Viewers were left in awe of Peter Jackson’s new WW1 documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old, which aired on BBC1 on Remembrance Sunday.
With the help of his New Zealand-based special effects company, the Lord of the Rings director has breathed new life into archive footage from The Imperial War Museum, whittling hundreds of hours of material down into a hugely affecting tribute to the men who fought for their country all those years ago (including his own grandfather).
“Extraordinary and perspective-altering, a time machine of archive movie-making; a glimpse into a horrifying reality that my grandfather and millions of others experienced,” Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp wrote on Twitter. “Thank you Peter Jackson.”
Actor Luke Evans also chimed in.
“They Shall Not Grow Old is something everyone should watch,” he wrote. “What an incredibly powerful story of the complete hell that was world war 1. Thank you Peter Jackson and the incredibly talented people who put colour to the faces of those brave young men.”
Others were particularly impressed by a moment, 20 minutes into the film, which gradually introduces colour and life to the black-and-white footage, emphasising the remarkable work of the special effects team (which you can watch below).
“Holy Mother of God THAT moment when the shaky grainy black and white film suddenly turns to smooth hi-def colour,” @Kevbo1983 wrote. “Suddenly you’re there with those men. Astounding!”
It was so gripping that it kept BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker up past his bedtime….
They Shall Not Grow Old is available to watch on BBC iPlayer until Saturday 17th November