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Dogfights: The Complete Series Megaset
DVD | Box Set
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History s most thrilling aerial battles can now be experienced as never before from inside the cockpit. Legendary aircrafts like the F8 Crusader, the F6F Hellcat, the P40 Tomahawk, and more are brought back to life as DOGFIGHTS takes viewers straight into the heat of the aerial action.
You re in the cockpit as DOGFIGHTS: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE follows these rarefied pilots over the skies of Guadalcanal, Korea, and Vietnam. Fabled fighter jocks from the dawn of dogfighting in World War I to Desert Storm are the top guns in DOGFIGHTS: THE COMPLETE SEASON TWO, while DOGFIGHTS OF THE FUTURE gives a fascinating preview of the next generation of fighter aircraft and tactics.
Every battle mixes rare archival footage, state-of-the-art CGI graphics and exciting, vivid narration from the original pilots for a heart-pounding, immersive aerial experience.
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The CGI is fabulous. The resulting visuals are arresting, much more lifelike than actual combat footage, which tends to be grainy or washed out. The CGI is so accurate that even the reflections on the fuselage of each aircraft follow the sun as the pilots maintain an orbit above or around a target, or pursue their enemy. The sequences of aerial combat are very fluid and very close to the sort of dogfight scenarios that one might visualize without having had the actual experience of air combat.
The two sets of nine discs have some really beautiful highlights: "Long Odds", a segment that features "Old 666", a B-17 outfitted with thirteen .50 calibre machine guns and heavier armament. That Flying Fortress was tasked with the reconnaissance of Japanese troop movements over various land locations. Old 666 was involved in a 45-minute dogfight, facing an overwhelming Japanese presence. Its pilot, Jay Zeamer won the Medal of Honor for his heroism. Ultimately, the crew of Old 666 became the most Highly decorated B-17 crew of WWII. A great story.
"The Luftwaffe's Deadliest Mission" depicts the unique mission of the SonderKommando Elbe, and elite group of German pilots mustered together in a last ditch effort to stop the allies from entering Deutchland: Using stripped down ME109's, the mission of each pilot was to seek out and ram Allied B-17 and B-24's in Kamikaze fashion. The CGI is great, but the interviews with two of the surviving pilots is especially interesting.
Other notable episodes about World War II also feature CGI depicting aerial engagements involving naval vessels: "The Hunt for the Bismark" and "Death of the Japanese Navy". The latter episode is a CGI adaptation of the actions surrounding Taffy III, and how that task force, which was cut off from the rest of the US Pacific fleet for a few days, managed to inflict serious damage on Japanese naval forces in the straights of the Phillipine islands.
Also noteworthy is "The Tuskegee Airmen" which goes into specific detail about the heroic exploits of the Brave African-Americans who flew P-51 Mustangs in covering missions for the B-24's and B-17's that flew combat missions in the skies over Romania and southern Europe.
Other Highlights: "Death of the Luftwaffe" chronicles Operation Bodenplatte, which took place on New Year's day, 1945 against a forawrd American airbase in Europe; And "Secret Weapons" which are accurate depictions of the ME-262, the Kamikaze, and remotely controlled airplanes.
I counted about three episodes about the air war in Korea, which include "Supersonic" and "Jet vs. Jet". Again, great CGI. Ace Pilots Frederick "Boots" Blesse, Robbie Risner and Ralph Parr give great commentary. The leap in jet technology and the effect it had on aerial combat and the resulting high speed problems each pilot faced are explained in surprising detail.
Of particular interest is the inclusion of about a half-dozen episodes that depict the F4 Phantom and the various missions assigned to their Pilots and Radar Intercept Officers.
I'm a huge fan of the F4 Phantom and the pilots that flew them, so these episodes are truly amazing to me. It's difficult for me to imagine to be at the top front of all that raw power.
"Hell Over Hanoi" with commentary by Fred Olmsted and Dan Cherry F4 is great. "Air Ambush" with commentary by legendary Air Force Ace Robin Olds is also something to see. That episode has a brief flashback - sort of a story within a story - to his days as a P-38 combat pilot in the skies over western Europe during World War II.
"One Inch from Out of Control," features commentary by Willie "Irish" Driscoll and Randy "Duke" Cunningham and is simply put, amazing. At the controls of the USS Constallation's VF-96 "Showtime 100," the Pilot and RIO score three MIG kills and escape a Surface to Air Missile hit which tears their Phantom apart and with only nanoseconds to spare, eject into the waters of the south China Sea.
Other noteworthy Phantom sequences: "The Bloodiest Day" which depicts the May 10, 1972 bombing mission of the Hai Dong Railyards, and "Gun Kills of Vietnam," which shows how effective the addition of a gun pod on the F4 was.
"Dogfights of Desert Storm" is also covered extensively in one episode, and on another disc, an episode covering the exploits of the Israeli Air Defense Force is also included.
There isn't much about World War I, but the series' introductory episode feautres a segment devoted to Eddie Rickenbacker and the techniques of aerial combat that he and other notables such as Manfred Von Richtoffen helped to develop and are still studied by combat pilots today.
To its credit, the History Channel also put together a CGI series that dealt more with ground combat in World War II, but the CGI didn't work all that well. Even though the historical information was accurately depicted, the CGI wasn't nearly what it should have been mostly by virtue of the complicated nature of recreating computer-generated human beings. In other words, the soldiers didn't look real.
"Dogfights" Seasons One and Two are two dvd sets that I highly recommend. Devotees of air combat will find themselves watching many of these episodes several times to get all of the nuance of the air engagements depicted on these dvds.
The best CGI brings the classic air battles to life: WWI, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, the Middle East, and even air battles of the supersonic future - and you get a ring-side seat. Animation that feels like a hand-held camera that searches the skies and suddenly zooms in and finds your prey - or predators. Tense, riveting narration. All this brings the immediacy of the combat to your screen.
This series is not for everyone. If you prefer The Good Wives Club, pass on this. But if Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan are in your collection, definitely add this one too. You'll enjoy every moment, and watch it - and learn more than you ever guessed you didn't know - again and again and again.
This documentary analyses some of the most spectacular aerial dogfights on record from the skies above the Western Front during WW1, the skies over Europe and the Pacific theatres during WW2 and the more recent conflicts including Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East and the First Gulf War.
The narration is concise and comprehensive and introduces the battle explaining how each 'dogfight' unfolded using state of the art CGI, interviews with the actual pilots involved, analysis of the aircraft and the tactics of the time. All this is also joined by film footage of the time and a step by step explanation of what happened and why without unduly 'milking' the event.
An excellent series delivered in an excellent manner. My only complaints(if any) is that the discs for season 2 are of the American variety and can only be viewed on TV via a PC. Additionally the show was designed around a TV audience with commercial breaks in mind so that every 15 minutes there is a 2 minute recap on what has happened so far as if viewers have just returned from a commercial break and need some brief revision. This can be slightly annoying but as long as viewers understand this it doesn't pose a major problem. Other than that however I thought this was an excellent purchase.