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Peter T Chattaway

They Shall Not Grow Old

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Peter Jackson's best film in years (some would say his only good one in years) is this World War I documentary that consists entirely of restored war footage and archival interviews (and by "restored", I mean not just that Jackson & team have reversed a century of degradation, but that they have colourized the footage and corrected the frame-rate and converted it to 3D and added voices with the assistance of professional lip-readers, etc., all to help "bring it to life").

I saw it in December at one of the early Fathom Events screenings, which turned out to be so successful that they had some encore screenings, and *now* the film is in general release across North America and has a very good shot at cracking this week's box-office top ten.

So, strikingly, this could very well be the *fifth* documentary released in 2018 to gross over $10 million in North America (certainly if we combine the Fathom Events grosses with the general-release grosses). No previous year had more than three such films -- and in *those* years, the three such films were all Disney nature films or behind-the-scenes concert movies or far-right/far-left political screeds, whereas none of this year's success stories fit into those categories.

For what it's worth, I liked the film a lot, and it definitely doesn't shy away from some of the more brutal aspects of the war. The Fathom Events screenings followed the film with a half-hour look at the *making* of the film, which I also found fascinating; I assume they haven't included that with the general-release screenings, but I hope they include it on the DVD or something like that.

 

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