Friday, August 2, 2019
See This Flick!
Whether you saw this in the theater and liked it, missed it and want to catch up, or never heard of it, but want to see a movie about war where all the details are correct, this documentary is out now on DVD/BD. $13 at Le Boutique Targét and Wally Mart.
As the box photo notes, written and directed by Peter Jackson ( Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), WWI archival footage from 100 years ago was painstakingly restored, colorized flawlessly, and time-corrected (film cameras were hand-cranked in that era, and obviously, when shells and bullets were flying, some operators got a bit adrenaline-amped up) to make the people in it move at proper frame rates of real life. Then they employed a small army of lip readers, decoded every word spoken on silent films, and had the dialogue read by proper Englishmen from the appropriate shires and regions. They also used actual WWI veterans whose voice interview recordings were languishing in the cavernous archives at the UK's Imperial War Museum, and used them as narration for some of the appropriate footage. It's marvelously done, and the closest thing you'll ever get to sending out a crew to the trenches of 1916 for a live report, after time travelling back a century.
This is hauntingly beautiful and glorious documentary film work that was a labor of love for Jackson. (He did the whole thing for free, to honor his grandfather, Sgt. William Jackson, who served in the British Army in that war.) It's not a narrative of events, it's a detailed immersive look at what it was like to be Tommy Squaddie in the trenches anytime from 1914-1918, for any army, but specifically British troops.
If you saw it in the theaters last year during its limited release, get a copy. If you missed it, Netflix it. And get a copy.
This is 5-star fantastic filmmaking that should have earned Jackson a special award just for doing it, on behalf of forty million ghosts on all sides of The Great War (before anyone knew enough to number them) who never lived to see 1919.
Heartily, enthusiastically, unequivocally recommended.