This review also appears at Earthpages.org
World War 1 in Color is an engaging, upsetting film that opens the door to the Great War of 1914-18 unlike any other documentary on this topic.
What makes this DVD different is its abundance of historical footage. And instead of the usual black and white that we’ve come to expect for this era, the entire film has been expertly colorized.
For those who think that the nightmare of World War II defines all that can go wrong with human beings, this film compels us to think again.
Gripping footage of air, sea and land battles makes this DVD a virtual time machine for those with the stomach to witness the horrific events it portrays.
Leading historians and surviving veterans punctuate the documentary with learned commentary and authentic personal accounts, these augmenting but never overshadowing the fast-paced production.
Much emphasis is given to the history of technological innovation. And a special features section uses CGI to discuss strategy.
Once or twice I felt that the film’s tone was just a bit too gung-ho, almost glorifying the technological aspects of war. After all, these technological changes were all about murdering vast numbers of people as efficiently as possible.
But, for the most part, this is a sensitive treatment of war. And, admittedly, it is fascinating to see how technology advances in the face of adversity.
However, I couldn’t help but think it’s too bad humanity couldn’t marshal its resources in a more constructive way–for instance, to solve current problems like global starvation.
It seems we collectively rise to a challenge when some great threat is about to affect us personally. But if the problem doesn’t immediately endanger us, we often just look the other way.
Perhaps that’s a sad, unspoken statement made by this excellent film, in addition to the obvious one that war is not fun, not glorious, but rather hellish and something to be avoided at all costs.