Peter Jackson’s Tribute to the heroes of The Great War

Peter Jackson, known for his movie adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, promises audiences they’ll experience the Great War as they’ve never seen it before in his latest film, They Shall Not Grow Old.

The teaser reveals an astounding technical achievement. Jackson has restored, colorized, and repaired hundreds of original films from World War One to show audiences what it was like to fight and die in that terrible conflict. By doing so, he’s made hundred-year-old images seem real and poignant to modern audiences.

I’ve searched numerous articles to see Peter Jackson’s thoughts on the making of this film, and what drove him to do it. I suspect, though I can’t confirm, that Jackson’s latest project grew from his research into the life and work of J.R.R. Tolkien. It was the shocking carnage at the Battle of the Somme, where Tolkien served as Battalion Signaling Officer of the Lancashire Fusiliers, that tormented and inspired the young scholar to capture in fiction the horror — and hope — he’d learned on the battlefield.

Tolkien’s way of making sense of what he’d gone through in WWI was to craft a tale that warned of the dehumanizing effect of technology while celebrating the courage and decency of ordinary people. That, I think, is the true power of fantastic fiction, which opens us to a realm of rediscovered and reimagined possibilities thought lost but still within our grasp.

18 thoughts on “Peter Jackson’s Tribute to the heroes of The Great War”

  1. The pictures in the video are well done.

    I guess I could mention how Richard Weaver condemned the US for dropping nukes on Japan in WWII. And he noted how those who worked on the bombs might not have been aware they were aiding in mass murder, because each job might be very separate, thus blind to the whole of the project.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sreng,

      Richard Weaver: “The atomic bomb was a final blow to the code of humanity.”

      J.R.R. Tolkien: ““The news today about ‘Atomic bombs’ is so horrifying one is stunned. The utter folly of these lunatic physicists to consent to do such work for war-purposes: calmly plotting the destruction of the world!”

      To which I say, “Amen.”


  2. “… power of fantastic fiction, …” – – keep talking; it’s not my favorite genre yet, but I am listening. Thanks for sharing.
    Today, reading Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth, I was transported to the mystique of Monte-Carlo, circa 1903. Readers will already be more worldly today than last century, but can be taken to new worlds in creative fiction (Cathedra as an example, of course!). I find your take that Jackson treads into “… a realm of rediscovered and reimagined possibilities …” is a different but prescient thought in the vein of non-fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

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