5 March 2010 | jeffrey-nimmo-1
It has its good and bad points.
I take exception to the statements that this is the greatest WW2 documentary ever made. It's a fairly standard history from a French viewpoint, with the additional gimmick of being colorized. Yes, colorized, not "restored," as the original was never in color in the first place. Some of the footage is new, but most has appeared in previous documentaries.
Black & white footage is not easily colorized, and can often appear fake, even surrealistic. So, while it sometimes works, making certain scenes more vivid and realistic, it often works counter to its purpose.
Much of the new footage has not appeared previously for a reason: it is extremely disturbing. Dead and decaying bodies abound. This is a war documentary and so is perfectly appropriate, but I would not allow small children to watch.
The commentary avoids controversy by being rather simplistic. WW2 Buffs will learn nothing new. I was impressed however, by the statement in one of the episodes, that the French communists didn't begin resisting the German occupation until after the invasion of the Soviet Union, a full year after the fall of France. This statement of course is absolutely true, but it couldn't have made the French leftists very happy.
In all, I would recommend this to WW2 and modern history buffs, only for the new footage, and to see what can and can't be done with colorization. However, for general viewers looking for a solid introduction to the war, I would recommend "World at War." For those sad souls who cannot watch b&w footage, there are series for the US, Great Britain, Japan and the Anzacs, all showing original, not colorized, color footage.