WWII in HD Blu Ray Review

WWII in HDYou’d be surprised how tough it is to come across a good WWII documentary. It seems to be a matter of quantity over quality, resulting in a blind-buy hit or miss scenario that unfortunately usually falls on the miss end of the spectrum. Having said that, every now and again a series will hit the target with a program that both informs and entertains. The History Channel’s WWII in HD series does just that.

The series presents recently uncovered colour footage of the war in 1080i high definition, combined with modern day interviews with war veterans as they tell their stories. An impressive group of actors — including Rob Lowe, Josh Lucas, Steve Zahn and Ron Livingston — take over as the younger versions of these men and women, providing narration to their individual tales. It’s actually pretty effectively pulled off and adds a little drama to each episode. In fact, I actually preferred how this was handled in WWII in HD versus Ken Burn’s The War series.

The series doesn’t shy away from adding a little excitement to the combat footage — mainly through the rapid editing and use of music — while still retaining the respect the subject matter deserves. There’s nothing worse than a war film that downplays its cinematic responsibilities in order to avoid accusations of sensationalism. There are ways to present these stories of heroism and horror in an energetic and visceral fashion without being completely tasteless, and WWII in HD seems to succeed in this sense.

The picture quality of WWII in HD is generally great, but every now and again a piece of stock footage will pop up with some heavy artifacting. It’s almost as though some of the footage was pulled from a poor digital source. Luckily, this is a rare offence as the rest of the disc looks pretty great. The modern interview footage, shot in HD, is striking and most of the war stock footage retains its original filmic qualities. It’s definitely a mixed bag, but it’s to be expected from a production that contains so much material from so many different sources.

Overall, this is a great series for anyone interested in WWII. You can follow the links below to order a copy for yourself.

Order the DVD set:


And for the Blu-ray edition: