This spectacular documentary by Peter Jackson manages to show some of the harshness of World War I, and tell a story most people probably does not know.
This is one work of cinematic art. By using original footage from the war from The Imperial War Museum, and then adding on real interviews of british servicemen who fought in the war they manage to paint a portrait of just how awful that war was.
There are a lot of war documentaries being made, but nothing like this. Most of the footage has been colorized, to make a closer feeling to what the soldiers felt on the battlefield, and the way they add the radio interviews over as voice overs to capture the evocative experience.
The crew working on this reviewed 600 hours of interviews and 100 hours of original footage, so it is very clear that this is a movie made of love, Peter Jackson dedicated the film to his grandfather who fought in the war and he was very clear that it was meant to be “What it was like to be a soldier” and that I will say he succeeds in .
The technical aspects of this film is a part of why it is so good. Film footage from 1914 is not exactly the 4K footage we find today, and the crew has done award winning jobs on restoring this. They Shall Not Grow Old manages to do something few documentaries does, educate and feel.
I think that is the aspect of a good documentary, manage to let us feel what the people felt, and this film has memorable faces harrowing details, and stories about young boys that lied on their age because they were excited about going to war and not having any idea what they went to
The title is taken from a 1914 poem by Laurence Binyon often used in memorial parades for WW1. The amazing restoration makes this the most spectacular war documentary ever made, and a must watch for everyone even if they just want to see the impressive restoration.