I will not watch The War. I love history. I love documentaries.
Quick disclaimer – I’ve produced two (sports) documentaries and collaborated on three others. I am envious of Ken Burns.
Every seven years, this Mr. Burns dude surfaces. Using his Ken Burns Press Tour Thesauruses, he spits out phrases like; “fabric of our society”, “spiritually richer”, “mosaic tapestry”.
Now, are we asking for a definitive history of WW II? Uh, yeah. If you’re going to produce almost 15 hours of programming, let’s put the content into context. Burns calls The War an “epic poem”. FOR FIFTEEN HOURS.
“We left out tons of stuff. There are no German-Americans. No (military) women. No one from the Navy or Merchant Marines”. He also does not include anything from Over There (I know – WW I). The filmmaker is a smart guy. He realized he could title it The War and not have to include the rest of the World.
Already the criticism has started. The Latin community was enraged he did not include anything from America’s largest ethnic minority group. Instead of weaving the Latin stories into the FIFTEEN HOURS, he simply added 28 minutes of material before the credits . . . “so that it doesn’t interrupt the vision of our film” (another entry in the KBPT Thesauruses).
His previous projects were much older (West, Civil War, Jazz.) The subjects had no footage, nor could he interview first-hand participants. For The War, he has both but . . .
I will not watch 15 hours of slow pans and zooms of photographs while some celebrity (Tom Hanks) reads another letter from the front while Mr. Burns adds period music and sound effects.