They Shall Not Grow Old

Colorized and restored footage on the left vs. the original footage on the right

I finally got a chance to watch the new Peter Jackson documentary about WWI, “They Shall Not Grow Old.” The film is almost entirely composed of restored BBC footage of the war with voiceover narration by actual WWI veterans. The most impressive part is how elaborately the footage was restored and modernized. Not only was it cleaned up and colorized, but they also fixed the frame rate and speed. This makes the previously jerky 100-year-old footage smooth and natural as a modern HD movie. Since the footage is also silent, Jackson had voice actors read the lips of the soldiers in the footage and dub exactly what they were saying in real life. It’s pretty astounding. The movie itself is a bit slow, especially in the beginning, but it’s effective in bringing the soldier’s stories to life so you can understand how truly awful of an experience WWI was.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer.

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