“They Shall Not Grow Old” A Fascinating Look at The Great War

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“They shall not grow old” is a marvelous piece of cinematic prowess taken on and brought to us by Sir Peter Jackson.

This man sat though 600 hours of interviews from the original soldiers that were actually there in the middle of one of the most tumultuous parts of our history, but he didn’t do it with Hollywood’s typical fanfare. He, instead, brought us into the hearts and minds of the young men who are actually there in the middle of the mud, the sweat, and all of the carnage of this most terrifying time. He was able to take archived footage and bring it to life for all of us to ponder and appreciate.

The film does carry a certain amount of weight to it not just because of the subject matter, but also because of the reality of hearing those men’s voices recounting their exploits and experiences. They told stories of fear, anticipation, and of duty, the latter being the more common thread. Men of that generation knew what was expected of them. The idea of going to fight for one’s country, to go against the evil of these tyrannical ideologies was just something that they knew they had to do. These ideas and core values were common in that age, but it would seem, are sorely lacking in this one.

Now there are numerous documentaries about WWI, but they don’t seem to have the ground floor humanity that this film did. Even the imagery of this film was done differently. Peter Jackson took the original footage and deepened it, he slowed it down. He took it from the flat surface and through months of experimentation he, and his team, were able to bring these images right into our laps.
This film is, indeed, is a marvelous depiction of the humanity and the horrors of what was supposed to be the first and last war of this kind. I would recommend it whether you are a lover of history or not.