Generation War Blu-ray Review

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Each has their own part to play, each suffers greatly and no one comes away unscathed

by Simon Crust May 8, 2014 at 4:34 PM

  • Movies review


    Generation War Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £22.99

    Generation War Blu-ray Review

    Seems HBO do not hold the monopoly of big budget high production valued TV – European drama is just as good.

    Generation War is a three part TV show, retelling the Second World War from the German perspective, something that’s seldom done. It does this by looking through the eyes of five protagonists whose fortunes and destinies are decided by this terrible war. Each has their own part to play, each suffers greatly and no one comes away unscathed. These five individuals at the beginning are full of hope and are convinced that the war will be over by the very next Christmas; they make plans and vows and wish to remain the very best of friends. However, the war has very different ideas for them. The show is steeped in authenticity from the uniforms to the actions to the events that took place. And what makes it very interesting is looking at the war through the different characters' perspectives.
    The drama is played a little sympathetically towards our characters; they are seen as elements in a maelstrom out of their control, while the ancillary characters provide the necessary German ‘evil’ that sparked and drove the war forward. This does make it quite conflicting as we in effect are looking through the eyes of ‘the enemy’, the ‘provocateurs’ and the ‘instigators’. Thus we are being asked to side with those who slaughtered millions. The makers get around this by utilising the method outlined above and skilfully paint our protagonists very grey indeed. And this moral ambiguity fuels our desire to keep watching as the characters try to survive the horror they find themselves in. It does make for very compelling viewing.

    What Is Generation War Blu-ray Picture Quality

    Generation War What Is Generation War Blu-ray Picture Quality

    The disc presents a broadcast correct 1.78:1 1080p transfer using the AVC codec and is Region locked to B.

    Yet another TV production that looks like it could be on the big screen (indeed it had a theatrical run in the USA), filmed with a good budget and cinematography to rival the cinema the picture is extremely impressive indeed. Detail is amazing, from skin texture (check out the grime ingrained into the hands and faces of the poor souls dug into the Eastern Front) to clothing weaves (check out how ramshackle the uniforms are, or the makeshift coverings used to keep warm during the unforgiving Russian winter, or the cloth used to make Greta’s dresses), to the myriad of establishing shots over war torn countryside to the gleaming, or grimy, sheen of weaponry. No hint of softening and always with a defining edge, really excellent stuff.

    Yet another TV production that looks like it could be on the big screen.

    Colouring has been deliberately muted to give a distinctive style to the piece; it uses predominantly earthy hues and desaturation of red and blue; however within this caveat there are clean and bold tints. Skin colour is somewhat pale, but looks perfectly natural within the confines of the film – blood is thick and darkly red, while the darker hues of green give the forests a menacing look. Blues, when they occur are suitably saturated, and even, during the rare instances of bright sunshine, shine. The blue-grey of the uniforms come across very well indeed while the cityscape browns and greys have a dense solidity to them.

    Brightness and contrast are set to give deep and resonate blacks that add serious punch to the picture. Dimensionality in the frame is suitably deep when required and shadow detail deepens the frame even more; night scenes, underground scenes and any scene that requires impenetrable black really benefit from the black level. Whites too are just as clean and never clip adding much to the high end. Digitally there are no compression problems or edge enhancement issues, no posterization or banding or any aliasing. Filmed digitally there are no original print problems to contend with; indeed this is a stunning looking picture, if only there wasn’t so much 'shaky cam.'

    How Does Generation War Blu-ray Sound

    Generation War How Does Generation War Blu-ray Sound

    Only the one track to choose from: German dts-HD MA 5.1 surround. Much like the video, the sound rivals many big screen adaptations is terms of punch and accuracy. Where it really comes alive is during the action scenes, for example the German assault on an entrenched farm house, gun shots, debris, shouting, ricochets etc. all zip around the room placing you firmly in the centre of the action. Bass is well realised and the sub gets a good work out during the aforementioned action scenes with artillery and bomb explosions adding some welcome deep rumbles. Dialogue is well maintained within the mix, never becoming lost in the occasional mayhem and sounds perfectly natural. The score is well integrated and makes full use of all six speakers, again utilising excellent stereo work. The surround speakers, when they are not being used during the action sequences, are used to fill out the ambience of scenes, whether or not that is a mobile army hospital (with the awful murmur of dying soldiers and the futile attempts at saving them) or a simple street scene with general traffic noise, you get a real sense of being there.

    Dialogue is well maintained within the mix, never becoming lost in the occasional mayhem.

    The subtitles are in a good sized white font mostly at the bottom of the screen (unless credits or other onscreen titles require otherwise) and for the most part grammatically correct (one or two errors I can forgive) and hang around long enough to enable easy reading.

    Generation War Blu-ray Extras

    Generation War Generation War Blu-ray Extras
    Unfortunately none.

    Is Generation War Blu-ray Worth Buying

    Generation War Is Generation War Blu-ray Worth Buying

    Generation War is a curious little TV gem. Filmed with the type of budget and production values that only the likes of HBO normally muster, this German TV retelling of the Second World War crucially employs the German perspective; something that has seldom been explored and never with such attention to detail or shying away from the atrocities committed. The story is told through the eyes of the five main characters, all of whom are fresh faced and full of ideology at the beginning but suffer tremendously throughout five years of war. Each have their own cross to bear and all suffer immeasurably. OK, the series does take a few liberties with history, for dramatic effect, but should be applauded for its stance – this is not a German ‘Band of Brother’s’, please do not make that mistake. It is very different and attempts to explain away the horror by examining the effects of war on five very different individuals; whether or not you choose to relate that to an allegory of Europe, or think of it as an Historical drama, or as a fiction based on fact, at least watch it and make up your own mind because as we come up to the seventieth year of VE day we should all never forget.

    Filmed with the type of budget and production values that only the likes of HBO normally muster.

    Arrow has produced a welcome package, with a blistering picture full of rich blacks and tremendous detail and has a sound track to match the visuals, being surround intensive, natural and absorbing. Slightly disappointing is the lack of any extra content, but with what amounts of three feature films all together in one package, it makes it a very worthwhile set.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.99

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