However, the film is a war film, and consequently has some terribly bloody and violent battles. There is nothing here that quite equals the gore visited upon the audience in the opening of Saving Private Ryan, but Zwick doesn't soft sell anything either. The film opens with the terribly bloody battle of Antietam, and climaxes with an ill-fated attack on Fort Wagner.
Save Shaw, the majority of the characters the film depicts are composites, they are amalgams of several different individuals and meant as stand-ins for ideals and points of view. Creating such stand-ins often leads to shallow characters, but Jarre and Zwick manage to avoid that pitfall, instead giving the audience fully-rounded three dimensional characters. Perhaps the best of them is Andre Braugher's Thomas Searles. Searles is a free African American who grew up with Shaw and ends up under Shaw's command. He finds himself with a completely new and different perspective of the world, encountering African Americans unlike those he has previously known and seeing a new, and not a positive, side of his lifelong friend.
The biggest disappointment with this film is the quality of the release itself. There are not only bits of dirt and imperfections in the print itself, but in at least one scene the coloring changes – what were gold buttons on a soldier's uniform in one shot turn silver in the next. While it is possible that such a change is due to the length of time it took to film the scene and the changing angle of the sun, fixing that would have been easy. The sound is none too great either — even on the battlefield one does not find themselves surrounded by the sounds of war as one would expect.
The Blu-ray contains behind-the-scenes featurettes, a director's commentary, deleted scenes, as well as historical accounts of the 54th. All of them however have appeared on previous releases. The only new special feature here is a "Virtual Battlefield" that allows one to click on certain map points and learn more about the 54th and the Civil War.
This entire release of Glory doesn't do justice to the film. There certainly seems to be a lack of effort put into the release – one can't even bookmark scenes from the film. The movie is, certainly, a good one, but if one already owns it on DVD there is certainly no reason to "upgrade" to this Blu-ray edition.