Monday, May 23, 2005

Band of Brothers

Over the last few weeks I watched the "Band of Brothers" mini-series for the second time. Based on Stephen Ambrose's book of the same title, the ten-part epic follows the men of Easy Company from paratrooper training, through the battles at Normandy and Bastogne and finally into Germany and Austria at the conclusion of WWII. The series earned high ratings for HBO and wide critical acclaim when it aired in 2001. I would recommend to anyone who has not seen it (and equally to those who have not seen it in a few years), to rent the dvds and watch them sequentially.

The quick pace of the action and storylines combine with the enormous cast to make B.O.B. easy to get into but difficult to follow closely. Rewatching some of the more chaotic episodes (particularly the drop on D-Day and the closing of the Battle of the Bulge) cleared up much of the confusion. While the battle scenes are powerful, it is the emotional and physical toll that war takes on these men that becomes the central focus of the series. By experiencing different periods of the war through the eyes of various men in the company, the viewer is able to learn more about what really went on at the front lines during the advance through Western Europe. Perhaps more exciting--and certainly more emotionally involving--is to learn how the men interacted with each other through alternating losses and triumphs. One cannot breeze through the ten-plus hours of this epic and fully appreciate the story that Ambrose captured. Through the help of the dvd bonuses (character bios, battle outlines and background) and by simply taking the time to become involved in the lives of the men of Easy Company, it is possible to get the full experience out of "Band of Brothers."


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