. After seeing the first part, it makes you want to see more. And the other 9 parts of the series certainly delivered. I would highly recommend this to any World War buffs or to anyone who wants to see how much our veterans went through.
59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why can't history classes be this interesting? Nov. 20 2009
By Keeva Cox - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This entire series is masterfully done! Instead of a bunch of facts and figures delivered by the usual talking heads often seen in documentaries, this series focuses on 12 individuals that were on the front lines during the war. The battles of WWII are told in their own words, through their letters, reports, and interviews, making the entire documentary intensely personal. The narration provided by Gary Sinise seamlessly intertwines the personal accounts with the facts of the battles and strategies used, giving the viewer all of the background information they need to understand what's going on without being the least bit intrusive. The added backdrop of the never-before-seen color WWII footage of the events really makes it seem as if the viewer is right in the middle of the action; watching and experiencing everything for themselves. History teachers and textbook authors take note: this is how history should be taught!
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Young people: You're scared of terrorists? Not after watching this... Nov. 20 2009
By David Vega - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is the greatest documentary about the greatest story ever told. We think we are scared of terrorists....give me a break....terrorists are pimples on our posteriors compared to the fear the Nazis and Japs put the world through. Not only is this documentary visually breathtaking, but the meticulous research of each of the stories, the strategies of the war, and the perspective it gives the viewer is like nothing I've ever seen before. It truly proves that they were the greatest generation, the generation we should all strive to be. This documentary should be in every school...let the teacher close the book and pop this in as a history lesson because it can not be told better than this. I can't say enough about it. Jack Yusen was the best! "He went to go see his muddah on the back porch!"
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never forget Dec 28 2009
By TaeKwonDodo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I ordered this DVD set after watching the first episode on The History Channel. I think that we need to protect every bit of film, every photograph that preserves the memory of not only the great heroes of the greatest war ever, but the horror of what war is, so that we never, ever embark upon such a path again without first trying our damndest to find another way. This series shows color footage culled from hidden archives and personal collections, linked by the stories of various individuals who participated in some way or another - an infantryman, a pilot and author, a nurse, a Tuskegee airman, a Nisei, and more. Actors provide a surprisingly competent performance - giving voice to the thoughts and words of people who are long gone. Survivors are also interviewed, and it is clear that the memories of those events remain as clear now as they were sixty years ago. Some of the images are disturbingly graphic, so I do advise caution with watching with smaller children. The quality of some of the footage is rather poor, so don't be disappointed if the images are not crystal clear like the promised HD. Some of the sections were not particularly strong - the part profiling the Tuskegee Airman seemed rather thin - but I assume that there was a paucity of good footage, so I didn't really consider this to be that great a weakness. Very significant battles were entirely skipped over, but I think that it was beyond the scope of this project to completely summarize the entire war, nor do I think it necessary. I think that the series did what it set out to do - show us small glimpses into the world at war, give both evil and heroism a face, and make us remember even as the last survivors and their accounts fade away.
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