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post #1 of 11 Old 09-03-2014, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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The World Wars (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review



This three part miniseries tells the story of three decades of war as seen through the eyes of various men who were its key players: Roosevelt, Hitler, Patton, Mussolini, Churchill, Tojo, DeGaulle and MacArthur. The series examines the two wars as one contiguous timeline starting in 1914 and concluding in 1945 with these unique individuals coming of age in World War I before ultimately calling the shots in World War II.




The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

86



Details:

Studio and Year: LionsGate - 2014
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 270 minutes
Genre: Documentary/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Jeremy Renner (Narrator), Hugh Scully, Maximilian Klas, Don Meehan, Michael Perrie
Directed by: John Ealer
Music by: Extreme Music
Written by: Stephen David, David C. White
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 9, 2014


"World War 1: The world changed them. World War 2: They changed the world"


My Take:

An assassination in Sarajevo sparks a global war. For the next 30 years, deadly fighting rages across Europe, Africa, China and the Pacific.

Hitler. Churchill. De Gaulle. MacArthur. Patton. Stalin. Mussolini. We know them as legends. But they first learn what it will take to rise to greatness as young soldiers, fighting for their lives on the frontlines. This is the story of a generation of men who come of age in the trenches of World War I, only to become the leaders of World War II. The lessons they learn on the frontlines shape them as they rise to power—and haunt them as the deadly fighting breaks out again. Some become heroes, forged in courage under fire. Others emerge as the most infamous villains the world has ever seen.

Theirs is one story—the story of a 30-year global struggle. A fight that will either save the world—or destroy it. Narrated by two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner, this three-part series features dramatic reenactments, CGI visuals and interviews with contemporary leaders, including John McCain, Colin Powell, John Major and David Miliband, along with noted historians from around the world.

From the makers of the Primetime Emmy®-Award winning “The Men Who Built America” the series originally premiered on Memorial Day on HISTORY, commemorating the 100th anniversary of WWI and 75th anniversary of WWII.

From the makers of the Primetime Emmy Award winning “The Men Who Built America” The World Wars originally premiered on Memorial Day on HISTORY in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of WWI and 75th anniversary of WWII and offers an overview of the bloodiest century in human history. Supplemented by actual footage, interjected interviews, and Jeremy Renner’s running narration, the film is a series of dramatic reenactments where actors portray the various historical figures. With lots of ground to cover in 270 minutes the series moves swiftly as its shifting narrative skims through the highlights of its 30 year timeframe while attempting to maintain focus on the men and events it depicts.

I suspect that historians will find elements of the film to be lacking in the accuracy/specifics department although frankly I am not certain that the intent was to create a program that strictly adhered to that. This feels more like a rousing/dramatic re-telling that contains historically significant high points that would be appropriately viewed in general terms rather than under a microscope. In that light I found The World Wars to be entertaining and in many respects informative as it delivers its easily digestible accounting of these unimaginable events of our time.

The three part series is spread over two BD-50 Blu-ray discs with parts 1 & 2 ( “Trial by fire” and “A rising threat”) found on Disc 1 and part 3 (“Never surrender”)and the bonus material found on Disc 2.



Parental Guide:

The series contains thematic material, disturbing images and war violence.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**



Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA


Video: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



The World Wars comes to Blu-ray Disc from LionsGate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.

This filmed documentary is a mix of filmed interviews/reenactments, still photos, vintage footage and CGI. The new interviews/footage appears lucid, with crisp definition, natural color, stable contrast and punchy blacks. The lower resolution elements are softer while occasionally exhibiting minor artifacts that don’t rise to problematic levels. I had no real complaints with the video quality and on a whole thought that this presentation looked quite good.

The high resolution DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack has excellent dynamic range and refining detail. Dialogue is articulately reproduced through the center channel and maintains a position of prominence within the front soundstage. This isn’t an active surround mix but when applied the surround channels generate involving atmosphere. Front and rear channel imaging is notable as evidenced by the various sounds and spatial cues associated with the war segments. When present low frequency effects resonate with palpable presence. All in all this is an effective surround sound mix that renders the elements in the recording quite well.


Bonus Features:
  • Characters In Depth (6 segments):
    1. Hitler
    2. Eisenhower
    3. FDR
    4. Truman
    5. Stalin
    6. Churchill
    Featurettes:
    1. “World War 1: One Word” featurette
    2. “Tech Developments of WWI” featurette
    3. “Life in a Trench” featurette
    4. “The US in WWI” featurette
    5. “Did WWI Lead to WWII” featurette
    6. “Legacy of WWI” featurette
    7. “Global Connections of WWI” featurette
    8. “Nationalism and WWI” featurette
    9. “Harlem Hellfighters” featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Digital HD Copy





Final Thoughts:

From the makers of the Primetime Emmy Award winning “The Men Who Built America” The World Wars tells the story of a generation of men who come of age in the trenches of World War I, only to become the leaders of World War II. While not wholly historically accurate, it’s a rousing/dramatic re-telling that contains historically significant high points that I found both entertaining and in many respects informative. It comes to Blu-ray from LionsGate Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition audio/video and a solid assortment of extras. If you are generally drawn to its subject matter The World Wars is well worth checking out on Blu-ray.






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



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post #2 of 11 Old 09-03-2014, 10:53 AM
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Nice review Ralph. I enjoyed this one as well...not great, but entertaining. It's pretty scary to contrast what happened leading up to WWII and what's going on in the Ukraine right now...eerily similar!
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post #3 of 11 Old 09-03-2014, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post
Nice review Ralph. I enjoyed this one as well...not great, but entertaining. It's pretty scary to contrast what happened leading up to WWII and what's going on in the Ukraine right now...eerily similar!
Greetings,

Thanks Dave and you're right..!


Regards,

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post #4 of 11 Old 09-03-2014, 11:17 AM
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I saw this on the History channel a few months ago and thoroughly enjoyed it!

It did an excellent job detailing many of the key points and events that occurred during that horrible and tragic phase of our history.

I learned quite a few new things, especially some of the stuff about Hitler at the beginning of the series that I had never heard of.

I'd highly recommend this to anyone wanting to know more about this stuff.

Thanks Ralph for the review.
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post #5 of 11 Old 09-03-2014, 06:14 PM
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I find that these shows will pique the interest of teenagers regarding history and that hopefully they will then go explore more in depth on their own. It's sort of like the Cliff's notes of history. In this particular case, it looks more at the personal challenges that faced the familiar faces of WWII and how event in their earlier lives made them into the men that they ultimately became.
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post #6 of 11 Old 09-04-2014, 01:39 AM
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Nice write up and it makes me want to watch it though I get concerned when you use phrases like, "While not wholly historically accurate," in reference to the History Channel.

You just can't trust anyone

Dyslexics are teople poo.
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post #7 of 11 Old 09-04-2014, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DeadEd View Post
Nice write up and it makes me want to watch it though I get concerned when you use phrases like, "While not wholly historically accurate," in reference to the History Channel.

You just can't trust anyone
Out of curiosity Ralph, do you happen to remember what parts of the movie aren't "wholly historically accurate"?

Thanks.

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post #8 of 11 Old 09-04-2014, 06:22 PM
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I'll answer for Ralph...there are some "personal" conversations that probably aren't 100% accurate (more like connecting the dots type of assessments, IMO), but the overall gist of the series is historically accurate when it comes to the "big" events.

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post #9 of 11 Old 09-04-2014, 07:11 PM
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I enjoyed the mini-series and was able to watch it with my 2 kids (ages 10 and 11) and they enjoyed it as well, and I agree with Dave's take on the overall gist of the show. They filmed most all the battle scenes at my local gun range, so it was interesting to watch eastern West Virginia used as battlefields in Europe. Some of the RO's, who have military backgrounds, lent advice to many of the actors concerning the firearm usage.
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Thanks Dave and Mntneer for the info.

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post #11 of 11 Old 09-05-2014, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yadfgp View Post
Out of curiosity Ralph, do you happen to remember what parts of the movie aren't "wholly historically accurate"?

Thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post
I'll answer for Ralph...there are some "personal" conversations that probably aren't 100% accurate (more like connecting the dots type of assessments, IMO), but the overall gist of the series is historically accurate when it comes to the "big" events.
Greetings,

Sorry for not responding sooner. Dave pretty much summed it up (thanks buddy ) as it is evident that dramatic interjection is used to correlate some of the portrayed events. As I stated though there is lots of excellent information that is presented is an easily digested and entertaining way.

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