Review: James Raffoul
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: English DD 5.1 (AC3), French
DD 2.0 (Stereo); Documentary 'We Stand Alone Together: The Men
of Easy Company' (80 mins); The Making of Band of Brothers (30
mins); Ron Livingston's video diaries; HBO's premiere screening
of the miniseries on the beaches of Normandy; Character biographies.
Scene selections; Weblinks; Still photo gallery; Episode previews;
AN EPIC, 10-part drama series, chronicling Easy Company's 101st
Airborne Division's difficult experiences during World War Two,
propelled Band Of Brothers (BOB) to must see TV upon its 2002
This factual mini-series received the highest critical acclaim
on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks for which go largely to
its excellent (and mostly British) cast and crew, and, of course,
to its big name executive producers, Steven Spielberg and Tom
Almost Saving Private Ryan-esque
in style, BOB adopts the saturated picture effect when shooting
the battle scenes and pulls it off as a masterstoke in what is
truly compelling viewing.
Most who saw the series on TV will be familiar with episode after
episode, but the DVD's extras package raises it to must own status,
and is as good as DVD box sets come.
You not only get the 10 hours of footage that captures all 10
episodes, but a separate disc packed with cast interviews, boot
camp diaries, and on set video diaries, as well as the making
of documentaries, which provide a real insight into how it was
all put together and why filming spanned almost three years.
The boot camp experience is a particularly interesting insight
into what is now becoming the norm for actors to go through when
preparing for their roles as military soldiers.
Senior military advisor to the film industry, Captain Dale Dye
(a Vietnam vet), teams up yet again with Spielberg after their
partnership proved so fruitful with his chillingly effective battle
tactics and knowledge of warfare on Saving Private Ryan.
It pays off, as the 40 actors who endured boot camp, (and succeeded
in their 10 day mission - unlike those actors on Saving Private
Ryan, who gave up half way through - all except Hanks) become
a Band of Brothers themselves, and their on-screen chemistry is
as realistic as it is off screen.
The warfare engagements that take place in certain episodes between
German and (mainly) American soldiers, which are central to each
episode's story, rivals that of Saving Private Ryan.
Realistic set recreations of WWII battlefields, such as Bastogne
Forest, in Belgium, the Normandy Landings and Hagenau, are given
so much attention to detail (and some hugely impressive CGI) that
you'll be forgiven for thinking it's not the real thing.
And while not comparing it too much to SPR - it doesn't have
any of Spielberg's usual sentimentality, this is gritty stuff
- it sets another landmark for Spielberg in his quest to recreate
WWII battlegrounds in the most realistic and awesome of fashions.
As a DVD package, this is top notch, and for any avid BOB fan,
a must buy.