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WWII in HD (Blu-ray Review)

24 Jan, 2010 By: John Latchem


Street 1/26/10
$29.95 three-DVD set, $39.95 two-disc Blu-ray
Not rated.
Narrated by Gary Sinise. Voices of Rob Lowe, Justin Bartha, Josh Lucas, Amy Smart, Ron Livingston, Jason Ritter, James Kyson Lee, LL Cool J, Steve Zahn.

The 10-part WWII in HD distinguishes itself from most World War II documentaries by using not just rarely seen footage from nearly 70 years ago, but footage that was shot in color.

Producers spent nearly two years scouring the globe to cull the films. The footage was then remastered in high-definition, making Blu-ray the ideal format for preservation of these important historical records. The process of finding and preserving the films is covered in two short featurettes.

WWII in HD is an enthralling recap of World War II, covering all aspects of the war by framing the story through the experiences of 12 people. The series mixes the old footage with slick graphics and new interviews with some of the survivors. The disc also includes a 15-minute program profiling each of the interviewees.

Other stories are told by a cast of celebrities reading the letters and journals of those who have long since passed.

Gary Sinise, who has seemingly become the go-to guy for military documentaries, expertly ties everything together with deft narration that perfectly captures the mood of every given situation. The footage runs the gamut from fascinating to heartbreaking, featuring not just mundane depictions of everyday life, but also brutal battle footage as well as the disturbing aftermath of combat.

Between the glory of victory and the bitter cost of defeat, the paradox of war is on full display, elevating WWII in HD to required viewing for anyone looking for a greater appreciation and understanding of history.

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