Based on the book by Stephen E. Ambrose, Band Of Brothers is the Golden Globe-winning 10-part HBO series about the volunteer parachute regiment who found themselves at the forefront of World War II. Starting with their rigorous training in Georgia in 1942, it recounts the achievements of the elite rifle company from D-Day to the fall of Nazi Germany, and the surrender of Japan. Part 1—Currahee (73:14), Part 2—Day Of Days (52:01), Part 3—Carentan (65:21), Part 4—Replacements (59:43), Part 5—Crossroads (55:42), Part 6—Bastogne (67:13), Part 7—The Breaking Point (72:50), Part 8—The Last Patrol (58:59), Part 9—Why We Fight (58:11), and Part 10—Points (62:15). (Gary Reber)
Special features include In The Field With The Men Of Easy Company, which is an interactive field guide for each part; In The Words Of Easy Company—an optional commentary by the Easy Company veterans; plus previews of all ten parts. These features appear on Disc One through Disc Five. Disc Six contains the documentary We Stand Alone Together: The Men Of Easy Company (SD 77:33), Behind The Scenes: The Making Of Band Of Brothers (HD 29:32), Ron Livingston's Video Diaries shot during the making of Band Of Brothers in 12 parts (SD 56:05), and the premiere in Normandy (SD 03:01).
The 1080p VC-1 picture quality purposely reflects a dated, rough appearance with washed-out sepia overtones in which brown hues are prevalent. Thus, color fidelity is intentionally distorted. Overall, the images appear natural, and compared to the actual HBO HD broadcast, the picture looks far more pleasing. Resolution is a bit soft, but overall sharpness and clarity in close-ups are rendered well. Fleshtones appear touched up at times, exhibiting an unnatural appearance, but at others times they look perfectly natural. Skies are often gray, and bright sunny daylight is subdued. Blacks are deep and shadow delineation is excellent. Noise and other artifacts, including edge enhancement, are not too noticeable, except for slight grain. Overall, dimensionally is excellent. The quality is consistent throughout the series, presented on five discs. The cinematography is superb and creates realism that is satisfying throughout. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-soundtrack, while well recorded, sounds a bit dated, perhaps intentionally. Slightly distorted, and at times muffled, the sound is not as refined and clear as it could have been. Dialogue is generally intelligible throughout but far forward in level, as is the center channel content compared to the other channels. Front-channel directionality, with planes flying in various directions, gunfire, and other sound effects is often impressive. At times the surrounds ignite with aggressive directionalized energy. This is especially true during intense fighting scenes. Such directional elements and smooth pans really are impressive. At times the soundfield is holosonic® with excellent surround envelopment, both aggressive and subtlety ambient. Bass extension during war scenes is deep and solid, extending to near or below 25 Hz in all channels, as well as the LFE .1 channel. The music score is sweeping and nicely presented. Overall, there are no glaring inconsistencies between the episodes on the five discs. The added DTS lossless soundtrack is a real plus to what otherwise is typically Dolby Digital lossy compressed soundtracks on television series. (Gary Reber)