Plot: The filmmakers at MacGivillray Freeman have taken us inside some incredible journeys all over the world, to exotic locales and into unique lives, so it makes sense they would spotlight the Marines. This piece lets us learn about the brutal process of the Marines recruitment and training programs, so that we can see first hand how these men and women are put through hell to forge them into formidable weapons that help protect the free world. After the training ends, the Marines are sent into some of the most dangerous battlefield scenarios possible, risking life and limb to serve their nation and watch over each other. This is unprecedented access inside the elite ranks of the Marines, with narration from Gene Hackman, himself a Marine, so he has a deep appreciation for the subject matter here.
Entertainment Value: This is a well crafted documentary, but I wasn’t as taken with We, the Marines as most of the IMAX documentaries, as the visual grandeur just wasn’t on the usual scale. I appreciated the subject matter and inside look at the Marines culture, however. I just don’t think the visuals draw in the audience like IMAX is often able to, though some scenes do capture that magic, such as the sweeping shots of helicopters and larger scale moments. There are still striking visuals to be had, but they seem more subtle in We, the Marines, versus the more obvious, immersive visuals found in most of the nature themed documentaries. But as far as the overall experience, this piece does a great service of showing us the rigorous training process the Marines endure and a look at how the troops are used in battle. I appreciated how the emphasis on group bonds and dynamics is present, given how crucial that is to the culture of the Marines. This one runs just over forty minutes, so it doesn’t go super in depth, but is in line with most IMAX productions. I think We, the Marines is a solid watch and those into documentaries, IMAX, and especially military themes will be interested.
The Disc: Shout Factory’s release includes a 4k UHD version, which looks terrific and offers a substantial uptick over the also included Blu-ray disc. A few scenes have some minor issues, but most of the movie looks excellent and shows the kind of super fine detail we want from 4k. This includes even the most minute details, from subtle fabric textures to dings on helicopters shown in crystal clear fashion. I wouldn’t rate this as reference level due to the small concerns in a few scenes, but fans of IMAX should appreciate this superb presentation. The extras include about 20 minutes of Marine interviews, as well as some IMAX trailers.