I wasn’t sure if the History Channel’s World War II in HD was going to be more over the top disaster/war channel material, the kind of thing that celebrates the extreme nature of the subject, rather than a respectful presentation. But two episodes in, the show seems to be in the latter camp. It is an American history, not only in focus, but in vocabulary: the narrator uses we/our often when describing American forces; and the term greatest generation has shown up once. Yet it isn’t jingoistic, just proud; Steven Ambrose had nothing to do with this, fortunately. Seeing combat in color makes the war seem more recent, as if it was an extension of the Vietnam fotage. Distance gives one a chance to apprase the past; closeness blurs the opportunity, and the remaking of the war in color has the ability to make the war seem rosy again, America’s greates monent—in other words, the return of the Greatest Generation dreams. Yet the show also has some of the most graphic images of that or any war and the film makers haven’t refrained from showing the dead nor the wounded, esspecially those undergoing medical treatment. At times it can be disturbing, but those are the rewards of war and considering the sanitization of the last 3 wars, it is a needed reminder.
I don’t know how many times the war needs to be watched, but if you are going to watch the war it is a quality production wrapped in some HD hype.