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DVD Review: 11/15/02

Friday, November 15, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

HBO's 'Brothers'

HBO's 10-part miniseries "Band of Brothers" arrived on home video ($109.98) and DVD ($119.99) last week, its critically acclaimed story augmented by DVD extras.

Based on the nonfiction best seller of the same name by the late Stephen Ambrose, with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg as executive producers, "Band of Brothers" tells the story of Easy Company, the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army.

All the accolades (the episodic stories and the performances, especially Damian Lewis) and flaws (it's hard to tell the uniformed soldiers apart) still apply to the program, which comes handsomely packaged in a six-disc set, housed in a metallic case.

Each disc contains two episodes, except the sixth, which is devoted to bonus features, including "We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company," a documentary about the real-life soldiers featured in "Brothers" that also aired last year on HBO.

The DVD boxed set pulls all the bonus material together, including a "Field Guide" from HBO's Web site and a 30-minute feature on "The Making of Band of Brothers."

None of the "Brothers" episodes come with an optional commentary track. It would have been interesting to hear Hanks comment on the "Band of Brothers" episode he directed.

The closest the DVD set comes to commentary is actor Ron Livingston's "Video Diaries" about the boot camp for actors before production began.

"They can put you in jail if you say 'Screw you' in actual boot camp," Livingston says. "But if you're in actor boot camp, they just call Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks."

Some vignettes are amusing and all show the actors with their guard down. But it's too bad the diary didn't continue into the series' production.

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