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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Making Marines
Making Marines
Discovery Channel // Unrated // July 24, 2007
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted October 8, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Documentary

Making Marines is a three-part documentary from the Discovery Military Channel. It is about the Marine Corps Boot Camp process and follows a group of recruits during their transition from civilians to becoming U.S. Marines. The documentary is very informative and will be of interest to military buffs and those looking to educate themselves about the hardships required in the most demanding branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

In order to become a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps, enlisted men and women must undergo boot camp at a recruit depot in Parris Island or San Diego. Male recruits east of the Mississippi river are sent to Parris Island and those west to San Diego. All females go to Parris Island. This documentary follows a group of young men and women (average age of nineteen) at Parris Island. The events take place from late summer to early fall of 2001. During the recruits' sixth week, the horrendous 9/11 attack occurs, which greatly affects the future Marines.

Boot camp takes a total of twelve weeks, of which is exhausting and taxing work. The process is divided into three phases. During which, recruits are put through the ringer and pushed to every limit. Some will drop out and others will only continue with a steadfast strength. At the end of the twelve weeks, they are or they aren't proud members of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The documentary is divided into three parts, corresponding to the three phases of boot camp.

  • Phase 1: focuses on the early weeks at boot camp. During this phase, the individuals are put through physical rigors to get up to snuff and imbued with the Marine Corps doctrine. Recruits learn what is expected of them and how to live as a Marine. One specific theme is that they are taught (in a way that the documentary refers to as cult-like) to take orders without thought, without doubt, and without hesitation.
  • Phase 2: picks up at week four of the recruits' training. During this phase, everyone has been accustomed to the Marine Corps way of life and some start to fall out because they do not make the grade. More hardships, including swimming tests (which is especially difficult for those who do not swim), first major physical fitness test, drill, weapons training, martial arts training, and more. One noticeable change from Phase 1 to Phase 2 is how the recruits refer to themselves. They stop speaking in the first person and use third person, referring to themselves as "this recruit". The final minutes of this episode detail the recruits' emotions following days after 9/11.
  • Phase 3: follows the recruits in the final moments of boot camp. They have nearly completed the long three month process towards becoming Marines. But there are still obstacles for them to face, which include the gas chamber, rappelling, and the Crucible (the final 54-hour training event).

Overall, Making Marines is a very interesting documentary that does well to detail the hardships that new recruits face at boot camp. The individual accounts are the attraction, as the pre-boot camp interviews to the post-boot camp discussions show how they have changed. For whatever reason they joined (to get out of a small town, to be a warrior, to go to college, etc.), they all learn the value of their efforts and take great pride in becoming Marines. For those of you who are military buffs or simply interesting in what boot camp is like, this documentary provides a solid account and provides it in an engaging manner.

The DVD

Video:
The video is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is decent; the image has a distinct grain and other noticeable visual defects. It is common to other television productions of this caliber.

Audio:
The audio is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The audio track is very simple and plain sounding. Dialogue is easily heard throughout the episodes. There is no support for subtitles or closed captioning.

Extras:
For special features, there is an additional documentary included. It is entitled "Parris Island Drill Instructions". The bonus documentary runs for approximately forty-five minutes and provides a closer look at Parris Island from the drill sergeants' perspective. The content focuses on the tough job (long hours, responsibility of shaping future Marines, etc.), how it affects the home life, etc.

Final Thoughts:
Making Marines is a three-part documentary that details the enduring process new recruits of the U.S. Marine Corps are put through. It follows several young recruits as they face hardships in adjusting to military life, going through extreme physical endurances, washing out, and finding out what they are really capable of. The documentary is entertaining and will provide a solid experience for those interested in the U.S. Armed Forces. It comes recommended.

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