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Featured TV on Blu-ray Review: Battle 360: The Complete Series

September 25th, 2010

Battle 360: The Complete Series - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon

Battle 360 is one of many, many, many World War II TV shows that have appeared on The History Channel over the years. In fact, there have been so many similar shows that one of the network's nicknames is "The Hitler Channel". One other hand, at least this show is historical, unlike the supernatural ghosthunter crap. That said, can it stand out in the ocean of competition? And does the Blu-ray release shine?

The Show

Battle 360 takes archival photographs, war footage, and interviews with survivors and modern military men, and combines them with computer generated simulations of battles to give what the creators hope is a unique look at World War II. The show ran for one season, for a ten-episode look at the career of the U.S.S. Enterprise and its pivotal role in the Pacific Theater, starting with...

  1. Call to Duty
    When World War II started, the U.S.S. Enterprise had been in service for six years; however, the crew aboard where very young, and very inexperienced in battle. But it got its start in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  2. Vengeance at Midway
    The biggest battle in the Pacific Theater, in which the Japanese main battle fleet attempts to destroy the American base on Midway Island. A Japanese victory here would have crippled America's chances in the war and America sends its three biggest carriers to defend the base. Of course, it's those three carriers that the Japanese admiral wants to sink.
  3. Jaws of the Enemy
    The Americans go on the offensive attacking Guadalcanal. Initially the victory is overwhelming, but the Japanese counter-attack results in the first direct hit the Enterprise had suffered.
  4. Bloody Santa Cruz
    The Solomon Islands campaign continues. The damaged Enterprise is still outnumbered, but at least it received an upgrade in its AA capability. But will it be enough as the Japanese send a massive strike force to retake Guadalcanal?
  5. Enterprise versus Japan
    After the loss of the U.S.S. Hornet, the U.S.S. Enterprise is the only battle ready carrier left in the Pacific theater, but first she needs repairs. Meanwhile, Japan is planning one massive push to remove American troops from Guadalcanal.
  6. The Grey Ghost
    After surviving near-fatal damage, twice, the U.S.S. Enterprise has earned the nickname The Grey Ghost, but it is the Japanese that strike at night crippling the U.S.S. Chicago and it is Enterprise that needs to race to the rescue. After the latest overhaul of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the most experienced ship in the fleet gets to use these new weapons right away in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands.
  7. Hammer of Hell
    As American forces march across the Pacific capturing Japanese islands, the latest battle takes place in Truk Lagoon and the U.S.S. Enterprise gets to use its latest upgrades to make history. But now instead of the Enterprise being the only battle ready carrier, she's leading a massive force. However, she's also about to take on one of the largest Japanese naval bases.
  8. D-Day in the Pacific
    America's island hoping strategy has put Japan itself nearly within striking distance. But this means Japan is desparate and willing to do anything to stop American forces. This episode focuses on Battle of the Philippine Sea, which featured roughly 1700 planes on both sides making it the largest aircraft carrier battle in history.
  9. Battle of Leyte Gulf
    Another record is broken, this time the largest navel battle in history. On the other hand, it is a bit anti-climactic, as by this time the Japanese navy was reduced to a shadow of its former self. But Japan does have one last trick up its sleeve.
  10. The Empire's Last Stand
    After two massive victories, America sets its sites on Japan and the end of the war. But Japan unleashes the only weapon it has left: Kamikazes.
The show is good, for the most part. It does suffer from some problems. For instance, they try way too hard to be stylish. The computer animated reenactments should be clean, crisp, and free from any fake camera issues. I don't want the film to be jumpy, I don't want it to be faded, I don't want it to look like it was just found in a vault. I want it to look like it was created by a professional.

The other main complaint I have about its presentation is some of the writing, which comes across is Jingoistic and over-the-top. Taking it down a notch would have probably been more effective.

That said, fans of World War II shows should really enjoy this show. The computer reenactments really add a new dimension to this type of programing.

The Extras

There are no extras on the first two disc, but disc three has some deleted scenes in an unfinished state, while there is also a making of featurette. The video is mixed, which is not a surprise, as the source material is just as mixed. There are brand new interviews to go with the CG reenactments, but there are also archival footage, and you can only do so much with that. The audio is strong and you feel like you are in the middle of the battle. Final point, it only costs $28, which is a great price compared to the DVD, which actually costs more.

The Verdict

Battle 360: The Complete Series has already been released on DVD, but the Blu-ray is worth picking up.

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