Peter Jackson Jazzes up WWI in 3D and Colour to Traumatise the Kids

By Gary Cutlack on at

Peter Jackson's about to release a film about the Great War, but it won't feature 10,000 CG soldiers rampaging across a CG France. It'll star the actual soldiers of the first world war, with archive footage restored, colourised and thrust through a 3D filter in order to give today's generation a small sense of what it was like to almost certainly get slaughtered in a wet trench 100 years ago.

They Shall Not Grow Old uses mostly archive footage from the collection of the Imperial War Museum, with Jackson and his little black book of contacts at special effects houses using modern tech to clean up the ancient films. Audio interviews with veterans that were conducted later in their lives have also been spliced in, with Jackson avoiding combat technicalities and history lessons in favour of giving a human account of what it was like for the people on the ground.

The film is set to launch on October 16, when it'll premiere at the BFI and also be released to secondary schools around the country, so kids can have a break from easy iPad lessons to be taught about death and sacrifice. Us lot will then get a chance to see it when it's shown on the BBC this coming Armistice Day, on the big 100-year anniversary of the ending of fighting.

Jackson explained: "I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world, so they can regain their humanity once more —  rather than be seen only as Charlie Chaplin-type figures in the vintage archive film. By using our computing power to erase the technical limitations of 100 year cinema, we can see and hear the Great War as they experienced it." [BFI]