on December 7, 2013
I was pleasantly surprised how the producers of this production gave a new perspective of WW2. I didn't know what to expect just looking at the title, but yes, this is definitely a five star plus video to own. it easily put the entire concept of WW2 into easy, understandable viewing. This would be excellent at the high school level to bring the war into understanding, on the war strategy of the war and how the Allies claimed victory. Did I say high school level? Well, in fact, adults will love this presentation also. As a student of WW2 history, this production brought insight and new information I'd not hear of before. I totally recommend this to any history bluff and student.
on October 6, 2013
I have been watching documentaries and reading books about WW2 for over 15 years. I know a good amount about the War but am always hungry to learn more. This program did an amazing job of providing a high level overview of the entire war in a way I have not seen done. Additionally information and insights new to me became apparent due to how the program was structured. For example, I realized how Germans need for oil drove their invasion of the USSR and the strategic decisions made thereafter. Additionally, this program did an excellent job of showcasing the brutality and futility of fighting the Japanese in the Pacific theater with ground troops and the necessity of nuclear bombs. I am going to buy a copy of this so I can show it to my children when they get older.
on June 3, 2013
Rather than dwell on the "politics and hardware" of World War II, this excellent British-made documentary tries to uncover the "whys". After watching it, you can almost still hear the echo of what may have been America's finest moment on the world stage as she mustered up the Arsenal of Democracy to help defeat two evil empires. You will know more about WW II than you ever did before, and will leave you with a newfound respect for America's ideals. This documentary should be seen and discussed by every high school and college history class. A very, very powerful piece of work .....
on August 22, 2013
I bought this disk based on previous 4-reviews but quickly realized after viewing it that a more accurate and critical review of this disk is needed.
Essentially, this is a global overview of WWII from the point of view of the US side but sadly missing many salient points of the war (e.g, in the Pacific, the Solomons Campaign including Guadalcanal was omitted while in Europe, the Italian campaign, Operation Market Garden).
Moreover, it also contains many errors in its CGI video (e.g., U-boats firing torpedoes that detonate under the keel of a surface ship, breaking the ship's back and sinking it - these torpedoes are of modern design; Russian SU-152 self-propelled gun landing on the beaches in Normandy during D-Day in Operation Overlord).
Perhaps it is understandable that there will be major and important gaps in the efforts to provide the overview of WWII due to the scope of the subject and the limited time available in a single disk but the glaring errors in the CGI as well as in the commentary of some of those interviewed could easily be avoided by someone with a modicum of understanding of WWII.
Consider this disk as nothing more than a cursory and incomplete overview of the war from the point of view of the US with some nice CGIs and the disk will be passable. Taking it as anything more serious than that would be a mistake.
Documentaries have a long history of playing fast and loose with data, but facts and figures don't lie; and that's what's mostly brilliant about the History Channel's latest review of all things World War II, titled "WWII From Space." To their credit, this A&E Television Networks production relies heavily on the presentation of the grim, harsh reality (namely dates and death tolls for all nations involved), so it thankfully skirts the current trend of `historical revisionism' that plagues so many other programs. Add to that the fact that they've incorporated a very high tech, state-of-the-art visual presentation style, and you've got yourself a winner.
For the record, if this is what it takes to get today's youth interested in legitimate history again, then so be it. Out of its 90 minutes, 85 of them are solid and free from the progressive politicization of what truly went down. What about those remaining 5 minutes? Well, you're smart; you figure it out.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I'd encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)
From the press materials: "Get an all-new perspective on history when WWI FROM SPACE arrives on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 7 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Featuring stunning CGI and riveting historical details, this HISTORY special looks into America's part in World War II - from a new angle."
For the record (and not like I needed to spell it out any further), this `new angle' is from space. What you basically get is what war satellite imagery would probably have looked like if we'd had that technology available to us at the time. Yes, it's a gimmick - a clever trick of light and shadow, along with a wealth of CGI longitude and latitude lines. To be perfectly frank, I found some of it more than a bit distracting, though the CGI creations of battlefronts from high overhead (not so much from space as they are, perhaps, from a mile up) are stunning to watch. These sequences, however, don't account for a great amount of additional footage to the entire piece, but they are a sight to behold. While I don't think it really re-defines WWII in any major way, it still pushes the narrative into a direction embraced by modern audiences; for that, we can all be thankful.
I'd be remiss in my duties of critical analysis if I didn't point out, though, that the last five minutes of the piece do attempt to raise the usual ethical/moral considerations about the U.S.'s "controversial" use of atomic weapons to bring the war to its swift close. Even after presenting much of the hard, cold facts of the Japanese way of fighting (mass civilian suicides instead of surrendering or being captured; kamikaze bombing instead of escaping to fight another day; the ratio of Americans killed versus Japanese killed being tilted in Japan's favor; etc.), the narrator somehow still feels it necessary to bring up a few experts who question whether or not Eisenhower made the proper choice. It's easy to do that - Monday morning quarterbacking - especially now that nearly seventy years have passed. Perhaps any decision made would've received as much scrutiny; still, I think the better question gets asked by quickly brushed over with little further exploration. "What if we had the technology to end the war and we didn't use it?" What would history think of us then, eh?
WWII FROM SPACE was produced by the History Channel, A&E Networks, and Lionsgate. DVD distribution is being handled through Lionsgate. As for the technical specifications, no expense has been spared in delivery the best quality sound and images to this work, though - as I said above - I'm the first to point out some of the technical wizardry on the screen left me a bit cold; at times, it's an almost clinical depiction of some stunning atrocities. As is often the case with some of these releases, there are no special features included on the disc.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Much of WWII FROM SPACE benefits from the "just the facts, ma'am" approach employed consistently throughout. There's not much new here except for the techie presentation (CGI and other dimensionally-flavored graphics), and I've no doubt that'll go a long way toward jazzing up the material for modern audiences. This old dog didn't so much need the new trick, but I appreciated the effort nonetheless.
In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Lionsgate provided me with an advance DVD copy of WWII FROM SPACE by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
on August 13, 2015
Turning points of WWII are covered in this new show, with an emphasis on the technological edge that was either held by the Allies or the Axis powers. Air power figures prominently, and the US achieved air superiority fairly early. The rise of American industry, the Arsenal of Democracy, supported by large numbers of American buying war bonds is well described. The producers' also seem to believe that advanced technology and access to oil resources were determinative in the war's results, which is mostly true.
The show provides a panoramic view of WWII and naturally glosses over many aspects of the war. More focused documentary films can be found on Netflix, Amazon, and public libraries. For example, "War of the Century: When Hitler Fought Stalin" has incredibly in-depth interviews and footage about WWII in Eastern Europe. German leaders mistakenly believed they needed more land, and negotiated with the Soviet Union for the partition of Poland and the Baltic States. That particular history is well covered in the new film "The Soviet Story" by Edvins Snore.