This review brought to you by Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Enterprise. We’ll pick you up…
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STUDIO: A&E Home Video
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 470 minutes
It’s twice as good as Battle 180.
The American and Japanese Imperial Navies of World War II, military experts and historians, surviving combatants.
Dusting off old footage and mixing it with new computer generated imagery and testimonials from people who were there and military experts, Battle 360 gives a fresh take on the Pacific Theatre of World War II as told from the deck of aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the most heavily decorated ship of the war. With a look reminiscent of Call of Duty and other video games, Battle 360 showcases some of the most incredible battles of World War II from Pearl Harbor to the Japanese surrender.
Petty Officer: “Captain, there seems to be some sort of unidentifiable laser light storm on the horizon.”
Captain: “Shit! Not again…!”
Battle 360 is cool, man. It’s like watching an hour’s worth of cut scene video game footage from Medal of Honor or Call of Duty in every episode. But much more than that, it’s a gripping, in-depth chronicle of the Pacific Theatre of World War II, the part of the war that doesn’t always get its due from movies and historical documentation. At the center of the show is the WWII aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, which holds the distinction of being pretty much the most heavily honored ship in American naval history. Enterprise was in some of the most pivotal battles of the war, including Midway, Guadalcanal and Santa Cruz.
Pilot #1: “I feel the need, the need for speed, baby! Woo-hoo!”
Pilot: 2: “Uh, Maverick, you realize our top speed is about 250…”
We learn early on that Enterprise and sister carriers Yorktown and Hornet weren’t at Pearl Harbor on that fateful Sunday when Japanese war planes devastated our navy and dragged us into WWII. We follow the ship as it sets out to prosecute our Pacific strategy against the Japanese as 1942 opens. We also learn that, early on, the Japanese had the distinct tactical advantage in terms of men and machines. At one point in fact, with the sinking of carriers Hornet and Yorktown, Enterprise was the only American carrier left in the entire Pacific. The show takes on a distinct Battlestar Galactica feel at times as you learn how close we were to losing the war.
Japanese Pilot #1: “Uh, sir, what the hell is that?”
Japanese Pilot #2: No! It’s our final countdown!
*cue Europe song*
Nevertheless, even though heavily damaged on numerous occasions, the Enterprise and its crew persevered throughout the majority of the war and was instrumental in several key stunning victories over the Japanese. Battle 360 takes you into the heart of each of those encounters, providing not only great tactical footage in all directions (hence the 360), but also testimonials from men who actually served on the vaunted ship and military experts. Since this is a History Channel show, you also get a great sense of the history that plays out here and how this one ship factored into a much larger effort. The testimonials from the military experts also sets the action into context nicely, but it’s the testimonials from the men who actually served on the ship that really gives a sense of the history of the Enterprise and the sacrifices that were made.
“Alright, who’s barbecuing near the munitions again?”
A couple of drawbacks to the show, however, are that at some point the budget must have run out for new footage because we get copious reuse of battle footage. Narrator Wally Kurth is also a bit overly-dramatic on occasion and I sometimes got the sense that the action was going to be set to a certain patriotic Toby Keith song. Be that as it may however, Battle 360 is a very well-made and innovative show that gives new life to history. I could see this appealing even to the Generation Z crowd with its video game feel and well-told stories.
Bodette: “Yessiree, once the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, we had to show those Kraut bastards that we were gonna put a boot in their ass and…”
Cameraman: “The Germans?”
Producer: “Don’t stop him, he’s on a roll…”
The packaging is a nice little metal tin with a four disc-offering. The shows are a mixture of archival footage that’s enhanced with graphics and CGI, so the show actually maintains a good consistency in terms of video quality that other documentary shows sometimes lack. The sound is also fine in Dolby Digital Stereo. No other languages nor subtitles however. There’s only one special feature: approximately 25 minutes of additional scenes on Disc 4.