All: My wife, oldest son (army vet) and I went and viewed Peter Jackson's documentary film in a special showing in Kansas City last night at a local theater (it was a special showing and tickets had to be ordered onhline in advance).
I will not say too much about how the film came to be made and Jackson's choices, he does a more than wonderful job of explaining things both at the beginning of the film as well as in a must see "documentary of the documentary" after the credits for the main event are finished rolling.
Spoiler alert, I will give away a couple things about the film, but try to avoid giving away too much.
First of all, the basic material comes from the hundreds of hours of film footage (mabye thousands) that the Imperial War Museum in Britain made available to Jackson for the project.
Jackson sort of iteratively worked his way through how he wanted to handle the film as well as hundreds of hours of oral history recordings with veterans of World War I also made available to him. He pretty much limited his raw material to the colleciton of the Imperial war Museum.
To cut to the chase, with editing, and colorization, he brings the British soldier's perpective of World War I to life for modern audiences in a stunning way. it is a masterpiece of existential/humanistic film-making. There is a beautiful symmetry to the film in the way he goes from black and white, to color, and then back to black and white.
Again, it is a stunning piece of work and i would recommend it for all audiences except perhaps children younger than about 10 years old (because of some of the graphic wounds and deaths depicted). The soundtrack is no less brilliant. If Jackson had never done the Lord of the Rings films he would still be justly celebrated for this achievement.
I would be interested to hear the views of other H-Warriors on the topic, with the caveat that Jackson himself says he made this film for the non-historian, not for academic military historians and historians.
BTW, He never explains the title of the film. I guess he leaves it to information/social mediea saavy audiences to google the title and learn its origins. [Hint: the only people who have seen the end of war are the dead]
John T. Kuehn, Fort Leavenworth Kansas