There's nothing like a Ken Burns documentary. He's proven that any subject can be made interesting if handled correctly. His latest documentary, "THE VIETNAM WAR" is finally available on blu-ray, coinciding with its tv debut on PBS. It's certainly worth owning!
How to take on such a polarizing subject with the depth and clarity the war deserves? Well, Burns does it as he always has, researching, interviews, compiling records, interviews and everything imaginable to present not just a history lesson(although it is), but something much more.
Made up of 10 segments, digitally remastered footage, photographs and more, the audience gets the opportunity to take in as comprehensive a history of events leading up to the war, what actually was taking place and what has happened since. Along with archival footage of major players, the first-hand accounts of ordinary soldiers, family members, diplomats, journalists and others, lends to a more thorough understanding of all sides in a way that's never been achieved before now.
Sure, there are engrossing facts laid out about the Mai-Lai massacre, the Tet offensive and other well known events but there are so many other equally important but lesser known events that are fully explored here. No matter what anyone thinks they already know about the Vietnam War, "KEN BURNS' THE VIETNAM WAR" will enlighten the viewer so much more, that it can't be recommended enough! The blu-ray release allows viewers the advantage of watching episodically as it's spread out over several discs with a nice menu and chapters.
The image has been presented in the correct 1.78:1 aspect ratio of its source material. (1080i) With such a wide range of film footage, some moments appear much sharper than others, but there's a genuine level of quality merging the different materials, culminating in an altogether impressive quality. The b&w footage is much better in quality than anything previously available and much of the color footage is simply amazing!
PBS has provided a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and 2.0 Stereo mix. Both mixes offer excellent fidelity, however the 5.1 mix makes great use of immersive effects during some key footage. The low rumblings of bass are really effective during battle footage in 5.1 and the narration by Peter Coyote comes with the kind of earnest yet commanding authority needed to gain one's attention and hold it. And viewers will be held to the screen for every minute! This is a keeper! GET IT!