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4.6 out of 5 stars
WWII in HD (DVD)
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130 of 139 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
Format: DVDVerified 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.
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125 of 136 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2009
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.
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2009
Format: Blu-rayVerified 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!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2009
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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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2009
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!"
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
As a student of history and especially World War II history: this set of programs will educate those knowing the least to those knowing the most.

The cost is such that it is a good value. It would also make a great gift for most.

The stories told by the actors adds a nice element to the overall presentation as well.

What detracts from this program is the editing of the program. It is simply too fast-paced for people of "all" ages.

I can see the younger generations more accepting of the production values and fancy graphics and all that jazz, so-to-speak. However, for say, the older person including those still left who actually fought in that conflict; it would be extremely difficult to remain focused all the time on the real story presented on these DVDs. This, despite the fact that some veterans of World War II are actually featured in this set of programs: I find it hard to imagine that they would be completely impressed with this program's production values.

The History Channel is leaning more towards this style of editing. Perhaps because the younger generation of film students that have now entered the workforce. I do not believe that gives license to exploit these techniques on the rest of the population in general.

A constant barrage of mostly 3 second film clips is simply too fast paced for too long a time for many to try to "learn" from these programs as well as being entertained by them.

This sadly, is where many in TV production are now falling short: by blurring the standards between education and entertainment; rather than enhancing them.

As others have stated, what remains as the definitive program is the 1974 epic, "The World At War". Buy "WWII in HD" for youngsters, borrow it from the library for the more mature.
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103 of 138 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2009
Format: Blu-ray
WWII in HD does a good job of using personal stories to tell a larger tale. Gary Sinise is a great narrator. The real-life soldiers/sailors/marines are terrific and their story is worthy of being told.

The production suffers from two main problems, that pull it down from being the best of class in the area of color WWII documentaries.

1) There is heavy use of colorized film. For example, you can now watch General MacArthur wade ashore in a film you've seen before, but now it's in color. I found that to be too distracting to abide. There are many, many other cases of film colorization, this is just the most shocking.

2) There is a lot of unnecessary back and forth... from Leyte to Europe, then back to Leyte, then back to Europe, then back to Leyte, then to somewhere else in Europe, then back to Leyte... At each transition, there is a high-tech, google-earth-like movement across the globe that I found out of place and amateurish given the seriousness of the subject.

I found "World War II - The Lost Color Archives", sold right here at Amazon.com (World War II - The Lost Color Archives), to be a much more satisfying experience. That documentary does a better job of using its 100% authentic color film to tell the story of WWII.

While "WWII in HD" is not the best documentary, either about WWII, or in the sub-genre of color presentation of the war, it should be considered a quality addition to the canon. In other words, if you own several other documentaries, you should consider getting this one too, for what it adds. However, if you are looking for one or two, definitive, documentaries to watch, then I'd suggest going elsewhere.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Personally I thought I had seen most of the available WWII footage but this introduces a lot of new and very interesting perspectives. It is NOT for the queasy or faint of heart though. If you want to see combat unadulterated this is it. The video puts the lie to the sanitised view of war that the majority of use in North American have. If you collect WWII movies/documentaries this is definately one to add.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2009
Format: DVDVerified 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!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
If you are new to WWII studies or have limited knowledge, this series will keep and hold your attention featuring mostly original color footage, which thanks to the reprocessing looks often times amazing. However, if like me, you expected the actual footage to be the star - as reflected in the title - then you will be disappointed. Instead of stories behind the combat footage or even longer shots of the footage, this attempts to tell a real "dramatic" story. Thus, you have quick cuts, a story line that jumps around, and extensive (but well done) overdubbing of the (originally nonexistent) audio. The footage is only related to the real events in certain locations, so that I was wondering if what I was viewing was really footage from the alleged location. (This sense is increased by obvious errors and repitions of the same footage.)

Though I appreciated the Hollywood talent on the voiceovers, I would have rather had Gary Sinese tell me the real story behind the video rather than try to recreate Saving Private Ryan as a documentary. I was expecting something more like the 1999 or 2000 Tom Hanks narrated "Photographers of WWII" (title?), but that would probably bore most viewers. So I appreciated the high production values that went into this and I'm sure it will hold many viewers' attention, but I found myself again and again simply hitting the pause button to study and watch (because many cuts don't last longer than 3 seconds - MTV style). As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, but here they had pictures running in color but instead chose to mash them into something they weren't.
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