I had the opportunity last week to see Peter Jackson’s documentary on the first World War. Jackson, of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fame, was approached by the Imperial War Museums in Great Britain about making a WWI film for the war’s centennial end in November 2018.
Jackson is a history buff, particularly the first World War because his grandfather fought in it. He considered how to make a movie that was unique and original before accepting the assignment.
The film is indeed unique and original.
Starting with archival film footage that was restored and colorized, Jackson then added voice recordings of veterans telling some of their experiences on the Western Front in Belgium.
The result is gripping, emotional, and will linger long after you leave the theatre.
There was an additional thirty minute “making of” documentary after the documentary, where Jackson explained some of the reasoning behind his directorial choices, as well as how he employed lip readers, sound effects, and so on.
The whole ended up being two hours of history, film-making, with a bit of personal memoir.
The documentary is in limited release. If you can find it, I highly recommend seeing it.