America: The Story Of Us

Featured In Issue 154, February 2011

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
A&E Home Video
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Not Rated
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Color With B/W Sequences
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Not Indicated
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Nick Green, Andrew Chater, Jenny Ash, Clare Beavan, Renny Bartlett, Marion Milne & Bruce Hepton
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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A riveting adventure of how America was invented, this Stunning Blu-ray™ version of America The Story Of Us focuses on the people, ideas, and events that built our nation, covering 400 years of American history in the most extensive and in-depth television series ever produced by HISTORY™. From the rigors of linking the continent by wagon trails to the transcontinental railway, the engineering of steel-structured buildings, to landing on the moon, this epic 12-part series is a grand cinematic vision of how this country was built. America The Story Of Us brings this story to life firsthand through patriots, frontiersmen slaves, abolitionists, Native Americans, pioneers, immigrants, entrepreneurs, and inventors. From the revolutionary war that birthed the nation to the civil war that divided it, and to the making of the modern world, America The Story Of Us is an epic, dramatic, heartbreaking, and triumphant journey that reminds us that American history truly belongs to we, the people. A must see! (Tricia Spears)

Special features on Disc One include the following featurettes: American Revolution (HD 03:21), Declaration Of Independence (HD 03:52), and George Washington (HD 02:21 ). Disc Two contains the featurettes Civil War (HD 04:06), Transcontinental Railroad (HD 03:38), The Statue Of Liberty (HD 03:12), and Henry Ford And The Model T (HD 03:21). There are no special features on Disc Three.

The 1080p AVC picture is characteristic with other History Channel productions, with variations in source footage. The interview and some reenactment footage is contemporary in visual character, with well-balanced color and contrast, as well as decent resolution. The CGI elements are variable in complexity and visual quality. Stock footage is quite varied in quality, at times displaying softness and artifacts, such as grain and shimmer. Still, overall, this is a remarkable documentary presentation that is fully engaging and educational throughout. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is problematic, with an overblown .1 LFE channel, which is best left off or reduced in level by more than 10 dB! Otherwise, the pounding is irritatingly loud compared to an acceptable normal balance with the other channels. This unfortunate problem occurs throughout the three-disc miniseries. Liev Schreiber's narrative voice is completely buried under the loud low-frequency assault, and at times is still strange to hear, even with the .1 LFE channel off. When better balanced, the overall spatial impact is engaging, with an effective surround presence. The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 rendering is better balanced but suffers from a sound effect imbalance. Overall, the unfortunate imbalances degrade the listening experience, whose elements otherwise had far greater potential for an outstanding sonic experience. (Gary Reber)