Peter Jackson breathes life into World War I soldiers, horrors in ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’

Peter Jackson brings the awe to World War I with “They Shall Not Grow Old.”

But the Oscar-winning director (“The Lord of the Rings”) opens the film with traditional black-and-white footage depicting the prelude to the global conflict that ended a century ago.

As the war escalates, Jackson propels the viewer directly into the battle. The first unforgettable scene pulls in close – in color and in 3D – on a young soldier, with exploding shells around him and thick mud sloshing beneath his feet. Yet he’s wide-eyed at the camera recording him.

“It’s that kid staring, he’s maybe 15,” says Jackson. “He’s on the Western front, and he’s just transfixed by the camera. I want to know his name and his life story.”

It’s these visceral responses that the filmmaker hoped to invoke by putting his renowned technical prowess, his passion and four years of painstaking work into ” “TSNGO” (playing in theaters nationwide with Fathom Events Dec. 17 and 27).

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