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Vietnam in HD Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: N/A
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: NR
  • Run Time: 282 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (2 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: A&E Entertainment/New Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 6, 2011
  • List Price: $34.95

[amazon-product]B005BSCPCM[/amazon-product]

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Vietnam in HD -

Purchase Vietnam in HD on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

To start with, let’s get it straight exactly what Vietnam in HD isn’t. This documentary series from The History Channel isn’t an all encompassing documentary on Vietnam covering every angle, perspective, and a complete, unbiased view of the war. What it is, however, is a presentation of the war, in the words of select American veterans, members of the press who covered it on the ground, and family members of the veterans against a backdrop of mostly personal, but some not, archival footage recovered and restored.

In the style of The History Channel’s WWII in HD, known actors are brought in to narrate much of the stories in the first person, which often segues right into the recent interview segment, in native high definition, of the real-life person telling the story. Michael C. Hall (TV’s Dexter) offers a sincere, but monotoned narration of the historical facts and details surrounding the war and the military operations, at least the facts as we know or are led to believe them at this point.

The footage is often breathtaking, surprisingly detailed, awesome, and always thought provoking. Much of it is not for the faint of heart and I reckon that, for many veterans who served over there and lived through the agonizing hell that was Vietnam, it might even be too painful to watch.

What is left out, however, are a great amount of details involving how our government ended up in that quagmire to begin with. Okay, the first episode begins from 1964 and with Lyndon Johnson in the White House, but what about the intervening years, like, say, the ten years prior to that when U.S. Troops were already there? You also do not hear anything about U.S. allied troops from Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Australia, or New Zealand. These things are not unusual, however, because I don’t recall ever in my lifetime seeing a film or documentary on the Vietnam War that actually mentioned allied involvement.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

As this documentary contains much personal archival footage on 8- and 16mm film, none of it looks very pristine, but you’d be amazed how good, sharp, and detailed – relatively speaking – some moments come across in this AVC 1080p transfer from A&E. At times, the color footage really pops right off the screen. Of course, there is a bit of a jarring disconnect between the archival footage and the new, high definition interview segments, which do look pristine in comparison.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The sole audio option is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack that isn’t inordinately aggressive, but does on occasion surround one in many foley effects of the sounds of warfare, like bombs exploding, bullets whizzing by, or helicopters flying overhead. None of these things drown out the main narration by the war veterans or actor Michael C. Hall who are placed prominently in the center channel.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

There are no supplements provided with this release.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Flaws aside, Vietnam in HD still offers amazing footage and a chance to hear in their own words the experience of the people who lived through this controversial war. It may not be perfect, but perhaps it is a step in the right direction to finally getting the truth and the whole truth about this deadly conflict, much as many books and documentaries have been published over the years about World War II with new insights and perspectives. Recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005BSCPCM[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Vietnam in HD -

Purchase Vietnam in HD on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

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