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.


Anonymous said...

Forget where I saw this but it was about a year ago. I concur, get it and watch it.

Anonymous said...

so sad to look at England now and think of both wars and toll taken.

Mal Reynolds said...

I think that the destruction of the bravest and fittest men in those 2 wars is why England is so cucked now.

Anonymous said...

Not just England, Mal. The rest of western Europe as well.

Anonymous said...

Saw it in the theater (sold out reserved seats) with my Bride who was very moved. We will buy several to give to family who missed the showing.
One cannot praise this amazing film too much. A technical achievement and a touching memorial all at once
Boat Guy

James M Dakin said...

England is so screwed now as it was the first to be disarmed. They used the excuse of Irish Terrorism ( freedom fighters ) to take away guns in the 19 teens.
Thanks for the reminder on this movie. I had forgotten all about it.

Anonymous said...

What's Sweden's excuse?

Anonymous said...

I grew up on stories my grandfathers and great uncles told of their time in France (or at sea, in the case of my maternal grandfather)so this film is particularly hard hitting for me. Three great-uncles suffered from mustard gas exposure (one died from the after effects in the 1920's) and all of them were scarred to some extent or another I'm sure. But the stories they told fired my imagination. None of this mere WWII stuff for me (though Dad and my uncles all served), it was WWI that was "The Big War" to me.

(I recall my Grandfather and a neighbor, who had served in the Canadian Black Watch, arguing in a friendly way the merits of the M1903 vs. the SMLE...I love both of those rifles to this day. A great-uncle still bitched 60 years after the fact about how they trained with Lewis guns, but had them replaced with Chauchats before going into combat.. I learned a lot from listening to those old guys!)

Jackson did a magnificent job with this loving tribute to the Lost Generation, even though it was hard to watch. Their suffering and loss makes me tear up when I think about it, and I damn the politicians to Hell for their blindness and hubris in not only causing it, but continuing it for four bloody years. What a waste.

Light Dragoon

The Freeholder said...

I bought a copy a while back. Very moving.

Anonymous said...
A place to watch it free.
Works best with apple, has lots of invasive ads you have to click thru at the beginning.
Your pal