Monday, December 17, 2018
They Shall Not Grow Old
the film is directed by the Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson who is known for his Lord of the Rings blockbusters. Using his technological expertise in filmmaking, he astonishingly restored and assembled archival footage about World War I from the Imperial War Museums. Not only did he calibrate the frame speed to make the images' movement more natural, but he also turned the black and white footage into color and presented in 3D!
As a result, for the first time we are able to witness the World War I battle ground up-close, and vividly experience the horror those soldiers endured. By only using the archived audio interviews from real World War I veterans as voice over, the film gives us a first-person account of the war and offers a never-seen-before look about the war a century ago. The voices are candid, the images are gripping, and the history is alive.
Although the voices in the film don't belong to the people appearing on the screen, but you can hardly tell the difference due to the superb post-production effort and carefully chosen materials. The level of clarity in its war coverage is extraordinary. We rarely even get this type of intimate reporting about soldiers in the front-line in today's news.
The destruction is catastrophic, the living condition is atrocious, yet the soldiers are brave and in good spirits. But what exactly were they fighting for? What kept them going even when they were suffering from heavy casualties in an unbearable environment? The film avoids that question altogether. If you are not familiar with World War I, you probably won't know the answer after watching the film. However, those immersive images should inspire you to conduct some research yourself.
From start to finish, the voice over never stops. It's a little bit exhausting to absorb all the information from those veterans while keeping up with all the stunning images on the screen. It would be much better paced if there were some breaks from the voice over.
The film gives a nice touch with one scene showing bright red poppies on the battle ground. Hopefully next November, more people who have seen this film will also wear red poppies to remember these brave soldiers.