D-DAY. 3D. NORMANDY, 1944, France, 2014. Narrated by Tom Brokaw. Directed by Pascal Vuong. 45 minutes. Rated PG (Mild Violence)
This 45 minute documentary, filmed in 3-D, was made in 2014 but now re-released for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Allies landing in Normandy, Jim the sixth, 1944, the invasion of Europe that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
This is a must for those interested in war history, World War II history, especially the war in Europe. (Obviously, with the limitations of running-time, not every aspect will be covered and audiences will have to supply their own memories, interests and responses to get the full value of the film.)
The basic structure of the film is asking the questions about the why and the how of the invasion, the where and the when and these chapters are indicated.
Obviously, the film draws on film footage of the time, footage of action especially in the air, the landings on the various beaches of Normandy, the attack and penetration into Normandy itself. And, there are a number of photos of the military leaders involved, of Eisenhower, Montgomery, Bradley, Patton… What makes these especially effective is that they have all been processed for depth presentation, for 3-D viewing.
This is particularly effective for action sequences, not only the landings, but especially the aerial sequences, planes almost flying over the shoulders of the audience!
There is a focuses on various individuals and their military presence, ordinary soldiers, the vigil of the invasion, the experience of the landing and subsequent penetration of the countryside, photos and voice-over.
There are also special effects to dramatise the strategies, maps highlighting the towns in Normandy, the need for the taking of Cherbourg, the approach to Caen and Bayeux.
Throughout the film, a voice-over (from television news presenter, Tom Brokaw) explains the variety of vehicles that were used, their origins and manufacture, the way that they were used – tanks, bulldozers, jeeps…
The film does show the hardship of the fighting, the number of dead and wounded, both Allies and French, but also shows the risks and some of the errors made in underestimation of the terrain and changing weather conditions. On the other hand, the coordinated planning is seen to be extraordinary, high command as well as locals able to remedy changes in weather, underestimation of German force…
The film is an experience, and immersion into that war experience, the realisation of the dangers for the world from the Nazi domination, the relief at the end of the war and the victory of the Allies.
And all on the IMAX screen and in 3-D.
Imax Released June 1st
Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.