WWII In 3D (Blu-ray Review)

Telling  the epic story of the war from the rise of the Nazis, their sweep across Europe, the Allied counterattack and the fall of Nazi Germany, WWII In 3D delivers home audiences to the Last Great War as never experienced before. For the first time, you will see dramatic moments of WWII that were captured in 3D with stereographs and then shuttered away in secret archives and attics, until now. This stunning collection of color 3D photos includes Allied reconnaissance photos, a trove of images that documents the rise and fall of the Third Reich, and photos secretly taken by a civilian in occupied France. WWII In 3D also features an actual 3D motion picture film shot by the Nazis in 1943 and creates a fully immersive, three dimensional portrait of history’s largest and bloodiest conflict.


When I first heard about this release I thought it was WWII In HD (which I reviewed here) converted into 3D but surprisingly enough this is an all new documentary.  Which upon reflection makes sense since this documentary is made up of stereoscopic footage that was filmed by Nazis as well as 3D footage filmed during Allied reconnaissance missions.  There’s also 3D photographs taken during the occupation of France and during the rise and fall of the Third Reich.  It’s truly amazing that all of this material has survived the war only because they were inadvertently protected by how they were stored such as in attics or in an underground archive and more.

I was happy enough to see World War II footage in color in the earlier releases but this is even better.  Watching the Nazi training film that was shot in 1942 of  soldiers shooting their anti-aircraft guns really brings history to life.  It was also very interesting to see all of the 3D pictures that have been included, which is really surprising that that many 3D pictures were taken that long ago and have survived to today.  The German stereoscopic pictures were taken by Heinrich Hoffmann who was Hitler’s official photographer and the man who was smart enough to suggest that Hitler and him share royalties from every image used of Hitler that was taken from his photos which made them rich.

The main drawback to this release is that it’s only 44 minutes long which doesn’t give much time to examine all of the historical ground I would have liked.  Of course, there are plenty of other releases that do that but it would have been nice to have a longer documentary.  There’s also some modern footage mixed in that adds nicely to the proceedings and show the advance of time.  WWII In 3D is narrated by Tom Wilkinson who does a nice job keeping the history moving with a dignified and reserved style that works well with this documentary.  WWII In 3D does a nice job using the stereoscopic materials to tell the rise and fall of Hitler’s Third Reich in a unique way that really benefits from the 3D process.  Seeing these 3D images come to life (including an unsettling one of Hitler himself), is really cool and for history buffs like me, a whole new way to examine these snapshots into the past which provide a lot more impact in 3D.

2D Video  

3D Video  

This 1080p (1.78:1) transfer looks really good for both the 2D and the 3D elements.  The highlight of the set is the 3D footage shot in 1943 of the soldiers using their anti-aircraft gun and it’s very impressive considering its age.  The modern day 3D footage also looks good but I wish more time was spent on the pictures and footage and less time watching experts  looking at 3D pictures themselves.   The 3D photographs look sharp and have nice detailed textures and don’t be surprised to find yourself pausing the movie to get a longer look at these pictures.  Ghosting isn’t really an issue here and there weren’t any blemishes that detracted from the picture.  While this may not be the finest 3D effort out there, it is pretty much the only one that involves actual footage and pictures from WWII and I thought it was fascinating to see it.


WWII In 3D’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix does the job nicely but without any real flair.  It’s a by the numbers soundtrack that one would normally find on these kind of releases, with the narration coming from the center channels and the sound effects and music delivered through the rear channels.  The narration by Tom Wilkinson is clear and understandable, as are the other experts who add their two cents to the proceedings.  The music remains somewhat subdued in the background and the effects have been layered in nicely.   This is an above average soundtrack for a documentary and it serves the material well.


There are no extras on this disc and unfortunately that will drop the final score lower than it should be.


For WWII buffs who have a 3D setup, this should be an automatic buy since it offers a new way to see history and the world’s biggest conflict.  The 3D adds a surprisingly amount of freshness to a historical documentary and I hope more releases are done in 3D in the future.  This disc’s audio and visual presentations are solid but it’s a shame that there’s no extras considering that this is a pretty expensive release that’s only 44 minutes long.  I would still recommend it however because seeing the past in 3D is irresistible!

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