Just a heads up: you probably shouldn’t bother.
I fell for this programme’s gimmick. It had an intriguing name. World War Weird was simply too much of a provocative name to pass up. The show has some intriguing nuggets of real and fact-checked information, before spoiling it all with wild speculation and unsupported theories that are dazzled before you with fancy editing and camerawork. It feels an awful lot like it belongs on The History Channel. You know, when it stopped being about history and started doing shows about aliens and stuff. I should’ve known what I was walking into I suppose.
Straight from the get-go there are immediate warning signs being triggered in my brain. American-style over-the-top choppy and overly dramatic editing is coupled with an overly dramatic and irritating voice over. The camera angles for the “talking heads” are at jaunted angles with high contrast lighting and zoom in dramatically as sensationalist claims are dangled it front of us like an adult jingling shiny keys in front of a baby. Luckily, most of these claims turn out to be untrue (many by the programme’s own admission) but will they hook the naïve? I suppose so. It’s like the Daily Mail, but telly.
The programme opens with Nazi U-boats approaching the Irish coast. After a short battle with the British (of which there is footage) a “giant sea monster” supposedly swallows a sinking ship…. yet no footage exists to back this part of the story up. Strange that. The show then attempts to back up the sea monster claims by showing us the existence of the recently discovered “Colossal Squid”; however at a maximum length of 50 feet it seems highly unlikely this pretty big squid can swallow a U-Boat. All the flashy editing in the world won’t make it possible.
Perhaps the most irritating aspect of this show is the lack of distinction between what is real footage and what is fake re-enacted footage. I use the term “re-enacted” loosely here… I do not personally believe that showing a real WW2 sea battle and cutting it in with fake footage of a “giant sea monster” gives your allegations any more weight. It may also be worth pointing out that many of the dial-a-quote “experts” on this show are simply subtitled as “journalists” which makes me just as qualified as them to talk about giant sea monsters.
Later in the World War Weird saga Hitler is accused of making poor war decisions based off of Mystic Meg and/or Crystal Meth… it’s a good thing he’s dead because I think that may be libellous. The poor decision refers to his “halt order” which ceased a possibly war-winning attack on the British Army at Dunkirk in 1940. The show then later speculates that secret higher-up connections between Churchill’s aristocratic cabinet and Hitler’s Third Reich may have been the cause for this move. Stranger things have happened I suppose. A quick Google search actually reveals that Hitler didn’t even really make the decision. A couple of his field marshals did and he just authorised it. I guess Hitler is the baddie we all know and love to hate. It makes for better telly to say he did it because he was high and out of moustache cream.
World War Weird is a shame, because as aforementioned it documents some really interesting and factual events around World War II. It just ruins it all with sensationalism, wild speculation and stupid editing reminiscent of a Michael Bay film. I cannot lie to you – it felt like this programme was insulting my intelligence. That’s a pretentious comment to make, but I really felt as though this programme was treating me like a dim-witted child.
World War Weird is on Yesterday on Tuesdays at 20.00.