Title – They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)
Director – Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)
Cast – Various World War 1 soldiers
Plot – Filmmaker Peter Jackson offers a whole new look at the life of a World War 1 British solider in his colorization of previously black and white footage of the war, accompanied by real narration by World War 1 soldiers.
“Alright boys, here it comes, we’re in the pictures”
Review by Eddie on 14/12/2018
Offering us all a chance to experience World War 1 in a way we’ve never seen or felt before, They Shall Not Grow Old is a labour of love for Lord of the Rings master Peter Jackson, who with the help of his talented team at his Wingnut Production Company have thoughtfully and painstakingly reimaged archival war footage into full colour and for the first time with added sound and voice effects, making these near on 100 year old pieces of film clips feel shockingly fresh.
It’s a stunning technical achievement and as the film transitions from stock footage of grainy black and white with voice overs, to full screen colour, it’s a transcending experience that gives Jackson’s documentary a magical quality but one also that is equally horrific, as he takes us deep into the horror of the trenches and refuses to shy away from the bloodthirsty and nightmarish nature of the first great war.
Confronting without a doubt, it’s a credit to Jackson and his editing team that they have managed to infuse Old with heart and soul through its various voices of soldiers talking about their lives on the front and what that meant in a day to day fashion but also showcase the shocking nature of the fight in Europe that saw these men slaughtered by the thousands, as well as battling horrific conditions, frostbite, rat plagues and days without ample rest.
Seeing these occurrences in colour and sound, whether it’s just the faces of soldiers taking some respite or the sadness of bodies lying lifeless across the battlefield, is a cinematic marvel, which also allows Jackson to be the best his been in a long time behind camera, finally finding a passion project that can bring out the best of the director we hadn’t seen for a number of years.
After the extreme disappointment of the three Hobbit films and the middling reactions to The Lovely Bones, Old once more showcases the best of the Kiwi director, whose eye for detail and ability to bring narrative to breathtaking life is wholly evident here and inspired by his family’s connection to the service, makes this a personal project that’s filled with heart, soul and love.
Final Say –
A must-watch for any history buff, They Shall Not Grow Old is a marvel of modern technology that pays homage to those that fought in World War 1 in a heartbreaking and moving fashion, in a way we’ve never seen before.
4 boxing matches out of 5