They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)
November 13, 2018 4:33 AM - Subscribe

Employing state-of-the-art technology to transform audio and moving image archive footage more than a century old, Peter Jackson brings to life the people who can best tell the story of World War I: the men who were there.

Available on iPlayer in the UK link
Description from BBC page:

Driven by a personal interest in the conflict, Jackson sets out to explore the day-to-day experience of its combatants. Immersed for months in the BBC and Imperial War Museum archives, Jackson created narratives and strategies regarding how this story should be told. Using only the voices of those involved, the film explores the reality of war on the front line: their attitudes to the conflict, how they ate, rested and formed friendships in those moments between battles, as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. Each frame of the film has been hand-colourised by Jackson's team, the footage 3D-digitised, transformed with modern post-production techniques, enabling these soldiers to walk and talk among us.

Reaching into the mists of time, Jackson aims to give these men voices, investigate the hopes and fears of these veterans that survived and were able to tell their stories, and detail the humility and humanity of those who represented a generation forever changed by the destruction of a global war.
posted by ppl (8 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
What they’ve done with the footage is pretty miraculous. Not just the colour, but the frame rates and shakiness and scratches and so on (and the addition of sound!). There’s a clip about the process here.

You can see why it was done on WW1 footage first, but it made me curious what could be done with other vintage footage: street scenes, football matches, whatever they’ve got.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:12 PM on November 13, 2018 [4 favorites]

A brilliant piece of film. Worth a watch if you can. I was sceptical when I first heard the concept, but there is a power in seeing footage like this that other media will never quite equal. I was concerned at first that it was going to be propagandised, or gimmicky, but in the end it turned out to be a remarkably powerful anti-war film. Highly recommended.

My only criticism would be that it focuses almost exclusively on the British point of view, and provides next to no wider context. But that would be a different film, and this approach effectively puts you in the shoes of the Tommies who also would have had no real understanding of the context either. They signed up for adventure, and were delivered death. The film makes that pretty clear.
posted by Acey at 3:24 PM on November 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

Only in the UK for now, but I'm really looking forward to it arriving in Canada. The samples in the link from Bloxworth Snout are pretty amazing.
posted by Mogur at 3:36 PM on November 13, 2018

official trailer
posted by bq at 1:11 PM on November 15, 2018

If you are in one of the regions showing it in theaters on the 27th of December, I highly recommend staying for Peter Jackson's post-credit discussion, even if film and tech details aren't your favorite.

Some of the context Jackson provides lands as hard as the film itself.
posted by Laetiporus at 5:26 PM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

I just watched this at home, having *cough* found it on youtube or something...and I am simply agape.

The audio, recorded in the 1960s & 70s, is very clear. I honestly thought they had done it with contemporary voice actors, so I was amazed that they were able to deliver the lines so honestly.

The interpolation of missing frames on the old video is done well enough that you ignore it in the early minutes of the video...and when it goes full-frame, you just...whoosh, get sucked in.

As an inverse of Acey's remark, above, I don't mind that it focuses on the British. Then again, I would swoon over a film like this that was made with German footage & voices & letters, and another for the French, and the Americans -- and any of the Commonwealth nations, regardless of how much or how little materials their soldiers generated.

(Can anyone comment on the duration of the post-film "making of" feature, so I can try to track it down online?)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:53 PM on January 2, 2019

I just got back from seeing it. I honestly expected to cry my way through it, but instead I was so fascinated by watching all the faces that I didn't get overwhelmed in the way I thought I would. (Although there's a moment in the post-movie doc that nearly wiped me out entirely.) Jackson made a specific choice to narrow his story down to "generic British soldier" and I think that was the right choice, as much as I'd like to see all the other stories he mentions he could tell with the footage. If they let him do more of this, I'd come back for it.

The biggest part of the treatment of the film for me was that it brought me closer in. I ended up noticing small details and bits of humor that I would have missed from the original black and white damaged footage. There's a moment where a soldier is bonking his friend on the helmet, being a typical kid clowning around, and the whole audience laughed because we've know that person, or been that person, and for a moment we all felt like we knew these two kids so far away in history.

Most of the veterans were being interviewed long after the war (I also thought they were actors at first) and it was interesting to hear so much of the traditional "stiff upper lip" phrasing of stuff when combined with what was obviously a nightmare of thunder and death.

Off to go google the "truly filthy" variants of Mademoiselle from Armentières.
posted by PussKillian at 5:21 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

This has finally made its way to my favorite local cinema, and I'd like to see it. Most of the showings are in 3D. Normally I only watch things in 2D, but my research (aka light googling) suggests that the 3D version isn't bad. Has anyone seen this in 3D? Do you have any recommendations on format?
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:35 AM on February 3, 2019

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