By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
There are war documentaries and there is Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old. Though other war documentaries often include footage from other sources, Jackson’s movie almost solely consists of material from the Imperial War Museum’s archives. Jackson molds, shapes and restores to tell some very personal stories from some of the British people who served during World War I. The result is a very remarkable and heartfelt film which reminds its audiences of the real pain and trauma experienced by war veterans who survived to share their information.
To really flesh out and develop the archival material, Jackson includes recorded accounts of some of British veterans who shared what they went through from training to actual combat and how they felt during these trying times. These voices add a real human element to the real people who witnessed attrocities, felt genuine fear, but had the courage in their hearts to do what was expected of them. It is definitely amazing to hear multiple voices of people from various backgrounds who served during the war and lived through some of the worst conditions known to humanity. It truly amazes me what people are willing to endure and overcome during such challenges to one’s physical and mental capacities.
Jackson and his crew do a fantastic job of not only restoring and colorizing the old footage, but also editing and reconstructing it to tell these very personal stories. This is a documentary I must strongly recommend. It is definitely one of the best war documentary projects I have seen this far and one that deserves to be experienced on the big screen.