Have You Seen This Stunning Trailer?

I watched a trailer for a documentary today that nearly brought me to tears.

Honestly, I’ve probably had that happen before. But this was different, because it wasn’t the content that moved me in this trailer–rather, it was the format.

Before I continue, try to picture in your mind what life looked like during the first World War, 100 years ago. If your mind’s eye is anything like mine, it looked like this:

You and I both know that the world wasn’t actually greyscale 100 years ago. But that’s how I picture it, and in doing so, I subconsciously separate my modern life from these olden days. I’m struggling to express this, as it’s not something that even occurred to me until today.

The difference is that thanks to Slashfilm, I’ve now seen the trailer for the documentary They Shall Not Grow Old by Peter Jackson, which uses a new colorization and restoration process to bring old footage to life. It’s in color, and the film speed is what we’re used to.

Even after I read that description, I was just watching out of curiosity. But then my breath was taken away 30 seconds into the trailer, and it stayed away for the next 2 minutes. The closest thought that I can convey is that for the first time, it fully hit me that this actually happened. This was real life, just as today was real for you and me. The world was just as alive 100 years ago as it is today.

“Travel back in time,” the trailer says. And honestly, that’s exactly how I felt watching this trailer. I need to see this documentary.

I know that’s super obvious, but…well, just watch the trailer. Perhaps you’ll have the same reaction and be able to express it better than me. Or perhaps not–that’s fine too. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions.

11 thoughts on “Have You Seen This Stunning Trailer?”

  1. I felt some awe but no tears. Which is strange as I am very emotional today. I would love to see it, it will take some courage to witness, as one youtube comment stated. I know one person who should be given a private showing….though he might take it the wrong way so maybe not.

  2. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I am a veteran of two tours in Iraq and currently work in video post-production and photography, so that hit me squarely in the gut. I too couldn’t breathe for the duration, and spent the next ten minutes sharing it with colleagues and fellow veterans, trying desperately not to cry. What a tremendous tribute to an under-served group. I am in awe.

    • Adrian: Thank you very much for your service, and I would be curious to hear your final thoughts if you have a chance to see the documentary.

  3. I think so much of what most people think about war is only from celebrities portraying highly curated stories. Not only did, as you say, “this actually happen” but they were just ordinary people figuring it out as they went along. My sense is that we rarely talk about the realities of war, let alone literally see it (even still in snippets). And yet people have opinions about it and vote and make policies on it and spend money on it and sign up for it and support it and don’t support it, mostly while never really knowing much about it. This will be valuable not only to honor those involved but shine a different kind of light on the experience. Especially with how involved we are in wars to this day. Fascinating!

    • Well said, Emma–I completely agree. I think that’s one of the reasons it was so moving to me–even just in a short glimpse, it helped me better understand the experience of those people, and it felt like an important thing to understand.

    • Cool in that they have the tech to restore it to what you might see today. The content is definitely sensitive and should be viewed with respect.

  4. Not only have I seen the trailer, but also the whole film, it was on the Uk BBC the weekend before last, it was excellent, very powerful and riveting viewing and storytelling. It starts off all in black and white (small format picture) for a good while before then filling the screen in colour.

  5. I’m really looking forward to watching this. It’s one of those things that you are aware actually happened, but there’s a sense of detachment. This is adding a new dimension and I’m fascinated to watch it for myself!


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