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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon 13 November 2010
I'm not normally an avid watcher of WW II documentaries, and thought as many others did that the final and definitive word has been spoken on the subject, in the BBC World at War series The World At War: The Ultimate Restored Edition 2010 [Blu-ray]. However, this series adds a new scope and dimension to remembering the Second World War. The combination of the approach to the material, and the material itself, has produced something incredibly memorable, sobering, informative, and essential viewing. The material is colour footage, mostly unseen until now, found, as the series prologue says, over a two year search. This has been photographed with High definition, to preserve the material. So what you are saying is high definition version of material of various quality - 8mm, 16mm, often blemished with the ravages of time. Seeing this material, which mostly reflects the Pacific campaign, though North Africa and Europe are well represented, is extraordinary. The distance emotionally and time-wise from the events that you have when seeing them in black and white, is not so easy when presented with the stark reality in colour. It makes the moments more vivid, and more human.. which brings us to how they have handled this material. Rather than try and tell the story of the war from a broad overview of tactics etc - we see the events through 12 different peoples first hand perspective. This is war, as seen through the eyes of individuals, not the historians's traditional dispassionate approach. If there is a down side, it is that this is a very America-centric view of the war, starting from Pearl Harbour and concluding with VJ Day. But that is a reflection of the materials available, and is not an indictment of the filmmakers.
Combined with a sober and well scripted commentary read by Gary Sinise, and voiced by contemporary actors, interspersed with interviews with those still alive, makes this something quite unique, a moving and educational experience. Recommended.
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