Playing Friday-Monday, February 8th – 11th. Follow ticketing link HERE!
Having sold out at event screenings since December, “They Shall Not Grow Old,” which opens for a full run this week, is poised to become the only blockbuster this year that was filmed from 1914 to 1918, on location on the Western Front. Commissioned to make a movie for the centennial of the Armistice, using original footage, Peter Jackson has taken a mass of World War I archival clips from Britain’s Imperial War Museum and fashioned it into a brisk, absorbing and moving experience.
How he has done this is simultaneously novel and destined to earn the justifiable quibbling of purists. Although the film is book ended by black-and-white footage of men going off to war and then returning home, the battlefield sequences have been substantially doctored, with the ostensible goal of making them more immersive and appealing to modern audiences. Given how few films from the 1910s are showing in multiplexes, the intent is at least arguably noble, although you wonder how Jackson would feel about his “Lord of the Rings” being tinkered with 100 years after its making.
Jackson has adjusted the frame rates (the speed at which a film is projected, which wasn’t standardized until the sound era); added color in ways said to comport with the actual hues of uniforms and landscapes; given the film a 3-D conversion that can be seen in select theaters; and dubbed in voices for the soldiers, with the aid of forensic lip readers employed to figure out what they were saying.