“War is hell” has become one of the most well-known sayings in just about every language, but do we truly know what it means? It is safe to say that it is hard to know how tough physically and emotionally that serving in combat can be unless you have served in any military, especially before all of the high levels of technology used today. With this in mind, legendary director Peter Jackson brings a new form of documentary that illustrates this in “They Shall Not Grow Old”.
Using film footage from the London Imperial War Museum that has not been seen in many years and cutting edge technology that combines archived interview footage, colorization, and 3D, this film shows World War I from the standpoint of the veterans who served on the battlefield from being at home and the war starting, recruitment into the military, boot camp, serving in battle and life afterward. It begins as if the audience is watching the film in an old crank-style viewing machine in black and white until they get to the battlefront, when the film goes to full screen and converts from black and white to color. This was a great decision for me as I really felt that adding the color to the film made everything feel more realistic. I was really impressed with the interviews, giving the feel like the subjects were talking directly to me as if we were having a one-on-one conversation.
This film does not sugarcoat war in anyway, telling how rough life was like through some very graphic images not just from war but also the fallout at home as well. It’s level of honest truly gives an appreciation for the sacrifices these soldiers gave in a powerful ninety minutes. I truly cannot find anything wrong with this film, but I also cannot stress enough on how graphic this film is. I will definitely recommend this film and I am proud to say this gets my coveted full price in the theaters recommendation.