If this film is showing anywhere near you at this point in time you must go see it.
I included the trailer here but the trailer really does it no justice in terms of its visual impact.
I have never, until seeing this film, heard an entire audience audibly gasp at a film and its presentation as they did here. I hate 3D films. It was a gimmick that grew in popularity a few years ago largely for kids films and other popcorn material and has largely begun to fade away thankfully. I also don’t like the colorization of old black and white films. The colors are always off—particularly skin tones…and so I had reservations here.
Trust me…go see it in the manner Peter Jackson (he of Lord of the Rings fame) intended and see a 3D version (you will find some theaters showing 2D versions). The work done by Jackson and his staff of New Zealand artists in restoring and enhancing the 100 year old film is nothing short of a miracle. Also stay past the credits to see a 1/2 hour addition to the film that shows some of the painstaking work they went through to do the restoration. You will be amazed at the detail and improvements (not alterations) they were able to make.
So to the film itself. Its a documentary regarding WWI. It doesn’t cover the whole war and in fact only covers a “generalized” group of British men from their time joining up through their return to Britain after the war. Its real footage of the war is impressive enough on its own but its not the draw. The draw is the looks in the eyes of the boys (for the 14-17 year olds that often largely populated these armies are just boys) doing the fighting. Having never seen a film camera before they don’t understand that they can move while being filmed (vs. static cameras) and so stare at the film camera allowing you to see into I dare say their souls.
At moments heartbreaking in scenes of piles of broken and torn boys to images of disgust at rats feeding on the corpses of horses and humans to moments of humor and play in the trenches the film lays bare many of the horrors of war while also reflecting why many members who serve look back at such times with fondness longing for the close relationships that are only developed under fire.
Go see it. Its in limited release and not everywhere but where its showing the theaters are busy due to word of mouth. It won’t be around long in this format and won’t be nearly as impressive at home. You owe it to yourself to see it in this format. You will be awed at what Jackson has achieved.