There have been quite a few movies made about World War I but I can only think of one great World War I film, Kubrick’s first “real” movie, Paths of Glory:
It seems that The Great War has mainly slipped from our collective consciousness because it’s slipped from our collective entertainment. And with good reason — 90% of the combat was trench warfare where terrible new weapons chewed up millions of men who’d unfortunately been reared on the out-dated heroism of The Charge Of The Light Brigade.
The war set off a revolution that plunged Russia into 90 years of communist hell while its flawed armistice lead to the rise of Nazism and an even more destructive conflict where civilians themselves became the primary targets. It wasn’t fun like WWII.
There were no real heroes and no real victory, only survivors and eventual failure. No one wants to think about it, let alone be entertained by it.
And it all happened because of some God-damned Serb.
Now, Peter Jackson (may peace be upon Him) in partnership with 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts program for the First World War centenary, will lend his artistic and cinematic talents to a re-imagining of the WWI documentary in a similar vein to what Ken Burns brought to his WWII series.
The film, They Shall Not Grow Old, will combine recordings from veterans with completely original archival footage that has been colorized for the first time.
Here is what PJ has to say about it:
Yeah, The Hobbit movies are absolute cartoon-tier disasters but this is the man who gave us Lord Of The Rings; so we have to pay attention, right?
Plus I’m pretty sure most of the problems with those awful movies were not his fault at all. Allegedly, there were massive studio mandated re-shoots (Warner Bros. could fuck up a baked potato) that added tons of nonsensical crap like that Elf-Dwarf-Elf love triangle.
Still, Not Sure Why This Is Necessary
For my money, the best documentary on WWI — one of the best documentary of all time — is simply called The First World War. It would be impossible to top as its unsettling footage, excellent narration and music perfectly lay out the politics, the global scope and the immensity of the pointless human tragedy.
I own the 4 DVD boxed set but it is also available for free on YouTube:
Is it possible that Peter Jackson’s latest effort will give us a fresh perspective and new insight into the first mechanized war?
Possibly. But for now, you will have to be in the UK to find out: They Shall Not Grow Old will screen as a Special Presentation for The London Film Festival on October 16 at BFI Southbank and also receive simultaneous showings in cinemas and special venues across the realm courtesy of Trafalgar Releasing.
I for one am looking forward to… wait… what?
You’re converting it to 3D? Oh, Peter! You’re killing me!
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