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World War II 360° Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: A
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 5
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • List Price: $79.95

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BestBuy.com:
World War II: 360 (5 Disc) -

Purchase World War II 360° on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Collection
[Rating:4/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]

Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]

Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

Editor’s Note: Portions of this review not specific to this release have been previously published in our reviews for Patton 360° and Battle 360°

The Collection

[Rating:4/5]

The World War II 360° collection from The History Channel brings together the network’s two popular 360° programs in one package. Battle 360° and Patton 360° both focus on World War II in the series patented energetic style, but from two different perspectives across the different theatres of the war.

Battle 360°

[Rating:3.5/5]

Battle 360°: The Complete Season One is The History Channel’s ten episode series that follows the story of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise through its four years of battle in the Pacific during World War II. The series makes extensive use of CGI graphics to swoop viewers right down into battle on the open seas or into the air against the Japanese forces. Archival footage, stock photos, and some reenactment are also spliced in alongside narration and reminiscence from Enterprise crewmembers, historians, and military personnel.

The 360° series from The History Channel,is an energetic new take on looking back at the World War II era battles, revitalizing the history and allowing viewers to feel a part of the combat, even if the CGI is at times a little amateurish is design. The visual effects are always engaging, as is the narration and the added bonus of actual veterans makes it all the more authentic. This should be a real pleaser for war-era aficionados.

Patton 360°

[Rating:4/5]

Patton 360° follows the famous US Army general George S. Patton through his campaign during World War II, beginning with the US’ first tentative steps in Northern Africa and going straight through Patton’s campaigns through Southern Europe and France, culminating in the Battle of the Bulge, the defeat of the Nazi’s in Germany, and the liberation of the Ohrdruf death camp.

As he battles the Germans, competes against his British rival, Field Marshal Montgomery, and comes up against pressures from his own commanders, Patton 360° reveals the strategies, weaponry of both allied and enemy sides, victories and missteps of this well-know hero, forever known as “old blood and guts.”

The series uses a combination of archival footage, reenactments, and CGI visual effects with commentary from war veterans, historians, and military personnel, coupled with an intriguing narrative to unfold the story of Patton’s Third Army throughout World War II.

The quick editing and constant barrage of visual effects means this one is never dull. There are a few violent moments captured on film, but for the most part, the imagery is relatively tame, so the timid need not worry too much about gore. Those out there that are into war documentaries, however, will still find much to appreciate about this one. I do not count myself among those who is particularly taken by this genre of documentary, but this one certainly held my interest over the course of its ten episodes.

Video Quality

Battle 360°

[Rating:4/5]

The quality wavers given the various sources, but Battle 360° still looks strong, for the most part, absent any major compression or post-processing issues. Some of the new HD material looks a little soft, but it doesn’t particularly stand put next to the highly stylized visual effects of the series.

Patton 360°

[Rating:4/5]

Patton 360° is given a 1080p/24 AVC/MPEG-4 encoding that looks fairly good considering the mix-and-match sources of archival footage, reenactments, CGI, and constantly flashing visual effects. The high definition looks solid with strong detail, natural flesh tones, and compression artifacts aren’t an issue.

Audio Quality

Battle 360°

[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio is simply an English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo soundtrack that sometimes buries the narration just a tad, but is effective nonetheless. Sound effects sound good, midrange is solid, lows are deep despite no sub, but it still would have been nice to hear the sounds of battle in surround, this is called “360” after all.

Patton 360°

[3.5/5]

Patton 360°’s lossless stereo mix (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0) adequately conveys the narration and sound effects, which is just about all you can ask for, but in a series called “Patton 360°” it might have been nice to have a surround mix that did actually engulf the listener in those constant sounds of war.

Supplemental Materials

Battle 360°

[Rating:1/5]

There is twenty minutes of unfinished “bonus scenes” that also includes a brief “making of” included on Disc 3. It’s all in standard definition and run continuously, so not much replay value there.

Patton 360°

[Rating:0/5]

There are no supplements at all provided on this release.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

This is an energetic and unique view of World War II that is a must have for history buffs or anyone interested in this harrowing period in human history. The Blu-ray collection is a smart move by The History Channel bringing these two series together and anyone who doesn’t already own the individual sets should pick this up for themselves or as a gift for someone else.

[amazon-product align=”right”]B003JQZY6C[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
World War II: 360 (5 Disc) -

Purchase World War II 360° on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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