Reviewed byatlasmbVote: 9/10/10
The first episode of this ten-episode documentary by Ken Burns and LynnNovick sets the table with a history lesson spanning 1858 to 1961. Acomprehensive and insightful accounting, it begins with the Frenchconquest of Indochina and ends about the time that JFK is elected.Viewers are led through the complexities of Vietnamese history in a waythat highlights the pivot points that resulted in the conflict we callthe Vietnam War. This includes the partitioning of the territory intonorthern and southern states separated by a demilitarized zone.
Episode two details developments through the Kennedy presidency.Numerous American failures are iterated. At this point, the death of 47Americans (total) was considered a failure.
It remains to be seen how subsequent episodes will present the war andfracturing American sentiments at home, but so far the narrative feelsfairly objective and without political agenda. I will return to updatethis review as the series continues.
I am looking forward to more first hand accounts and evocative periodmusic.
Reviewed byTail_End_CharlieVote: 9/10/10
Burns, Novick, and their team committed years of research to thisworthwhile project, expressed in 10 episodes. If I had to sum up myexperience in watching 5 episodes thus far, I would say that thisprogram is casting a glaring light at how little I knew about this war.
Just as bracing as the war imagery is the multiplicity of interviews...Burns and Novick wisely feature all sides to speak forth. The recall ofcombat experience is expressed by soldiers (both sides), families,POWs, journalists, and activists. As might be expected, some of whatthe soldiers express is horrifying.
The tape recordings of several US Presidents and their war advisors arean essential part "The Vietnam War". As is necessary, this program usesan abundance of war film clips. But be advised that many of these clipsare woven together, acting as a backdrop to referenced battles andspecific locations. The approach of utilizing a collage of (possibly)disparate film fragments might water down the label "documentary" forthis film.
The soundtrack is quite apt, yet predictable at times. Seeing that mostviewers will be PBS supporters (who tend to be center, andleft-of-center), these songs will not only be familiar, but remind usof the musical guideposts which informed our lives. On a somewhatrelated note, I'm curious how conservatives will perceive the tone andapproach of this film.
More than a few viewers will ask themselves "can a film like this bepresented in a genuinely objective manner?" For many years now, thewide majority of people would agree that this war should not havehappened, and it's a difficult task for any director to not infuse afilm with their personal viewpoints. As another reviewer noted, it'sobvious that the sentiment of this film is most assuredly against thewar.
Finally, I'll leave you with a quote:
"It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieksand groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, moredesolation. War is hell." - General William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-91)
Reviewed bydigitalbeachbumVote: 9/10/10
I remember seeing news reports on the television when I was a child.Vietnam was one of those places my parents didn't want me to see. Sooff went the television during the six o'clock news reports. I was toremain sterile to the death.
Ken Burns has made some very important documentaries and one of myfavorites was about Baseball. He is a thoroughly complete producer ofhis projects and his team of researchers try to leave no stonesunturned. The efforts are not always perfect but they are more oftenvery detailed.
The Vietnam war has been a long and blood road of destruction for allof those who attempted to control the land from southern China to theS. China Sea. It was invaded by the French over one hundred years agoand in 1986 underwent reforms to unify the country.
Ken Burns covers a lot of pre-political subjects showing how mistakeson both sides eventually leads to the deaths of millions of people. Awar which is not needed but is desired by those who seek power andcontrol with their greed.
America is eventually brought in to the fight under false pretenses oftrying to stop Communism. How many times would this war have beenavoided if underlings of the US Government would have passed alongletters of intent from one leader to another? Simple acts of ignoranceand stupidity by CIA agents or secretaries who make decisions for anentire nation?
While some might find this series less than desirable, it attempts tobring forth the reality of a situation with open eyes. It attempts toshow a timeline of events with all the different contributors of chaos.Viewers need to step aside from thinking of any nation as being thejustified. Even the Vietnamese killed Vietnamese and destroyed theirland and murdered their people in an attempt for complete control.
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's ten-part, 18-hour documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been told on film. Visceral and immersive, the series explores the human dimensions of the war through revelatory testimony of nearly 80 witnesses from all sides-Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as combatants and civilians from North and South Vietnam. Ten years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. THE VIETNAM WAR features more than 100 iconic musical recordings from greatest artists of the era and haunting original music from ...