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Battle 360 S1
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For nearly a decade, the legendary World War II aircraft carrier USS Enterprise held a pivotal place on the turbulent seas of war, engaging in some of the fiercest multi-front battles ever witnessed in modern combat. The only carrier to be front and center in every major sea conflict in the Pacific, the Enterprise and her crew's battles were marked by intense firepower, instinct and a 360-coordination between the ship, the destroyers, the aircraft above and the submarines below. In each of ten episodes, and using incredible CGI visualizations, BATTLE 360 follows the Enterprise and its men through another conflict of WWII as they fight off the enemy from the air, the sea and underwater.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I am a little biased in my anticipation, as my grandfather is one of the veteran "stars" of this series. (My last name is the same as his in case you are interested.) He appeared in seven of the ten episodes and, as one of the sailors who served on board Enterprise during the entire war, I couldn't be prouder of him!
Anyway, my intent was not to just review my grandfather's role in the show, as this is really a terrific series. There is a good blend of veterans and current "field experts" to give a variety of angles. Some of the heroics outlined truly give you chills, and the story of this amazing ship is phenomenal.
There is a ton of CGI, and this could perhaps be both the strength and weakness of the show. I know my grandfather grew weary of it and felt it was ridiculous, but at the same time it gave us re-enactments of some of the battles that would otherwise not be possible. Overall, the CGI gave a dimension to this series that really blows you out of the water (no pun intended.)
If you are a history buff, Navy buff, or WW2 buff, you should watch this show. You'll get a fantastic snapshot of a fantastic ship whose story is unequaled by any other American ship during WW2.
As for the production, it is a mixed bag. The production in all areas is extremely similar to the History Channel's "Dogfights".
First, CGI is mixed liberally with historical footage, some of which may not be from the actual event referenced. If you are not a fan of using copious amounts of CGI to tell a story, you may not enjoy this. Note, the viewer cannot mistake the CGI for the real thing.
Second, interviews are conducted with both actual participants and modern "experts". The interviews with actual participants are priceless. The modern personnel are a bit less so.
Third, the sound production is very poor. An over-emphasis on sound effects constantly drowns out the dialog. This is especially offensive when it steps over the soft spoken veterans whose tales are so inspiring. Deafening explosions are interspersed with quiet dialog, making the audio frustrating and, at times, painful.
This series could have been a bit better with a little more attention to production values.
All in all, a worthy tribute to the gallant E and her heroic crews. I thank you for your service. May God Bless each and every one of you.
For the time and care they spent/used correctly identifying the different classes of ships, both USN and IJN, and then generating the different graphics representing each different class of ship/type of plane, it is almost unforgivable that they often used the wrong one when it came time to produce each individual episode!
The most glaring example that comes to mind was the repeated use of the Hornet and Enterprise sailing together during the Doolittle raid sequence. I saw it several more times in later episodes, when every self-respecting Navy and/or military history buff knows that the Enterprise was the ONLY Yorktown class carrier left after Guadalcanal. But there it was in later episodes, those supposedly depicting 1944, another Yorktown class carrier sailing right next to "The Lucky E" - big as day!
Almost as bad was, during the battle of Savo island sequence, they showed the correct profile for the Vincennes (Chicago class) but, during the action scenes, they repeatedly used the graphic for the Indianapolis class, with its huge observation tower over the forward superstructure. Another glaring example, also during the first Guadalcanal episode was when they showed the same graphic for the Fleet carrier Shokaku and the Light carrier Ryujo (which didn't even have a super structure)!
I also saw several different sequences where they called, by name, another class of IJN battleship (Nagato, Fuso, etc) but always showed the Kirishima graphic from Guadalcanal, and also confused American battleship classes as well. And there were several instances, American and Japanese where they used the incorrect type of ship (and aircraft) entirely! They would mention a battleship but the graphic would be a heavy cruiser, etc.
I would say all this was simply skimping on the budget except for the fact that all the proper graphics HAD ALREADY BEEN CREATED!! So it was simply a combination of lack of respect for the subject matter and/or the (so-called) technical advisor(s) were asleep at the wheel and did not double check their reference materials before finalizing the visuals. Heck, I'm nothing more than a naval history buff but I can tell the difference between the Akagi and Kaga on sight, to say nothing of the North Carolina and the South Dakota classes!! And even my son knows the difference between a battleship and a heavy cruiser. I would have done a better job for free!!
And how many times did we have to listen to the narrator say "The Enterprise and her sister ship Saratoga" or "The Enterprise and her sister ship Wasp"?!? Every Navy buff knows they were NOT sister ships!
While this may seem nit-picking to some (and don't get me wrong, I still LOVE the series and can't wait to see next season), after the care they took building the graphics in the first place, and hyping up "the respect and dedication of the men and women of Enterprise rent-a-car", how hard could it have been to ensure the correct graphic was being used? Once again - where were the so-called "technical advisors"? Would the extra expense really have broken the budget?
While certainly not as bad as some movies depicting WWII Naval battles (a Korean war era Essex class with angled bow and Jets at Midway with the graphic "USS Yorktown", a WWII Essex class with the graphic "IJN Akagi"?!?!? Yes the movie Midway is pretty awful if you are a history buff), it did lessen my enjoyment of the show a little.
Another thing that really got annoying after 4 or 5 episodes was the narration. After the 300th time hearing "PULLED THE TRIGGER FILLING HIS COCKPIT WITH 50cal HOT LEAD" I began to wonder just what it was this narrator thought he was reading for; a serious historical documentary or a videogame?
It was at this moment that I suddenly realized that this program might not even have been produced for Navy and/or history buffs!! While it was assumed we would probably tune in, I think this program was really created for the younger generation of first-person shooter videogame junkies!! The ones who think Pearl Harbor happened during the Civil war and D-Day was on July 4th. The kind that might play "Medal of honor" or "Pacific Theater Of Operations" or "Battleship" and get momentarily distracted by the graphics of this show while flipping through the channels on their way to the latest MTV produced sleaze-fest or wrestling program, and linger for a minute thinking it's an advertisement for a new videogame!
But I must say that these gripes did not significantly diminish my enjoyment of the show, it's still a pretty cool concept and I am looking forward to seeing what they do with the second season. It only diminished it enough to take away one star because, with more respect to the accuracy of the graphics and the narration, this would be a true 5-star product and one of the best shows ever made about the war in the Pacific during WWII.
Unfortunately, the DVD set is seriously flawed. Amazon lists the aspect ration as 1.33:1 and technically that is correct. But, just as the History Channel did with the Dogfight series, the DVDs are actually letterboxed 16:9 matted into a 4:3 frame. Why the History Channel continues to use this outmoded format for their DVD releases is a mystery. Even cheap direct to video DVD releases are in anamorphic format. I can author a disc in anamorphic format on my home PC so it can't be that hard or expensive to do.
If you have an older home theater system, this set being letterboxed may not matter to you but if you have a HDTV with your DVD player connected via HDMI, it is likely that you will not be able to watch this in other than letterbox format without lowering the resolution of your system.
Come on, History Channel, move your DVD releases into the 21st Century.
Every time the fleet got hit hard it felt like it was really happening and when we lost the Hornet I kept thinking what a horrible shame it was. I still think they should have tried harder to save Hornet!
My favorite episode is probably Truk Atoll and of course the epic battle of Leyte Gulf. The Heroic charge of the Tin Can destroyers against the Japanese Center Force was nothing less than the stuff of legends. Heroes, all of them.
I can think of nothing other than the fighter pilots and ship gunners must have been built of courage because they didn't have the technology that we take for granted today. No Satilite survalence, No radar guided missiles, no homing torpedoes. No GPS guided bombs. No Phalanx ship defenses. You have the 5 inch gun and the 20MM and if that's not good enough, then you die.
These men were made of sterner stuff than we see today. Battles like this aren't fought anymore.