'The War - A Ken Burns Film'
(Adam Arkin, Bobby Cannavale, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2007 / PBS)
Overview: The War, a seven-part series directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, tells the story of the Second World War through the personal accounts of a handful of men and women from four quintessentially American towns. The series explores the most intimate human dimensions of the greates cataclysm in history -- a worldwide catastrophe that touched the lives of every family on every street in every town in America -- and demonstrates that in extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives.
DVD Verdict: There is a saying that goes something like, "Those who don't know their history are condemmed to relive it." Or in a less scolding tone, how do you know where you're going if you don't know where you've been? While few would argue that The United States of America isn't rich with stories and adventures of personal achievement what with the so called winning of the West, the age of industrialization, and our rise to becomming a world superpower being an active part of our mythology. Or is it?
Gore Vidal once refered to the citizens of this fair country as "The United States of Amnesia," suggesting many Americans remember very little of their foreground and even less of their background. Yet for anyone old enought to have experienced the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and our long hard struggle to bring World War Two to a peaceful resolution both in the Pacific and Europe, this three and one half year-plus event is most likely sealed in personal memory along with the other milestones of life such as marriages, births and deaths of loved ones.
One reason World War II, or as the producers have aptly named their 14 hour overview of this world changing experience, "The War," had such an impact on our citizens is that everyone, and I do mean everyone, took an active part in bringing this world disaster to a successful conclusion. But that was then and this is now and today, the military veterans or living historians of "The War" are dying as are many of the other participants - the wives, friends and relatives of our brave veterans and almost as important, their first hand recollections and memories of this world shapping event are dying as well.
Fortunately for all who worry of such things, we have a national historian among us with the ability to keep our history alive especially for those who don't even like history. His name is Ken Burns and he is a film maker with the talents of a master story teller as evidenced by such interesting perspectives on American life as "Baseball" and "Jazz" and most especially "The Civil War." Now (or for you lovely general public within a few days), we (will) have Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's living perspective of the Second World War or "The War" to appreciate and enjoy for as long as we care to know more about ourselves both as individuals and collectively as a nation of citizens. I, for one, 'am more than pleased. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Making THE WAR Featurette
Commentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
Exclusive Deleted Scenes