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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > Aeronamic > Espionage > Military > War Planes! (NOVA WGBH Box Set)

War Planes! (NOVA WGBH Box Set)


Picture: C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C-* Episodes: B



Another solid offering of NOVA programs with a similar theme are gathered together in War Planes! This four DVD set deals with airplane technology on the cutting edge with related stories of the past, histories that led up to the innovations and one advanced plane of the past that is the target of a recovery mission.


Of the four, we already reviewed Battle Of The X-Planes a while ago, as you can read about at the following link:






Spies That Fly is a great installment about the rise of spy planes and other unmanned vehicles for that purpose and more. However, development has far from reached its goals and peaks, in part because of money, additional resources and innovations that just cannot be dictated. This is very entertaining and informative in a way that could make new fans for the show.


NOTE: Our first copy of Spies That Fly was defective and the replacement still had some tracking issues, though was still watchable. Double-check this disc if you get it.



Top Gun Over Moscow shows how advanced and far the former Soviet Air Force was and is in a way that would have been impossible when the USSR was still standing. As formidable as ever, we see the new flying techniques, learn of the amazing history of the Russian Air Force and see the stunning Su-27 in action. A solid installment that holds its own in this set.



B-29: Frozen In Time is the story of the attempted salvage of The Kee Bird, a particular B-29 trapped in Greenland for a half-century. We learn about the B-29 and this particular model, including how it got trapped in the first place, as a team led by pilot/fan Darryl Greenamyer trying to save and preserve the classic in one piece and transport it back.



The various aspect ratios of each disc are about equal in clarity and definition, with some 1.33 X 1, other letterboxed 1.78 X 1 and Spies That Fly for instance offering block style credits before going wide again. Detail is an issue in all, but they are not bad, though the documentary nature of each also varies the picture quality further. All also have Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with weak Pro Logic surrounds in some cases at best.


Except for X-Planes having more extras than usual, which you can read about at its own link, weblinks and DVD-ROM printable educational materials are the only extras. WGBH has done several of these boxes and this is one of the best. Be sure to catch them all, because they are that good.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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