America: Imagine The World Without Her (Blu-ray Review)

America-Imagine-The-World-Without-HerThe provocative political documentary from the creators of 2016: Obama’s America,America: Imagine the World Without Her steps onto the world stage on Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The sixth-highest-grossing political documentary of all time, the film has been referred to as “important, inspiring, informative”.  During its theatrical release, America: Imagine the World Without Her joined the ranks of critically acclaimed films like Schindler’s ListThe GodfatherForrest Gump and Dances with Wolves by earning one of only 52 A+ Cinema Score ratings in the last 29 years, the benchmark for audience reactions.  That’s some pretty high praise given.  Though if you wander on over to Rotten Tomatoes, you’ll see it has an 8% critic score and an 88% audience score.  Okay, so the film’s not unscathed, but my what a difference in opinion.

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I think my press released described this better and more coherently than I would have; What would the world look like if America never existed? Dinesh D’Souza, best-selling author and creator of 2016: Obama’s America, explores this fascinating question in this stirring, thought-provoking documentary. Through reenactments of landmark events in America’s history and insightful interviews with leading historians, D’Souza brings us face-to-face with the brave heroes who built this great nation-and offers a powerful defense against critics intent upon the shaming of America. With America: Imagine the World Without Her, D’Souza asserts his unwavering belief in the country he loves, and his faith in a hopeful future forged from its incomparable past.

Its pretty clear from the outset on this film that if you’re a liberal or extreme lefty, America: Imagine The World Without Her is clearly not for you.  The film is only gonna get you ticked off, throw your arms in the air and have you discouraged.  And most probably know what its about and that it runs against their views, so why even bother to tackle it anyway (As witnessed by the critics shouting loudly at giving it an 8%).  The film is clearly something people could have made up their mind on before walking in to a screening.

Personally, I find a healthy center in trying to see what both sides of the extreme are trying to argue.  While I do think D’Souza’s case for a lot of subjects in the documentary tend to twist things to his belief, it should be noted that heavy left swinging documentaries do the same thing as well.  What’s good is to find points with merit and try to apply them to thoughts on the agenda.  His main focus in the first hour of the film is trying to debunk Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History Of The United States”.  D’Souza tends to have some ignorance on his point of view and seems to think finding one case of an exception is enough to turn it into a rule.  There’s even some stuff in here that was pretty wild to imagine him really thinking in such a manner.  At one point he pretty much says slavery in America was okay because other countries were doing it as well, so there should really be no guilt in it.  Or that yes, Columbus was crazy and committed actual genocide on Native Americans, but it technically wasn’t on American soil, so we shouldn’t worry about it.  Also, yeah, we conquered to take this country, but that’s the way the world has always been, so we’re cool  I’m not sure if he actually believes this or this is what he was trying to get across, but through my research, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I actually found the first bit of the film quite entertaining and somewhat enlightening with certain points that I think were worthy of listening to.  Its somewhere after the film passes an a hour that you get “Oh, this is what the film REALLY is about.”  The film starts becoming an agenda about the Obamacare system and the socialist agenda of Barack Obama and then that of Hillary Clinton.  The film has a reenactment of Hillary Clinton’s first meeting with a rep of radical socialist Saul Alinksy in a cafeteria that is lit and presented in such a way that was hysterical and had me laughing pretty good.  It felt like some sort of Anakin Skywalker fallen to the dark side with a possibility of redemption in the end.  The film pushes this agenda really strong at the end and it feels very disconnected with what came before so as to trick us into watching this portion.

D’Souza opens the film with an interesting goal to accomplish in demystifying Zinn’s legendeary literate work.  However, his points, his arguments and such all seemed to need much further research and to not be afraid of facts in history that he is blatantly ignoring when tackling the issue.  The big bother for me was that this documentary was really brought about for none of the reasons it sets out to do at the beginning and is disjointed in attaching it to the later agenda to finish out the film.  That couple with some outstandingly ridiculous reenactments.  Its not without loss, there are some good points made and some history brought to light that I didn’t know much about until this documentary that I appreciated.  But, as a whole this isn’t really too well thought out and almost is a bit of a disguise for pushing some issues.  Also, the title seems pretty misleading as we never really imagine or prophecize about what the world would be like without America.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  The film contains a lot of different qualities due to the usage of old footage, streaming video, interview footage, professional shot reenactments and then loose documentary camera work.  The newer footage is crisp, clean and sharp featuring plenty of detail.  Some of the reenactments do contain a bit of smoothness, but for the most part are impressively represented here in this transfer.

Depth: The new footage is pretty 3 dimensional.  In interviews the foreground person is nice and clear and background detail is very much distinct and visual with some blurriness.

Black Levels:  Blacks are dark and consuming.  A lot of the film’s night time scenes with D’Souza are engulfed in black due to natural light and detail is hidden.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are rich and bold.  Vibrant colors will tend to pop, but most of this is kept at natural levels.

Flesh Tones:  Natural and consistent.  Plenty of facial detail evident in closeups.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  Like the video, there’s an array of different sourced audio used in the film.  That old audio is actually pretty impressively captured and displayed here no matter the source or quality.  The newly recorded material is very sharp and crisp.  This is a pretty loud and boisterous track.  Its really impressive too for it being a documentary.

Low Frequency Extension: There’s actually some really good work here and I was most impressed by how much inclusion the subwoofer was used in the mix.  Canons, rifles and all sorts of booms come through in the reenactments scenes that will quickly grab your attention.

Surround Sound Presentation: Rear speakers are primarily used for ambiance and score.  Front speakers and center channel accurately capture vocal deliveries, transitions and movements from the screen.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Clean, clear and crisp.

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America: Imagine The World Without Her comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Complete Interviews (HD, 33:53) – Features Ted Cruz, Niall Ferguson, Col. John Fer (A POW Experience) and Star Parker

Extended Scenes (HD, 14:04)

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While I wasn’t too much a fan of the latter half of the documentary, I was sort of 50/50 with the initial portion that is what the film seems to be setting out to accomplish.  What it turns out to be is an agenda disguised as a debunking of a Howard Zinn book.  There are some takeaways from the film, and I did find myself entertained with it, but I’m sure this will be overly scoffed at by one side and taken way too close to the heart by another.  The presentation on this Blu-ray is pretty terrific and has a surprisingly great audio track for a documentary.  The extras are pretty light, but its a documentary, so extra footage is pretty much all you can do here.  I’m not sure if owning this is the key, but if you want to see it, then I’d rent or stream it.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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