They Shall Not Grow Old (2018) Poster

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10/10
We DO remember them.
bob-the-movie-man11 November 2018
"Trapped in a Charlie Chaplin World". So says director Peter Jackson in a post-screening discussion with Mark Kermode, describing early black and white documentary footage. Whereas modern film runs at 24 fps, most of the old footage is hand cranked, with speeds as low as 12 fps which leads to its jerky nature. Jackson in this project with the Imperial War Museum took their WW1 footage and put it through a 'pipeline process. This cleaned-up and restored the original footage; used clever computer interpolation to add in the missing 6 to 12 frames per second; and then colourised it.

The results are outstanding. Jackson wisely focuses the film on the specific slice of WW1 action from the trenches. And those anonymous figures become real, live, breathing humans on screen. It is obviously tragic that some (and as commented by Jackson, many in one scene) are not to be breathing humans for much longer.

These effects take a while to kick in. The early scenes in the documentary are in the original black and white, describing the recruitment process, and how many of the recruits were under-age. (To explain the varied comments in the film, they should have been 18, although officially shouldn't have been sent overseas until 19).

It is when the troops arrive in France that we suddenly go from black-and-white to the fully restored and colourised footage, and it is a gasp-inducing moment.

All of the audio commentary is from original BBC recordings of war veterans recounting their actual experiences in the trench. Some sound like heroes; some sound like rogues; all came out changed men. Supporting music of WW1 ditties, including the incredibly rude "Mademoiselle from Armentières" over the end credits, is provided by Plan 9.

But equally impressive is the dubbing of the characters onscreen. Jackson employed forensic lip-readers to determine what the soldiers on-screen were saying, and reproduced the speech using appropriate regional accents for the regiments concerned. Jackson also recounts how the words associated with a "pep-talk" speech to troops by an officer he found on an original slip of paper within the regimental records: outstanding. Added sound effects include real-life shelling by the New Zealand army. It all adds to the overall atmosphere of the film.

The film itself is a masterpiece of technical innovation that will change in the future the way in which we should be able to see this sort of early film footage forever. As a documentary it's near-perfection. But if I have a criticism of the cinema showing I attended it is that the 3D tended to detract rather than add to the film. Perhaps this is just my eyesight, but 3D always tends to make images slightly more blurry. Where (like "Gravity") there are great 3D effects to showcase, it's worth the slight negative to get the massive positive. But here, there was no such benefit: 2D would have been better. For those in the UK (and possibly through other broadcasters worldwide) the film is being shown on BBC2 tonight (11/11/18) at 9:30: I will be watching it again to compare and contrast.

Jackson dedicated the film to his grandfather. And almost all of us Brits will have relatives affected by this "war to end all wars". In my case, my grandfather was shot and severely wounded at Leuze Wood on the Somme, lying in the mud for four days and four nights before being recovered... by the Germans! Fortunately he was well-treated and, although dying young, recovered enough to father my father - else I wouldn't be here today writing this. On this Rememberance Sunday, 100 years on, it is a time for us to truly remember the sacrifice these men and boys gave to what, all in the film agree, was a pretty obstinate and pointless conflict.
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10/10
Mesmerising footage of the Great War.
steve-489-31109212 November 2018
I needed some time for this to sink in before commenting on it. This was equal parts funny, exciting, moving, harrowing, horrifying, upsetting.

Firstly, it's not a glossy documentary. There are some harrowing scenes in this that will, and should, upset you.

The first 25 minutes are of original black and white, speeded up footage with the original voices of troops telling their story over the top of it.

Then something amazing happens. The screen widens, the footage smoothes out, the colours shines through and in an instant your and seeing everything in so much more detail.

That said this was the first time I've seen footage from The Great War that didn't feel disconnected. It feels real. Seeing the colour on their cheeks and eyes, the dirt, the mud, the blood brings the old footage to life. Occasionally the colourisation takes on a slightly animated feel but never enough to draw you out of the engrossing scenes laid out before you.

Then the frame rate adjustment is amazing. Having computers generate the missing frames to adjust the variable 15-18fps to the regular 24fps is a visual butter knife that smoothes out the jerky footage.

Having the soldiers talk sounds like a mistake but it's done in such a subtle and sensitive way it never feels false. They've been lip synced perfectly and apparently even with the right accent for the infantry units depicted.

This was powerful viewing. Computers and technology being used for something so important, to allow 100+ year old footage to look so modern and yet not feel sanitised is amazing.

This should become compulsory viewing for every one, all schools too.

With footage thats this accessible there's no reason history should be forgotten.
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10/10
An outstanding achievement on so many levels.
markgorman23 October 2018
It's only October and I have already seen two Oscar winning films. This (for best documentary) and A star is Born for loads of things.

Months ago I bought a ticket for this special live (3D) screening of this BFI film from the London Film Festival featuring a post film interview between Peter Jackson (the most modest man in cinema) and Mark Kermode (the most adulatory)

I thought it would be special.

It was more than that.

It was a landmark.

It was actually a significant night in cinematic history, because what Peter Jackson has achieved here is unparalleled.

We've all seen colourised war footage. It's interesting, but in reality it's a bit pants.

This is the real deal. A step forward in technology driven by heart, emotion, passion, DNA.

In this truly remarkable documentary Jackson brings us footage from the WW1 front line trenches in a way that you can't even begin to imagine.

First he restored hours of black and white footage to remove grain, scratches, burn marks etc.

Then he graded it.

Then he fixed all the film sprockets so they don't jiggle about and blur.

Then, get this, he turned it all from a hotch-potch of 10/11/12/14/16 and 17 Frames per second into it all being 24 FPS.

This is not insignificant.

A 17 FPS film transferred to 24 frames needs to 'find' 7 frames. It needs to create them, to fill in the gaps to make film flow as we expect. How one does that I have no clue. Frankly, neither does Jackson, but he knows people who were up to it and deliver on the challenge.

So, as Jackson puts it, we don't see Charlie Chaplinesque war footage. We see dignified film of soldiers in real time as our eye would compute it. This is important because it makes it so real.

Then he, frame by frame, colourised the whole lot.

Then he put a team of lip readers onto it to work out what the soldiers were saying when they spoke to camera (in 1914-18 there was no film/sound recording).

Then he recorded both battleground sound effects, by enlisting the NZ army, and the words these soldiers were saying, through actors, and lip synched and background-noised the whole thing.

Then he launched it.

The man is a genius.

The result is beyond words incredible.

On many occasions I gasped out loud, not least when he moved from the first reel, which shows unmodified footage of the preparation of enlistees for WWI, into the reality of war.

In a stunning coup de theatre the screen changes shape.

The audiences audibly gasps.

We are in a new reality.

Now, this all makes it sound like this is simply an exercise in technological show-offery.

No. this focuses on soldiers. Poor. Young. Men.

With terrible teeth, but with opinion, with humour, with dignity, with resolute spirit.

And not just young British men.

Perhaps the most affecting part of this film is where German POW's muck in and join the Brits. It's clear that in those days this was duty and honour for one's country, absolutely NOT hatred of the enemy.

This is a truly remarkable film experience.

It's important.

Find a way of seeing it.

It's much more than a cinematic landmark.

It's a historical one, because the legacy Peter Jackson's 14-18-Now and Imperial War Museum commission gives the world is new technology that will allow all sorts of ancient film archives to become living history.

In this case the 100 minutes that are committed to film are actually backed up by a further 100 hours of monochrome footage that Jackson's team has restored (free of charge) for his commissioners.

See when international honours are handed out (I think Bono has a knighthood for example) Peter Jackson needs to be number one on the list for this real and important achievement.

I assume a further Oscar is in the bag.
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10/10
A harrowing new perspective on 'The great War'
mattwidd17 October 2018
I was lucky enough to bag a ticket to the one off showing of Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old, having watched a lot of World War One documentaries and made countless visits to historic sites across France and Belgium I was keen to see what was being marketed as a 'new' perspective on The Great War, it did not disappoint. Jackson chose to create a narrow focus narrative for this 1 hour 30 minute documentary to allow the viewer to delve into the fine details often missed in more sweeping documentaries trying to cover all aspects and areas of the conflict. Jackson chose to look closely at the lives and experiences of British native frontline troops in Belgium. The documentary follows a linear timeline beginning with the breakout of war and the initial volunteering of thousands of young men excited and ready for an adventure for King and Country and ends with the great sense of loss and uncertainty of the future the troops had by the end of the war. The entire documentary is narrated by records of surviving troops recorded in the 60s and 70s, this was an intentional move by Jackson that definitely adds to the ability for the viewer to connect and relate to the survivors. I especially found the stories and anecdotes about the goings on behind the lines during down time and R&R for the troops captivating as it is often over looked in other documentaries solely concentrating on the combat and horrors of war. The pain staking effort and lengths Jackson and his team went to to restore this footage not only with colour but with frame rate, sharpness and especially sound is breath taking. Taking the time to have professional lip readers painstakingly review all the footage so allow us to then know and hear what was being said truly brought the footage to life. My only issue with the film, something that is made note of by Jackson is of course because of the time in history and available cameras there is no actual combat footage available so you do spend a large amount of time just watching still hand drawn cartoons of the battles from the time, something that cannot be avoided but does detract from the immersion the rest of the film creates. I highly recommend this film to everyone, it is important we see the true perspective of what our ancestors went through and never forget these brave men and women.
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10/10
From a freelance colourising artist
angus-lamont11 November 2018
As this historically important anniversary draws to a close, I just want to say that my viewing of this film was that of utter amazement. As a photo colouriser/restorer, I was absolutely astonished at the work PJ's team put into this. The transition from the original film material, then to the stabilised and corrected FPS and then the full colour and sound was one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen on the screen. The colour is natural and really helps emphasise the grittiness of war and brings out hidden details that may have been missed in the B&W source. Usually I prefer film not to be tampered with, but as Jackson says, this is how the men saw it - in living colour. The addition of the voiceovers from the surviving soldiers themselves is a great choice and doesn't distract and flows along nicely with the visuals. Throughout I expressed various emotions of sadness and shock, but surprisingly a few laughs, particularly one shot showing a soldier banging a tune on another soldiers helmet as they march. I do wish I had seen this on the big screen and I imagine what I have said is enhanced 100x more with that type of viewing. A fitting tribute to the men that did and didn't come home and I hope it is recognised and picks up many awards.
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10/10
This should be compulsory viewing
speaks-7354012 November 2018
Everyone over the age of 13 should be made to watch this.

This is simple exceptional work at every level from Peter Jackson and his team.

It showed the pure fragility of life, and how the soldiers dealt with it, mainly with humour and machine gun boiled tea.

It's haunting yet funny, disturbing yet uplifting. It's war. And this is the closest I ever want to come to it.
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10/10
Prepare yourself.
mikeatfod12 November 2018
Utterly haunting movie of life on the western front in WW1. Peter Jackson has thrown some serious computer firepower to bring these soldiers back to life.You will have never seen anything quite like this before.Breathtaking in many parts!
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10/10
The most important documentary you'll ever see
iainfryer123411 November 2018
100 years on from the Great War we cannot pretend to know what life was like serving in the trenches. This incredible film brings us as close to experiencing it as we are ever going to get.

It is harrowing, it is poignant, it is funny. Above all else this film is heartbreaking. No punch is pulled, no attempt is made to hide the brutality of war or the hardship of the common soldier.

Quite simply this amazing documentary should be made compulsory viewing in all schools and for every soapbox, warmongering politician that would send our youth into hell.
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10/10
Should be mandatory in all highschools/universities/politicians
MoistMovies7 December 2018
Besides it being a incredible feat of cinema that many reviewers have already pointed out.

The message of this Documentary needs to be solidified in every person under 30s brain and every politician. I went to see this luckily at a small theater. Me and my friend both in our 20's were by far the youngest in the small crowd.

Its a very heavy message of responsibly to ones country that is necessary under certain circumstances, yet it should be a responsibly that's to be a avoided at all costs if possible. That we should do whatever we can to not forget the atrocities of war and to live in a way that doesnt foster a scenario of resentment towards our fellow man that could cause this to happen again. Especially since modern warfare now includes nuclear arms, this scale of conflict ever again would devastate the entire planet.
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9/10
Giving the Tommies a voice
jpsgranville17 October 2018
Jackson's remarkable looking documentary is an amalgam of archive footage (much of it originally staged for the 1916 film 'The Battle of the Somme'), with only a tiny amount of actual battle footage given the early nature of film cameras in those days, plus the more moving sight of several of the soldiers staring and smiling into camera, and thanks to skillful lip-reading, speaking through interpreted voices.

The slowing down to our standard 24fps and adding of voices is beautifully touching. I personally don't know if it was essential to colourise as some of the greys in the originals are still visible, when uncolourised black and white footage is still just as immediate (the irony is that so many war films nowadays are drained of colour anyway.) Nonetheless, it is a vivid impression of life on the Western Front that Jackson helps to create, and remains refreshingly objective to its time, reflecting the general pro-war feelings at the beginning in 1914, and through carefully selected testimonies of the many hundreds of soldiers, unfolds the story of a kind of war that had never been seen before, or hopefully never will be again. Sadly humanity never learns its lesson, as the "war to end all wars" is now better known as World War I - all the more reason for history to remind us.

You watch this film, and in some of its more harrowing scenes you can see all the visual influence that Jackson drew upon for his Lord of the Rings trilogy. He dedicated this film to his grandfather who served in the war, and watching it , on the day after my own great grandfather's birthday (who also served in WWI), it was a thought provoking moment that stayed with me for a few hours after.
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10/10
An historical archival film experience
marcusdwardle16 October 2018
The narrative of the film being told exclusively through oral history of soldiers of WWI taken during the 60's and 70's ensures that it had a relevance to today's audience. The masterpiece of the film is the transformation of 13-17 frames per second of 1914-18 film to 24 frames per second for today. This, along with the cleaning and digitisation, of the film suddenly brings the film alive. When colour is added you are virtually there 'at the front'! This can be seen to be the downside of the whole process. In the bringing to life of the old films have we made it Hollywoodesque? This is a slight criticism of a film that enables you to see the vast waste of life that the war was. It does need to be told as it is so pivotal, socially and politically, to the rest of the twentieth century.
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10/10
Should be compulsory in schools
lewisrawlins14 November 2018
This movie made me think about my life in an entirely different context. It made me realise how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to switch the heating on when it gets a bit cold, or climb into bed after a long day at work. Boys, pretending to be old enough so they could fight for our freedom? It makes me cringe at the way we live our lives today. Truly brave men and we should be forever thankful. A great tribute by Peter Jackson.
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10/10
Brilliant!
mhandsley200116 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is an extraordinary film. Like most movies it'll pull at your emotions, one minute you're laughing, the next scared, the next the tears will be welling up.

Most of us will have seen grainy footage of WW1. The war started over a 100 years ago, and It's the age of the footage, and the jerkyness of the speed of the film that help us think of this particular war as a distant non relevant war. This film changes all of that, and helps bring us into the lives of the soldiers that took part.

The film starts in black and white and in a small box in the centre of the screen. As it continues the footage gets clearer, and the screen larger until the first transition into beautifully clear colour footage that fills the cinema screen. This first transition took my breath away it is just so good. The film gradually draws us in, until we are right there, in the trenches with the British and Germans as they fight each other. We then experience the sight and sounds of this horrendous war in the same way as the participants. You even hear the words they spoke while being filmed, Peter Jackson explaned in the Q&A that he used professional lip readers to find out what was said, and actors synced the words to what was being said on screen.

There is no narrator, but you do hear the voices of those that took part in the war who were interviewed in the 1960's and 70's, these snippets are sometimes funny, and sometime heartbreakingly sad.

The film draws to an end by returning to black and white, and as the screen starts to shrink back to the original size, we are slowly taken away from the horrors of the trenches.

This movie was just brilliant, and lovingly created by Peter Jackson and his team. Our screening was a one off, shown at the same time as the premier in London and included an interview with the director. If you do get the chance go and see in a cinema, you won't be disappointed.
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10/10
Outstanding
philipscott-4388019 October 2018
The Great War has never been so vivid. This film is an absolute tour de force: a must-see.
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10/10
Understated brilliance
2468motorway13 November 2018
My grandfather was a bugler and gassed at Passchendaele. I have only seen black and white photos of him and he died long after the Great War, but before I was born.

Like most British people of my age I have a certain image of WW1 influenced by Wilfred Owen and Blackadder. Peter Jackson has done a truly remarkable thing and transported me back in time. I found myself laughing, feeling sadness and above all a huge sense of identification with the ordinary lads and men who made up the British forces in this terrible war.

To see green grass, red poppies and ordinary men speaking like I do, but from 100 years ago, was as moving as anything I can ever remember watching in a film. The understated, conversational acknowledgement of the overall sense of anticlimax at the end of the war was as revelatory as it was honest. It spoke more eloquently about the pompousity of politicians and true feelings of the common man than a thousand poems or polemics ever could.

The voices I heard and the images of those men will stay with me. Well done Peter Jackson for creating an instant classic.
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10/10
A Documentary Masterpiece
u-emoli14 November 2018
This has to be the most technically innovative documentary ever made. Just stunningly put together.
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10/10
Stunning
neil-47611 November 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The story of the Great War on the western front is told by way of archive footage and stills to a soundtrack of commentary by veterans.

There have been archive footage documentaries before, but none quite like this. After 20 minutes of what we have come to expect - monochrome flickery hand-cranked silent footage, scratched, grainy, in 4:3 ratio - the quality of Peter Jackson's estoration is revealed as a single shot is transformed before our eyes.

One expects the scratches, dirt and streaks to have been removed. But the speed irregularities resulting from hand-cranking simply aren't there, the images are pin-sharp, and the colorisation is so good that you would never imagine that these images were originally black and white. The film looks modern and professionally shot.

Where film has been dubbed, this has been carried out with equal care: lip-synching is sensitive and accurate. When you take the conversion of a dated original into a credible contemporary standard which complements the often devastating but matter-of-fact recollections of 150 men who were in the middle of it, this brings this conflict into focus with more immediacy than anything I have seen or heard before.

A remarkable experience.
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10/10
Those who never returned.
bemcgonigle12 November 2018
The most emotional film to be seen from the western front. It really hits you when you see these people in colour. The horrors of war and disregard for those humans meters from some of the trenches. When you see colour my God but it leaves an impression on your soul. May those of any nationality rest in peace. These men of many whom gave their lives for royalty who cared none. We as the people have to make sure this cannot happen again!

"The old make war but the young must fight and die"

Can't remember who said it. It's so so true.
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10/10
Excellent film about a harrowing time
rogermosforth16 October 2018
Absolutely great film about an emotive subject with good treatment
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9/10
Re-thinking the War
magnusmax11 November 2018
A deep and moving eulogy to the brave, persevering souls that laboured for our gain in the first World War (1914-1918). In this fittingly sombre piece, delivered on the centennary of the "war to end all wars" by the talented Sir Peter Jackson, we are introduced to the motions of a soldier in his daily life on the front. We are given a glimpse of the war - not from a bird's eye perspective, but side by side with the men who lived and died on the battlefields of France. The documentary never shies away from the more grisly elements, as we witness everything from the ubiquitous apple-plum jam the soldiers spread on their bread to the dangers they faced simply relieving themselves. This strenuous documentary affords us in our modern age of ease, comfort and comparative wealth, the opportunity to gain a little greater an understanding of the horrors, the hardships, the very nightmare these young men passed through for our benefit. How little we know of true suffering.

The introduction is in the customary format we've come to expect from the period - black-and-white, with an unrealistically low frame rate. Then the screen widens, the frame rate increases, the picture is saturated with colour, and a full dialog and ambience track emerges to complement the now stunningly remastered 100-year-old footage. True - the quality invariably fluctuates from poor to incredible and back again - but this is usually due to digitally zooming in to capture the expressions on the servicemen's faces, and honestly the concept of obtaining actual close-ups from standard wide shots is incredible. The technology available today to film-makers calls us to ever greater heights, and it's wonderful when we use it for truely worthwhile and honourable purposes.

The oral accounts given by war veterans that accompany the entire documentary validate and inform, offering new viewpoints on the war easily overlooked. A good estimate of the spirit of a soldier in the British Army is arrived at by absorbing the information the veterans are able to provide. I can't think of a more impactful medium by which to gain a greater appreciation and respect for the men who fought for us than of this authentic documentation of the real event! This is an experience that will force you to sit up and pay attention. It is a harrowing, intense documentary, brilliantly remastered for the optimal experience that so effectively renews the reality of the Great War. Lest we forget.
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10/10
Mandatory viewing
gabyfield18 November 2018
Should be made compulsary viewing to all - shows the futility of war and a small snapshot of what soldiers faced.
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7/10
I would recommend this movie, but the film felt somewhat unfinished and flat despite the novelty of the modern film techniques and poignant moments
leapeanutbutter22 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I will start off by saying that I enjoyed three aspects of this movie greatly.

Firstly, the technical aspect was absolutely wonderful. I appreciate what Peter Jackson and crew were able to bring to life out of very old, damaged film. He talked about the processes and showed the before and afters in the addendum to the film...they were remarkable. Some of the footage was so dark that one couldn't see what was going on at all. It went from that to showing amazing detail with the restoration.

Secondly, I enjoyed the real-life, first-hand testominies of the veterans. So important to hear it from the people that were there.

Lastly, I was very interested to learn about some of the emotions of the soldiers and how the survivors evolved during these years. This was mostly, and most poignantly talked about at the very end of the documentary.

Even though I have not experienced anything remotely like what they went through, I can empathize with the veterans when they were talking about the end of the war. How they went from +100 in intensity to just calm, quiet, and nothing. What an absolute shock to their systems. The complete opposite of what they experienced with the constant shelling.

It was also very interesting to learn that they and their stories were largely ignored by the civilians back home after the war. The veterans had trouble finding work. They had trouble adjusting to a civilian life after having lived in filth, deprivation, and terror for so long, and unless they were speaking to a fellow veteran, no civilian, even if they found a civilian interested, could understand what they had lived through. The lack of acknowledgement about what they had endured and contributed somewhat reminded me of another documentary about Polish aviators that were in the RAF during WWII and what they said happened to them at the conclusion of the 2nd world war.

So there were things I definitely enjoyed in the movie, and I would recommend the film to anyone interested in history/this period, but the movie, overall, felt a bit flat to me...not as rich as it could have been. It seemed unfinished and hurried to the shelf, which is unfortunate because I'm sure it wasn't hurried at all. There is no doubt it all took a lot of hard work over a long time.

Here are my very respectful critiques as a viewer:

1. It needed subtitles. I have an English mum, and I'm used to listening to English accents, but some of the accents in the film were hard to make out. If it was hard for me in spots, then it definitely was/is going to be hard for the average person who is not used to them. Also, some things that were said were hard to make out because of the competing sounds of the added noises of war. Toning that aspect down during the testominies would have defintely helped and/or added subtitles. I wanted to understand ALL of what the veterans were saying as that was half of the film...side by side with the visuals.

2. There was no time for a breath for the viewer during some parts. The veterans telling their stories were right on top of one another. There needed to be at least a little space in between the stories to allow the viewer/listener to absorb and catch up. There was too much of an audial onslaught/bombardment and it was hard to keep up making the viewer/listener feel like they were running a race at points.

3. Some of the pictures/scenes were overused. I'm an adult with a great interest in history, but I felt slightly irritated at times because I was being shown the same scene/pictures over and over again during some of the film. That became somewhat tedious and boring. Also, the technique of panning over the faces was overdone. More variety visually was needed.

4. No musical score. This was a huge disappointment for me. Peter Jackson talked about this in the addendum. He said he wanted the barest minimum musically as he didn't want any distractions from the mens' stories. I disagree completely. Music enhances the story/stories and visuals. Jackson didn't have to have a full-blown, Hans Zimmer type score, but it would have been much richer to have a bit more in it musically. I would have liked there to have been unobtrusive original music/variations on theme and period music woven throughout.

Two good examples of original music in historical documentaries that come to mind are The Last Days of Vietnam score by Gary Lionelli and 14: Diaries of the Great War by Laurent Eyquem.

5. There seemed to be no overriding theme/message. Peter Jackson said in the addendum he had to figure out in the beginning, and during the process of distilling the many hours of film and audio, where he wanted to take the film. I don't feel like he ever quite got there. As a viewer of a history documentary, I most often don't want to be hit over the head with a political message. That's terribly annoying and Peter Jackson is certainly NOT guilt of that here which is refreshing, but it seemed like I was mostly just being presented with some nifty modern film/audio techniques combined with facts from veterans about the war regarding what they experienced. Both very neat and super important but not enough to push the film into the magnificent category. To me, there didn't seem to be a big theme or conclusion or something that pulled me in to a large degree. And I went in quite hopeful and was looking for it throughout. The finished product seemed to lack some passion, depth, and conclusion.

I guess what it comes down to, there needed to be more fibers in the movie to make it a rich, vibrant, and completed fabric/work. Even though the technical aspects were very amazing (big thanks to Peter Jackson and the other people of the film who brought it all to life from the dusty archives) and poignant moments, there were threads missing, in my opinion, that made the final work, overall, somewhat on the thin side. I give 10 stars to some aspects of the film and 5 to others giving it an overall rating of about 7.5.

Addendum: Some of the visuals that caught my eye/made an impression.

It was touching to see the soldiers so fascinated by the film crews. I loved the innocence in their faces.

I also noted how much so many of them smiled. Here they were going through a complete horror show, but many of them could still smile in the thick of it.

I loved the moustached man pretending to play a bottle, I think, and winking and hamming it up for the camera.

The soldier, amongst his comrades, rocking a child on his knee was so lovely.

The man at the end of the war stroking a dog for both their comfort was beautiful.

The exchanges, sympathy, and respect they had for the German POWs was interesting and touching to learn.
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As an American, Jackson shows me what the Western World owes to the British soldier
VoyagerMN198626 November 2018
To be sure, the French solder was brave, they faced the onslaught right into their country. The American WWI soldier was competent and the US played an important part in supplying the Allies and then in delivering the message that the Central Powers could not continue. The average German and central powers soldier had no choice in the matter. So, yes, this was a complex war like all wars. But there simply is no doubt that key factor in saving Europe in this war was the British solder. He was well trained, well equipped, stoically handled the challenges, and fought and won an extremely important war. Nowadays our kids are taught this war had no right and wrong side. That simply is not true. No matter how imperfect some aspects of the motives or poltical systems of the allies were, the choice was between enlightened forward looking democracies such as Britain and France, and eventually the US, and an utterly retrograde Germany. for Germany to have won and controlled Europe would have been a setback of huge proportions. In "They Shall Not Grow Old," Peter Jackson really brings the WWI Tommy to life with a nod to the professional British veteran solder at the beginning of the war that was worth ten German soldiers, to the entire generation of young, including very young solders that were the second echelon into the war but did the bulk of the fighting. The colorization and dubbing create a reality and presences that is in sharp contrast from the heretofore abstract and distant black and white soundless film clips that have until now have filtered and made that war less visceral, and less human Frankly not since Ken Burns "Civil War" has there been such innovation in war documentary
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8/10
Bill's Reviews For Short Attention Spans
bipbop1330 November 2018
This, simply put, is an amazing film that everyone should be required to see. Peter Jackson has miraculously restored World War I film footage and colorized it. That is the least of the accomplishments here. There are over 50 different soldiers from Britan, England, Canada, New Zealand & Australia that were recorded around 1914 who share their stories of what we are seeing unfold on the screen. It starts out with the drafting of men as young as 16 years old, to the climax of the final rush to the German trenches & barbed wire during the final battle of the war. Much credit is given to the empathy that the English troops showed toward their captured German counterparts, as neither party wanted to be involved in this slaughter. Over one million English soldiers lost their lives in this war. The storytellers range in their emotions of being in the war from elated, to workmanlike, and sometimes feeling guilty to have taken a life they felt they didn't need to. This is a top notch transportation back over one hundred years to a time most of us don't even think about, let alone want to learn about. "They Shall Not Grow Old" shows that there is still much left to study and learn from these ghosts. We're lucky Mr. Jackson came along to help preserve the fading heroes of our past.
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10/10
Wonderful tribute to every one of them.
andrew-898-43307012 November 2018
Loved this film. Really got involved, my heart stopped, I laughed, I grimaced, I had tears a true journey. Very well done.
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