The history of Imperial Japan's involvement in World War II with full color footage.

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Japan's role in World War II gets a whole new perspective in this consisting entirely of full color footage, including color films from Japan that were recently discovered. As the visuals of the world war take on a new vivid immediateness, the story of the rise of the militarists in Japan is told through the personal writings of the Japanese themselves. From the first overconfident tastes of victory, to the devastating losses that led to an unthinkable defeat amidst the ruins, the Pacific Theater of World War II is told through the Japanese's eyes. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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17 January 2005 (UK)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Good doc
13 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Overall, Japan's War In Colour is a rarity- and a must see for historians of war and war buffs alike. The scenes of color footage, especially that from American airplanes, is devastating- far better than not only contemporary war films, but anything Hollywood has put out since, and if one recalls the video game-like atmosphere surrounding the First Gulf War, it will surprise one to see how eerily similar scenes from half a century were, as we hear tailgunners lock in and obliterate their targets with great precision; sometimes even shooting fleeing Japanese civilians in fields or on beaches. But it is more than a mere filmic experience. It captures a human quality too often missing in war films, be they fictive or documentary. There is an ambiance to this film which, because it is in color, heightens the sense of reality and immediacy of the ghostly images before you. Almost all of these people are likely long dead, yet, there they are, not in grainy black and white, but, as the old TV slogan went, in 'living color.' Their living, then hollowed, expressions core into a viewer like only the naked image can.

Finally, this film also sets the record straight about the neglected 'Pacific War'- that it was even bloodier than the 'European War,' accounting for close to 50 million of the 80 million people killed. Such truths are often not touched in documentaries where political sensitivities are heightened, and for that reason I doubt this DVD will be a big seller in Japan. Yet, for these and many other unenumerated reasons, I cannot recommend Japan's War In Colour highly enough. And, as a cherry (blossom?) on top, it once again proved my gut has never has never let me down. Nor will it let yours down. It is simply a masterful film, in both conception and presentation. Take that, Mr. Burns!


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