‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ slowly tells deadly story of WWI

Photo by Sadie Heieren

"They shall not grow old" is a movie about young soldiers lives as they fought in World War I. The film is being played now at nearby theaters, like the Marcus theater in Oakdale.

Sadie Heieren, Photographer

Opening with an introduction from the director Peter Jackson, “They Shall Not Grow Old” is a newly released movie taking a deep look into the real lives of the World War I American soldiers, who fought in the trenches for our country. Though it takes some time in the movie to get into the true action of war.

Released Dec. 17, 2018, the film is a rated R documentary with real footage from the war. The original footage has been colored and audio interviews from real veterans that served have been added. Sound effects have also been used to help create the feelings of war, and the deaths of the fighters is used to impact viewer’s emotions toward the tragedy known as war. The film is now playing in many nearby theaters.

The film focuses on the men who fought in the “Great War” for our country. It draws in viewers by the knowledge it provides from the deadly war, and it is filled with explosions and gunshots to captivate the audience. The movie allows people to see what life was like for the young men who pushed through lines of people to sign up to serve for the country they loved.

“I always like military movies and that theme because it’s been something of interest to me for a long time, and I plan on pursuing a military career so it is something I really like to learn more about,” junior Devin Spalding said. “The war was just a really big part of our country and really shaped everything on how we are today, it just changed the world forever.”

It’s a very interesting and unique film about the soldiers and their experiences on the front line.”

— Cooper Johnson

In the beginning, real footage from World War I is shown along with real veteran’s voices projected in the background. It starts out a little slow, but then the film shifts to more movie like, with color and animation along with war sound effects that shake the room with every blast of a canon. Jackson’s hard work at putting the film together is displayed greatly in those scenes.

“The sound effects — gunfire, shelling, falling debris — are the movie’s best addition, helping to conjure the sensation of continuous bombardment, day and night. The sonic accompaniment isn’t limited to artillery. We hear squeaks for the rats who invaded the trenches and fed on human flesh. You have to wonder if Jackson popped actual louse eggs to get just the right crackling sound,” wrote Ben Kenigsberg, in the New York Times.

Going through 100 hours of film and 600 hours of interviews took a huge commitment from Jackson and his production team. But, they wanted to bring the soldiers to life for society to see, so the commitment was made and the two-hour movie was produced.

I thought the beginning was slow, but once it shifted into color it was pretty sweet. The way they kind of reanimated it stood out the most, and the way it was filmed and the cinematography really stood out to me. They made the videos colored and come back to life, it was very cool and interesting and innovative,” said junior Cooper Johnson. “It’s a very interesting and unique film about the soldiers and their experiences on the front line.”

They shall not grow old tells the story of how worn out soldiers strived in the poor living spaces of the filthy trenches, uncertain of whether they would survive to see tomorrow. With high ratings, the movie is being praised for spreading the true experience of World War I.