Blu-ray Movie Review
from Music Box Films
April 4, 2015
Occasionally, there is enough publicity to get USA viewers in the know of a television series which has been a foreign release, and the best of both worlds...a studio which releases them to the USA market (Region A/1). One of my favorite studios is Music Box Films, and they have an amazing amount of independent releases which USA viewers would never come across unless they saw a few other MBF titles and just so happened to remember the Music Box Films logo. This particular release comes from Germany, and has a cast of characters which probably are not familiar to you, but they soon will be after watching this 3-part television mini-series.
Filmed on location in Germany and Lithuania, there are many scenes from Generation War which are authentic and place this series in a realistic environment.
Being friends since they can remember, Wilhelm Winter (Volker Bruch), Friedhelm Winter (Tom Schilling), Greta Müller (Katharina Schüttler), Charlotte (Miriam Stein), and Viktor Goldstein (Ludwig Trepte) are now adults in the summer of 1941...in Germany. Brothers Wilhelm and Freidhelm are automatically enlisted in Nazi Germany's army, and Charlotte will be working as a med aide close to the front lines — wherever those lines may be as the Russians are proving to be a formidable fight.
Greta works at a local bar, but her determination is to be a famous singer. She's in love with Viktor, and she must keep the relationship a secret from everyone except her closest friends due to Hitler's legislation of making sure there was no mixed blood. As of 1935, the Nuremberg Laws made it a crime to have relationships with anyone who was not from pure heritage.
Viktor, due to his own heritage, certainly would not be automatically enlisted with the Nazis, and although Jews have not yet been rounded up like cattle, they are being treated rather similar. Viktor's only future is currently helping his father making clothes and modifying them...even for the Nazis. While the inevitable conclusion (i.e., Solution) to the Jews is clear to Viktor, his father is in denial, and refuses to believe his fellow Germans would take everything away from him and at worst, kill him and his family because they are Jew. He believes if he does what is asked, he and his family will survive the war, and his tailoring business will be intact.
As these five close friends are pulled away from each other and experience the war for the first time close-up, it changes everyone. And not everyone will be so fortunate to escape the wrath and horrific actions of the Nazi force which is rapidly becoming more ruthless as they fight the Russians.
Packaging for Generation War came in a 2-Disc DigiPak, which folds out into three sections; two of which are for the holding of the Blu-ray discs. The third section is a pocket which contains a small insert, describing the making of the series.
Video & Screencaps
Video for Generation War is very good, and the chosen color palette for this television mini-series looks great. Given the average of ~27 Mbps, I'm not surprised this presentation looks so sharp and crisp. Various shades of brown and green look fabulous. In addition, there are a few scenes which have a tremendous amount of concentrated daylight in some areas and I observed no blooming or blowouts. One of the screencaps below offers an example.
Audio for Generation War sounds good, and while reading the subtitles, there was no issue with "hearing" the voices while the eyes were tracking the words. Sometimes when viewing foreign films, the sound is so low and not normalized, the eyes and ears are not balanced. Not so with this series.
Main Audio Track: DTS-HD Master 5.1 (German) @ 2408 Kbps (48kHz/24-bit)
Extras for Generation War are rather lacking, and I was hoping to get more insight from the actors, but the 20-minute recording of the participants at the La Rochelle Festival of TV Drama was interesting. This was recorded September 13, 2013. Of minor note, there are a lot of trailers for a few films and a television series called Der Turm ("The Tower"), directed by Christian Schwochow, which might interest a few of you looking for other similar presentations like this one.
Disc 1 (Blu-ray)
Generation War Trailer (2:16) HD
Disc 2 (Blu-ray)
Master Class Panel (at the La Rochelle Festival of TV Drama) (20:01) HD
North Face Trailer (1:45) HD
Oh Boy Trailer (2:16) HD
The Tower Trailer (2:16) HD
Generation War Trailer #1 (3:24) HD
Generation War Trailer #2 (2:21) HD
Generation War Trailer #3 (2:16) HD
Bride Flight Trailer (2:01) HD
Lore Trailer (2:14) HD
Active Pixel Area: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Inactive Pixel Area: Not Applicable
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Generation War Bitrate Graph (Episodes 1 & 2)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Disc Size: 43,690,132,802 bytes (40.69 GB)
Movie Size (Eps 1 & 2): 42,776,610,816 bytes (39.84 GB)
Overall Bitrate: 30.90 Mbps
Video Bitrate: 26.91 Mbps
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Generation War Bitrate Graph (Episode 3)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Disc Size: 27,037,548,738 bytes (25.18 GB)
Movie Size (Ep 3): 22,266,697,728 bytes (20.74 GB)
Overall Bitrate: 30.82 Mbps
Video Bitrate: 26.91 Mbps
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Generation War was a really good series and I've seen references to being a German Band Of Brothers. I don't think so. The primary reason is because this series just wasn't long enough to get to know the characters so well. If we had another 7 hours of material to get to know each character much more, I would have agreed, but considering this series was only over four hours, there was too little time to develop a good story arc for each character.
A few examples I have of missing the Band Of Brothers mark entirely, was we don't know Greta's parents at all or Charlotte's parents. The only families we see are Viktor's throughout the series until the Nazis eventually take them away. The Winter family we see in the beginning of the series but then the series focuses on the 5 characters quickly soon after, so there isn't much build up to the war, like we had in Band Of Brothers.
Another minor issue which seemed to rush the brothers along into war, rather than have a few episodes of detailing their training, what they experienced when they were trained (and this would have been very interesting as I have not seen specific films of how young German men were trained in the beginnings of WWII), and how they felt about their cause.
Having a nice image presentation, an excellent collection of actors, along with a subject matter which is not easy to convey, Generation (Blu-Ray) gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED..
The special effects for this series was outstandingly realistic, especially the vehicles where they are true to the times. So often we see vehicles that just don't match the times (probably because it's so difficult to find those vehicles), but this series took special attention to making sure those vehicles were presented authentically. One of the reasons why I wish the series lasted longer was not only the vehicles but just the landscapes and buildings were done exceptionally well, and blended in with scenes so naturally, it was very difficult to tell there were digitally enhanced areas.
On A More Controversial Note...
It seems if there is a typical direction which a film does not take (or a path which some societies consider invalid), there will be controversy and vacuous accusations. Such is the case with Generation War. For those who would take aim at a television series merely because it was produced by a German production company and therefore must be sympathetic, couldn't be further from the series I saw.
Another comment I've seen is since there were no concentration camps shown in the film, the series makes Germans appear as being fooled and taking the justifiable stance as victim. This is not only insulting to Germans but I believe its also insulting to Jews as well. I suppose since Fury didn't show concentration camps, then it must be Nazi Propaganda. Come to think of it, I guess all WWII movies which don't take the time to create elaborate concentration camps and show them at length in a movie...must be Nazi Sympathizers.
And let's take this all the way, since X-Men First Class showed a concentration camp, it must be historically accurate and have a space right alongside Schindler's List in terms of realities experienced during WWII.
A few reasons why Generation War did not show concentration camps. The first is because NOT SHOWING concentration camps and only hinting at them throughout the series, created a worse imagination of just what these really were. Personally, I've read dozens of books on the subject, and like everyone else, viewed many films in horror. As close as anyone can get to actually being there, I have my own visions of what happened. The majority of the public who watch Generation War...are very aware there were concentration camps, and each of these individuals has, in their own mind and in their own interpretation of what they have read in books and seen on the screen, the nightmares and tragedies suffered there. Showing concentration camps would probably have been criticized anyway, and more than likely would have been tossed to the side as token scenes by a small circle of critics.
The second reason of why I'm pretty sure concentration camps were not shown in the series, is because they were not the subject of the series. Hopefully, this doesn't come across as apathetic, but the series focuses on five Germans who are at particular points in Nazi Germany. Since none of them are taken to concentration camps...while create the additional scenes. I'm certain if the director believed having scenes of Nazi death camps were important, it would have been added. On a similiar note however, and hopefully without spoiling the series for viewers, we do see Greta at the end of the film in some scenes which have followed her and could have just been discussed in dialogue with the other friends. This also tells me if death camps were important for the series' message (not just to appease certain critics who are more concerned with political correctness), they would have been filmed.
My recommendation is to watch this series and take from it what you observe. While I do not put it at the top of other series which have displayed key elements of WWII, Generation War is still a unique series which presents a new perspective.
Generation War (Blu-ray)
Review Date: April 4, 2015
Codec / Resolution: MPEG-4 AVC / 1080p
From: UFA GmbH
Theatrical Release: March 1, 2013
This Release: May 6, 2014
Region: Region A/1
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Running Time: 279 mins
Number Of Discs: 2
Current Price: Check Price
Buy Generation War On Blu-ray
Recommendations on Blu-ray
Adverts & Promotions