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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > History > Politics > Assassination > Journalism > War > Biography > Science > Outer Space > 3D > Dirty Wars (2013/MPI DVD)/Galactic Adventures Double Feature: 3D Sun/Mars 3D (2007, 2004/Image Blu-ray 3D)

Dirty Wars (2013/MPI DVD)/Galactic Adventures Double Feature: 3D Sun/Mars 3D (2007, 2004/Image Blu-ray 3D)

3D Picture: B- Picture: C/B- Sound: C+/B- Extras: B/C Films: B/C+

Technology, the double-edged sword. It is great to have it, but the innovations in science can be used for war, peace, defense or any combination of the above. The following show how these intersect.

Richard Romley's Dirty Wars (2013) is an excellent look at the amazing work of journalist Jeremy Scahill, whose book on the Blackwater organization is definitive, disturbing, innovative and a vital text in understanding the bizarre and sometimes awful implications of that affair. Now, we follow the man into the Middle East to uncover what was officially a secret military operation until the U.S. Government and Navy SEALS with the approval of President Obama eliminated Osama bin Laden for good.

This time, Scahill discovers JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, a special military unit who will go after any and all targets considered a threat to the U.S., but we see the long road to this. From going deeply into territory in the Middle East most people should stay out of to find out how targets were chosen. In media appearances soon after, we know he is onto something when Jay Leno makes a strange paranoia joke/comment on Bill Maher's HBO series and an older man goes into a strange, phony diatribe about how wrong he is without even beginning to address or even begin to hear what Scahill is saying or revealing. He has the class and dignity not to respond to these ploys to his great credit, but unintentionally allows these people to hang themselves ion camera, proven totally wrong as soon as bin Laden is killed.

The other great triumph here besides showing Scahill as on of our best journalists is seeing the greatness of real solid, hard evidence, hard science journalism at work, all the more impressive since there has been a war against it since the 1980s. Towards the end, an Islamic American who spoke against the 9/11 Attack has turned against the U.S. and is targeted, then his young son follows. Romley and Scahill rightly question how far the U.S. can legally go and target its own citizens for assassination, but instead of (as they had been doing throughout this documentary) going all the way in explaining their point of view, they allow the program to take a cheap turn that undermines the whole otherwise impressive 86 must-see minutes.

We keep getting brief montages of children still alive set to strings several times as if we are supposed to respond by pity to rise up and set a new law immediately. It is a bad idea and so problematic that any second in these moments, I thought we were going to hear a voice as us to donate money to children who are hungry around the world. Try more exposition next time!

Extras include a Making Of featurette entitled Breaking Out Of The Green Zone and the Original Theatrical Trailer.

If having military technology to fight killers and serious security threats is important and even sometimes fascinating, know the money we spend on space exploration is tied into it and both come from the same innovations. We have been covering space titles on occasion and in over 100 Blu-ray 3D titles, a few have surfaced there as well. We also know the subject has made more than a few IMAX films possible and that includes some cheesy cash-ins.

Though neither of the shorts in Galactic Adventures Double Feature: 3D Sun/Mars 3D (2007, 2004) are IMAX release, they remind us of the many no-name Blu-ray 3D titles that have been issued that did not help the format, were quickly forgotten and were barely reviewed in what has been about 500 Blu-ray 3D titles to date, However, these are not cynical sellout release, but the kind of 3D programming you would find at science centers, et al, trying to give serious presentations on their respective subjects. 3D Sun (2007) is the slightly more interesting of the two simply because the subject is not covered as much and I like the solid of too short program. The more common sounding Mars 3D (2004) is a rare 720p program making it to Blu-ray and may remind you of the Disney release Roving Mars IMAX that was one of their first Blu-rays. You can see our coverage at this link:


That only runs 40 minutes and may be a little longer, but the presentation here is a little more consistent by default and 3D definitely better than the 2D only on that release. Still, fans of the subject will want to see both and despite the older HD definition configuration, the big moment here is to see in 3D the panoramic imaging of the planet the little NASA Mars Rovers delivered. Of course, this is not the first time NASA has issued 3D images of the actual planet and you can see the older filmed footage in 3D on the Blu-ray 3D edition of Mars In 3D: Images Of The Viking Mission. Read more about it at this link:


So as a result, this is a decent double feature worth your time and makes for a smart combo that is not just a nicely labeled but empty release.

Extras include trailers for more Blu-ray 3D releases from Image, especially IMAX programming.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image presentation on Wars mixes some archival video with mostly new digital (and what has to be some HD) footage throughout to mixed effect. The video was often shot under amazing circumstances to the point that fidelity took the back seat to the makers not getting killed. It is well edited too and its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix has mostly simple stereo and some monophonic sound, with surrounds usually reserved for music.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on 3D Sun and 720p 1.78 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Mars 3D are about even with each other with limited ghosting and alignment issues, though it would look better if it were shot in IMAX, on film or one of the better HD formats. Detail limits, minor errors, staircasing and softness is a more noticeable in and between the 1080p 1.78 X 1 2D digital High Definition image transfer on 3D Sun and 720p 1.78 X 1 2D digital High Definition image transfer on Mars 3D, though the latter has that great panorama of Mars in 3D. Both have decent,. If not always stellar DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix presentations.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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