The Liberator review – a well-woven war story that is also a technical achievement 500 day of combat.

November 10, 2020
Daniel Hart 1
Netflix, TV Reviews
4.5

Summary

Not only does The Liberator remind audiences of their freedoms, but it also reminds them that as a human race, we are one. It’s a well-measured reminder in a world that is slowly becoming divisive in intense political times.

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4.5

Summary

Not only does The Liberator remind audiences of their freedoms, but it also reminds them that as a human race, we are one. It’s a well-measured reminder in a world that is slowly becoming divisive in intense political times.

This review of Netflix limited series The Liberator contains no spoilers. The war animated series will be released on the platform on November 11, 2020. 

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.


The Liberator is a well-woven war story, but it’s also a technical achievement; not just because of the animation that is delivered but because it manages to succinctly capture the essence of war through many mediums of colours and grains. It manages to capture emotions and lingering thoughts that are interpreted either by expression or the odd, eery silence. It’s a feat achieved via an animation that makes it significantly impressive. The animation is built upon a new technology called Trioscope, which is essentially a hybrid between live-action filming techniques and animation styles. It’s evident from the offset that there’s something uniquely different about The Liberator, and the difference is a welcome one.

The four-part Netflix series is based on a true story that follows Captain Felix Sparks and his regiment that is coolly named “Thunderbirds” — they were the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Division who were in combat for an intense 500 days. Each chapter represents a different moment in the timeline during World War Two, as the Americans entered the fray and helped out Allied forces. The strong themes that shine immediately are the discourse for American minorities. World War Two was a turbulent time in America if you were a minority; you couldn’t share a beer with a fellow white American friend in public; it was frowned upon. The Liberator demonstrates how, in the most desperate and violent times, people come together, regardless of race or beliefs. It’s ironically a well-timed Netflix release; although we live in less violent times, we are still compelled by a culture that intensely debates along racial lines.

Netflix’s The Liberator does marvelously well to demonstrate how World War Two worked. Sparks leads many missions with his men, combatting various environments and plucking up a level of bravery that is nothing short of incredible. The war series keeps the audience tense. There’s always the threat of a German ambush. There’s always a glimmer of hope that can easily be extinguished by a cruel version of events. There’s always an inkling that a soldier may have a psychotic breakdown as the war takes its toll physically and mentally. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that this is an animated series.

As a four-chapter series, you often wonder if the creators could have given audiences more, or if they can make more war series’ and make it anthological. The depth and care that went into understanding the war are appreciated; from ceasefires to prisoners of war to surrender pleas to the tragic crimes against humanity. For four episodes, the creators managed to encapsulate the experience of a group of soldiers from a personal perspective. The overwhelming sense of brotherhood and impending loss shines through the unprecedented animation style.

And from a war perspective, it is “seen-before,” admittedly. We’ve been given plenty of World War narratives, but the key is the emotional output that is generated. Regardless of familiarity, if a story can touch the audience, then it’s a winner. The Liberator wins at that rather easily.

Not only does The Liberator remind audiences of their freedoms, but it also reminds them that as a human race, we are one. It’s a well-measured reminder in a world that is slowly becoming divisive in intense political times.


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1 thought on “The Liberator review – a well-woven war story that is also a technical achievement

  • November 11, 2020 at 10:12 pm
    Permalink

    I’ve only seen the first two episodes yet, but this is an excellent show. Much better than I anticipated it to be.

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