LOTR director Peter Jackson restores WWI footage for new documentary, "They Shall Not Grow Old."*

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Matt W., Oct 5, 2018.

  1. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

  2. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    As I said, I was shocked when my wife and I bought what may have been the last two tickets available for a screening. My fellow countrymen are always surprising me.
     
  3. longdist01

    longdist01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    those seats in cinema were not empty, apparently people are seeing it again and taking family, friends, and teens to the screenings.

     
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  4. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    it's a good message film.
     
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  5. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    What do you think was the the appeal was, the novelty, or history lesson ?
     
  6. longdist01

    longdist01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    History - that has quickly disappeared with time. A couple i spoke with were mentioning they didn't know relatives or friends who had anyone from WW1, but from WWII they knew of people that served and who offered some memories. Not many will want talk about what they experienced in previous battles.

     
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  7. beccabear67

    beccabear67 Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Victoria, Canada
    I'm thinking a lot of people might be bored though before they get to the color and sound semi-recreations. It seemed to run on for a long time before those started, and knowing the history so well I got a bit frustrated. I'm not a short attention span person either, loved The Last Emperor and made it all the way through Eraserhead, enjoy a lot of the old 'silent' films as well.
     
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  8. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    I felt the same way. The beginning part before it "came alive" went on too long, and I'm a WWI junkie who is used to seeing footage like that.
     
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  9. jjh1959

    jjh1959 Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Charles, MO
    They do.
     
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  10. daveidmarx

    daveidmarx Forem Residunt

    Location:
    Astoria, NY USA
    Saw it yesterday in 3-D at the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn yesterday and was completely blown away. And I am someone with virtually zero interest in military history. The human element of the war as the movie unfolded on the screen was captivating, and it was specific details that probably would have been unrecognizable and thus lost to time had it remained on grainy, jittery film, such as the soldier who was clearly going through PTSD as he was walked back to his unit (the haunted look on his face and jittery hands are unforgettable), and the footage of an entire platoon (specifically one young soldier whose terrified stare into the camera is heartbreaking) just before they went into battle, which we're told that most of those men lost their lives and so we were witnessing the final thirty minutes of their life is another moment that will haunt me for a long time to come. Absolutely spellbinding film, and Peter Jackson deserves all the accolades he receives for producing such a masterpiece.
     
  11. longdist01

    longdist01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    Some of the restored footage really draws the viewer in now, it's simply amazing what Peter Jackson and his Team were able to reveal in the 100 footage, including the lip reading of that scene w/ speech before going into battle. They later found copy of document in Imperial Museum archives!

     
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  12. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Saw "They Shall Not Grow Old" yesterday.

    Jackson wanted his restoration efforts to better illustrate what the war looked like, just as the soldiers saw it, for more immersive audience experience.

    This is an entirely different type of documentary. It does not attempt to be a history lesson. The names the location of the battle's and the exact time frames have been deliberately left out.

    Peter went through 500-hours of interviews of soldier's talking about different aspects of the war, from a soldier's POV.

    These interviews were actual interviews conducted of actual soldier's back in the 1960's, that served in WWI.

    He was given to access to more than 100-hours of video footage from WWI.

    He intercut the real war footage with edited interviews to produce the dialogue for the film. There is no interviewer or narration. It represents only a story being told. The story is being told by the soldier's on the battlefield. It is a collective story that is being told. Not from any single individual's perspective, but the perspectives and view form all who were interviewed, some of whom were as young as sixteen, when they volunteered to serve.

    The original footage has been immaculately restored. It has been colorized. But, the colors have been muted, suggesting older film negatives.

    I do recommend the 3D version. It is not a modern, in your face type of 3D, only minimal efforts to establish depth and perspective.

    The movie is graphic in content and not for the faint of heart. It does present images of death and destruction.

    Something I did find interesting. For the first time in I can't remember when, The voices in the film were presented at normal volume levels. The guns and battlefield armament sounded real and the different weapons sounded both realistic and different. The stereo sound was used most effectively. This by itself really sets the movie apart from total unrealistic modern productions.

    At the beginning of the movie, Peter Jackson does an introduction and invites the audience to remain for a half hour explanation of how the movie was made, after the credits have finished. It is nontechnical and interesting.

    The US release was very limited. Because of the very positive audience response and the critic's, It is now back as of February 3rd, is a much wider release.

    They had people reading the lips of the soldier's and then using voice actors to voice over many scenes.

    It is really hard, watching the film, to believe that you are actually watching 100-year film, with actual footage shot during WWI, between 1914 and 1919.
     
  13. longdist01

    longdist01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    The 3D use is minimal, but it does draw the viewer into the environment taking place on the screen. It doesn't jump out at the audience.

     
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  14. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    It's amazing, what happens when you turn down the special effects, both sound and visual effects.

    This allows the content to be the focus and not the effects.

    With regard to this, TSNGO, does an excellent job and allows the viewer to get lost in the movie, not be assaulted by the effects.
     
  15. Lightworker

    Lightworker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    My respect for Peter Jackson as a human being increased 1000% after seeing this and the "making of" mini-doc
    that followed the credits. It's probably one of the least revisionist and 'agenda-driven' war documentaries
    that I've ever seen. Hope he follows it up with another chapter, using the WWI Air Corps and submariner footage
    that he also had access to use.
     
  16. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I was thinking about that, while watching the documentary. I agree, he should do them.
     
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  17. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    OKay I admit it. Not only did I find this movie boring, I walked out on it cause I kept falling asleep.
    All I have heard is how great it was. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
     
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  18. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    O....K. I guess it's not for everyone. I found it deeply moving.
     
  19. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

    It's on my hard drive but I not had the courage to watch it yet, for Canadians, Australian and Americans a documentary aired on the BBC was a education for me, 100 Days to Victory


    When I was young people talked about WWII but no one about WWI, all my friends tell me their grandfathers never spoke about their experience. I suspect this is one reason why many people don't know a lot about there families involvement.

    When my daughter was 13 the school took them to Ypes and the location of the battle of Passchendaele and then the War graves cemeteries, she was deeply moved.
     
  20. Lightworker

    Lightworker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    I went to elementary/high school in Maryland, and did not get an adequate grounding in world history.
    If I had not had the motivation to read independently, I also might have found the film a
    challenge to get through (especially if I had no military service myself or family history of such).
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
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  21. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    The movie is a gimmick. They took old footage and blew it up to look modern. That aspect was great and groundbreaking. But the doc itself was boring.
     
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  22. My wife and I saw the film on Sunday, in 2D (but on a HUGE screen). And we appreciated it, and I guess you could say we "enjoyed" it. But I think we would have really liked to have seen a bit more about the families back home, and heard about the experiences of the women working in the factories making munitions, and such. Jackson showed a bit of that kind of footage in the after-doc 'mini-doc' about the making of the film. And while I do really appreciate that he decided to tell essentially one story -- that of British troops on the lines -- I do think that we a reached a saturation point (as audience members) about 20 minutes before the end of the main film.

    The war itself was relentless, and I felt a good bit of that in the movie too. "War is horrible, war is horrible, war is horrible" (repeated over, and over, and over again -- 200x, 300x). And while I could take all of that for about 75-80 minutes, I felt like the meta-message (about war being horrible) just got to be too much by the 80th or 85th minute (of the 100-minute film).

    Some contrast of some sort, might have made the film-going experience a bit easier to focus on. Masterful job and all, and I don't find any great fault with any of it -- but it was all just a tiny bit more than I could handle in one sitting. That said, I could have NEVER seen this at home (and had it keep my attention for that long). My eyes would have glazed over after an hour, minimum. That's just me -- some things are just WAY better experienced in a big theater -- and this is one of them.

    I highly recommend going to see it on the big screen, while you can. It's an important film, and well worth the time and effort it takes to watch.
     
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  23. Squealy

    Squealy Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Vancouver
    I think Peter's right that if he had started bringing in footage of other topics, it's a slippery slope, and soon he would wind up with a sprawling, unfocused documentary that could only touch on things superficially. It might have worked just to do a "WWI in colour" film with clips from all over the war put through their process, but what they came up with had a satisfying arc and emotional quality.

    But, I also agree with you that the film started feeling a little repetitive... once you'd gotten used to the processed footage there were a lot of similar shots of soldiers hanging around, equipment being pushed through the mud, etc. And the camera couldn't follow them into the worst parts -- I don't think anyone would have enjoyed watching that if it could have, but it meant there were some limitations on how much of the story the footage could tell.

    I saw the movie in 3D but wish I hadn't -- I thought the clips shown during the making-of documentary looked better in 2D. The 3D seemed like more of a distortion that worked against the realism they had added with the speed correction and the colour. I think maybe they should have left the footage in 4:3 or whatever the aspect ratio was then... blowing it up further often made the faces fuzzy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  24. I'm glad I saw it in 2D. My wife and I almost always avoid 3D films -- I think "Gravity" is the only modern 3D film we've ever seen (because we'd read that the 3D was done tastefully, and wasn't gimmicky like so much of the use of that technology).

    I agree that focusing on too many things would have diluted the whole thing -- but I do think some careful, and judicious use of footage from the home-front might have provided some of the kind of contrast the film needed to be more easily digested. And that "home front" angle is the only other one (of the many other options of things that could have been included), that seems like it could have worked as a contrast. Peter was entirely correct that any of the other options they might have considered would have diluted the story (and effect) entirely.

    But regardless, thank goodness for that post-doc "mini-doc" (on the making of the main film). Honestly, I don't think my overall experience of seeing the main film would have been quite as positive, without that "making-of" backstory, to provide a capstone to the experience. The war (and main film) itself were so depressing [or that's certainly my reaction to it], that I really NEEDED that "here's how we did it, and how we ended up deciding what to do in the first place" discussion to help me refocus on viewing/thinking about the main film through a different lens (so to speak), in my mind's eye -- immediately, ex post facto.

    Don't know if that was his aim in pulling back the curtain in that last 30 minutes where he was the only talking-head, but that sure as hell helped reset my brain, so I wasn't left trying to process what all I'd just seen an experienced (in the main film). It was really a relief to get to think about everything I'd just seen, but suddenly in a more abstract and technical way. Whew!
     
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  25. Squealy

    Squealy Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Vancouver
    Peter Jackson's very good at explaining why he did or didn't do things -- his commentary tracks on the Lord of the Rings movies are full of well-reasoned arguments for why they made certain choices that fans were unhappy about. (Although, I don't know whether he could provide the same justifications for the Hobbit movies, I haven't listened to those tracks.)
     

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