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*** Official "GODS AND GENERALS" Review Thread


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#1 of 4 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 21 2003 - 06:30 PM

This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Gods and Generals". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



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#2 of 4 OFFLINE   Matt_P

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Posted February 22 2003 - 03:32 AM

Just a quick review:

This film is really bad. I'm usually a sucker for historical pictures (being a fan of both film and history), but nothing can save this one. They simply try to do too much, and the point gets lost.

It is riddled with problems, some of which include: Acting is quite wooden, and the script has characters reciting lengthy poems, and epic stories with flawless eloquence (where was the telepromter at Fredricksburg?); The Confederacy was illustrated in a far too positive light, while the Union regulars were often shown as a bunch of looting, unsynchronized hooligans; There are maybe four different types of shots in the film (close-up, medium, side tracking for battles over and over and over again), making it visually uninteresting; Battle scenes are extremely sterile; It approaches the point of purely glamorizing the Civil War (the tragic nature of the conflict was briefly touched upon by a few female characters); The score, while excellent in its own right, is used to death (the main theme repeats incessantly throughout, even during battle sequences); VFX looked like bad digital cartoons; Ted Turner's odd cameo as a Confederate officer joking at a music show.......the list goes on, my friends.

It does go out of its way to be accurate event-wise. Subtitles are frequent, telling the audience who's brigade they are looking at, and where they are. It would have been more feasable to do a film focusing on one character, such as Stonewall Jackson.

It's really too bad. I wanted to like this picture.

There is an intermission at a somewhat awkward point.

Want to spend four quality hours at the movies? Pop in the Lawrence of Arabia DVD, and stay home. Want to watch a superb Civil War film? Stick with Glory.

#3 of 4 OFFLINE   Bill J

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Posted February 22 2003 - 05:03 PM

Gods and Generals was certainly an ambitious and noble effort, but it quickly became a dull and tedious mess. The film obviously strives to become historically accurate as it appears to capture the period perfectly. However, the battle scenes lacked intensity and were very underwhelming. They failed to portray the horrors of war and gradually became as boring as the constant speeches and quotations.

With a 216 minute running time, I was expecting that this film would have a consistent, straightforward narrative while depicting epic battle sequences. Unfortunately, these are the primary two areas where Gods and Generals fails. The film consisted of a wide variety of people, places, and concepts, instead of focusing on just one. As a result, almost all of the characters became one-dimensional and underdeveloped. I found it very difficult to sympathize for any of them and quickly lost interest. It felt almost as if Ronald F. Maxwell didn't know what direction to take this film, so he attempted to portray everything he possibly could. Civil War buffs may enjoy that quality, but I certainly did not.

While the battle reenactments were historically accurate with the setting, tactics, clothing, etc., the film hardly showed any violence or gore, thus a PG-13 rating. There is no question that the actual battles were bloody and gruesome, but the film fails to acknowledge this. Gods and Generals does not give you as true of a portrayal of the large scale sacrifice of human lives as previous Civil War films have.

One area where the film does undoubtedly succeed is the performances of the lead actors, particularly Robert Duvall. I also thought that Jeff Daniels put forth a good performance, but I don't think he had nearly enough screen time.

While Gods and Generals was definitely true to the era, it failed to deliver any form of emotional impact.

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#4 of 4 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted July 17 2003 - 09:31 AM

Just caught this on DVD yesterday:

I didn't find Gods and Generals nearly as enthralling as Gettysburg for the reasons Bill stated above. While I admire the dedication to authenticity, I wish the filmmakers had put more effort into maintaining a coherent storyline. FWIW, it does pick up a head of steam near the midway point but quickly begins to wander again. I've heard there's a longer version of Gods & Generals and perhaps that cut more fully fleshes out the narrative. It's a shame the DVD doesn't offer that version. Still, I'm looking forward to The Last Full Measure...

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