Within minutes of the first explosion, video journalists hit the streets and began shooting videos of the tragedy as seen through the eyes of the people who were literally at "Ground Zero." For the next twenty-four hours ... more »and beyond they captured unforgetable moments of people as they experienced the unthinkable.« less
David Kusumoto | San Diego, CA United States | 12/16/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"However many good intentions, and the makers of this video have them by the truckload, "America 911" has to be one of the lowest grade "rush to market" products available associated with the 9.11.01 attacks.I have surveyed or reviewed nearly every item available with a direct or indirect link to the 9/11 attacks, and since this is, at present, the only "video" product out there, it suffers for being the "first" in its field.It isn't enough to talk about how awful and tragic 9/11 is. Very few in America disagree. But you can't put ANYTHING out there about 9/11 for sale and expect a buyer to overlook quality simply because its makers have "good intentions." A portion of the proceeds resulting from the sale of this item is going to charity. That's fine.But the video content in "America 911" is below average and the presentation is not very professional. The narration states the obvious, is poorly written, and exposes the lack of resources available by its makers. It looks and feels like a production with a "shoestring" budget. "America 911" should be labeled as a "tribute." It dedicates itself to the heroes of 9/11, but it is not a journalistic recap/summary of the day's events. There isn't enough going on here that can measure up to what a top network could have produced. So what's good about this video? Well, there's a lot of "man and woman on the street" interviews about how awful everything is. There's a lot of heroic "ground zero" footage and one particularly spectacular sequence involving a camerawoman (who we don't see), running into a shop to avoid a tidal wave of debris coming her way as the camera turns and points toward the window from the inside of the shop -- and a voice -- off camera, yells to the camerawoman, "get away from the window!" Then the cloudy wave rushes past with incredible denseness and speed that it's not an overstatement when you heard or read later that the skies truly turned as "black as night" after the towers fell. The other good sequence involves a man we see throughout the course of the day, not knowing if two members of his family who work at the Trade Center are alive or dead. Later in the program, he reveals that his sister made it out. Then after that, we see him again and we learn the fate of his mother. Is it good news or bad? Well, I won't spoil it for you if you intend to buy this video. Again, good intentions do not make a product immune to criticism. Other than the aforementioned two sequences, "America 911" carries the same theme repetitively, which is one of tribute and remembrance, with all the swear words cut out. I hated this. (If you're going to edit swear words out, why not bleep them out instead of replacing them with silence, momentarily jarring you into believing that there's something wrong with your television set?) If it were up to me, I would have left all the swear words in because they reflect how eyewitnesses felt. I'm not from the school that says you should edit (unless it's grisly bloody footage), any part of history to display on television, especially if the goal is to do the drama and accuracy of the day's events proper justice. It gets worse. "America 911" plays badly because of music and narration when none are required. Why the somber narration? Let the pictures and interviews speak for themselves. Ironically, the sequences that work best carry only title cards and people talking. No music, just people talking about what they're feeling and doing, with the images doing the rest of the work.Candidly, I expected a round-up of images and interviews provided by high-profile news sources other than those used for this mostly "ground-level" production. I expected a video consisting of equal parts journalism and tribute, without stuff purposely designed to pull your heart strings. The day speaks for itself so we don't need music to add to it unless it's a quietly played national anthem underneath. I expected "America 911" to recap the day as we remembered it, with added footage we never saw. And the way most of us remembered 9.11 who weren't there, was through the medium of network news television. We see a glimpse of people watching CNN from the streets, but no video images that could have easily been pulled from NBC, ABC, CBS or CNN and properly "credited." Since the producers of this "rush to market" video had always planned to donate some of their proceeds to charity, why didn't they bother to get those clips? So sadly, you don't see Brokaw, Jennings, Dan Rather or even Aaron Brown on CNN. You don't see the Pentagon in ruins. This is all about New York, but in a way that is almost hard to forgive. Why? Because worst of all, you DON'T SEE MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI. In fact, he's not even MENTIONED. He doesn't exist. Surely footage of the mayor, from a designated "pool" media camera, could have been inserted to put the day's events in proper context. To leave him out is incomprehensible.I thought I was buying a journalistic video re-cap of the day's events. But at this date, a four-star, professionally done documentary of this horrible day is not available for sale -- and the two best I've seen -- are available for free on the History Channel (if you can learn in advance when it will air) and the second best has aired only ONCE on Public Television. Of all the books, magazines, calendars, special edition newspapers, etc., that have been put out since 9/11/01, ONLY A FEW are worth buying. If you want something for "eternity" to have on your bookshelf, I recommend the following, ALL available at Amazon.com. Some of the 20 or so items I've bought or surveyed were terribly disappointing, which only proves again, never judge anything by its cover:1. "One Nation" (by the editors of Life Magazine with a foreword by Mayor Giuliani).2. "September 11, 2001 -- A Record of Tragedy, Heroism and Hope" (by the editors of New York Magazine).3. "The World Trade Center: A Tribute" (by Bill Harris).There are other tributes to the Twin Towers and the rescuers that are fine but are just that, "tributes," and the type of items that are best labeled as "souvenirs" of great quality but lacking substance. The above three are the BEST because they mix substance and tribute with class. Books about terrorism and the Islamic religion recently released I've left out because I haven't read them from to cover to cover and/or because they are mostly analytical "think pieces" without illustrations.Don't get the wrong idea. I desperately wanted to LIKE this video. No one buys a product rooting for it to fail... But this one does. Save your money until the day comes when it becomes more "politically correct" and economically viable for the History Channel, The Learning Channel or PBS to make available, those comprehensive DOCUMENTARIES they aired about 9/11/01!"
Mark Wasielewski | Racine, Wisconsin United States | 05/12/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"When I ordered this DVD, I was expecting to have some of the footage that was shown on TV that day and the following morning. Footage like the first airplane crashing into tower one, or one of several scenes of the second plane hitting tower two.
I was expecting to see the collapse of both towers. None of this was on this DVD, with exception to the second plane hitting which used the most obscure shot available.
I wanted to listen to the President's response shortly after the attack. I wanted to hear who was responsible, how the plan was executed, and who was involved.
Overall my opinion is that this DVD [stinks] big time. I wasted my money on a shotty DVD that only brings heatbreaking stories of people at Ground Zero that day. This is a very disapppointing DVD. ..."
Quite Good / Quite Professional
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 03/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I hesitated to purchase this DVD due to some horrid reviews here. But I got it anyway, and was pleasantly surprised! I liked this September 11th presentation very much! You get a true sense of being on the streets in Manhattan when the tragedy occurred. Good use of sound .... non-stop sirens, the shocked reactions of bystanders in the streets, and [reminiscent of November 22, 1963] several shots of crowds gathered around car radios listening intently to the latest news bulletins.This DVD, in my opinion, offers a very good, first-hand look at the true horror of 9/11.The video quality is excellent, too! With good, crisp editing.There are a couple chapters at the end of the program dealing with the aftermath of the disaster [post-9/11]. These latter scenes are a bit on the dry side, but still interesting (and heartwarming), as we witness various individuals pitching in to help during the hour of need.Overall, a good review of a horrific September day."
Pam Yoder | Manhattan, NY United States | 12/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The video is that day. From beginning to end. It is a keepsake, a rememberance. It's what really happened.. not just the news images of the day but what it was really like for anyone within a mile of Ground Zero. I live in the City, and I still can't believe what has happened. But this journey through that day helps come to terms with the attack and the emotional aftermath."
It's Not That Bad
Frank | Jersey City, NJ | 03/02/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The 9/11 DVD is OK. The DVD was ment to show what it was like on the ground that day and it does. The first 35min. of it is great, after it drags out. Hate to use the word boring, but you'll loose interest fast towards the end. It's not a complete dud as a documentary."