Nothing is more romantic for Valentines Day than curling up with a loved one than a nice bowl of popcorn and a First World War documentary. Am I right?
Last night, my daughter Caidyn (she is very cool) wanted to spend some dad time at our local Alamo Drafthouse Cinema watching a war documentary. She is contemplating joining the military at some point and a big fan of history, so it made sense to stay out late on a school night to check out something a little out of left field for a father-daughter date night.
Seriously, though, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson created a masterful documentary called “They Shall Not Grow Old.” It covered the First World War from the British perspective using new digital technology that made the footage look almost as good as a Hollywood movie – not quite, but the footage created a different vibe for the movie than I expected.
Jackson was commissioned to create a new take on the old footage on the anniversary of the end of the war. As Jackson explained at the beginning of the film, he experimented with 5 minutes of footage using new technology for five months to see if he could create something truly unique.
And he did. Since I am not a movie critic, it is hard to explain why the movie was so captivating when watching it. Maybe it was seeing the old film in color without glitches that helped my eye follow different characters in each bit of footage.
The documentary used 3D technology that presented the war through a new lens that included remastered audio from interviews of the British veterans from the 1960s and 1970s. A lot of the pops from older recordings were removed making the sound easy to hear.
The software removed the jittery feature we are used to seeing from WWI footage, and the colorization made the footage look almost better than some Vietnam War footage we have seen in the recent documentary by Ken Burns.
Jackson also included a segment on the veteran experience after the war ended. One hundred years ago, veterans felt alienated and distant from their civilian counterparts. Sound familiar?
After watching it, my seventeen-year-old daughter was filled with questions about the backstory of the Prussians, Germany, and our history fighting those same wars, over and over. So, it was a solid success for a father-daughter night as far as I’m concerned.
I know this is rather light when compared against what I generally write about, but the documentary was worth sharing. Check it out.