Thursday, 23 February 2012

All Quiet on The Western Front

All Quiet On The Western Front, 1930
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Nominated for 4 Oscars, Won 2

All Quiet On The Western Front is the first Oscar winning film about war. There have been tons and tons of films that have won Best Picture that either take place in war, or have a war theme. Even more have been nominated. But this was the first one to win (albeit it was the third movie to win ever).

All Quiet was made in the year 1930. It's about a young German man, Paul, who, after a rousing speech from his teacher, him and his friends, and all his classmates enlist in WWI, thinking it would be a great adventure, and would bring them honor. Of course, now, we know how wrong they all were.

The film looks spectacular for a movie made 82 years ago. Wow, 82 years ago. It seems so crazy that they were making films, and they looked as good as this one. For a movie made in 1930, where there was no CGI, no computers, or special effects, this movie looked pretty real. The graphics weren't as horrible as I expected them to be. In fact, they looked quite good from what I could tell, though I am hardly an expert. The film looked great, and was decently acted, though slightly melodramatic, but melodrama is forgiven in a 1930's WWI film.

Overall, the film was a little dry. There are very few character we connect to, really. We only really get to know Paul the last half hour or so of the movie after (spoiler) almost everyone he knows dies. The film has very little plot, and merely follows Paul and the 2nd Company through the war. While this sort of thing works for movies like The Hurt Locker (yes, I loved that movie), it didn't work so much for the movie here. Had there been strong character connection, or development, this film would've been a lot better than it had.

Still, it's an impressive film for being so old, and I kind of liked it. I'm surprised there hasn't been any sort of remake yet (it was remade as a TV movie in the 70s, which hardly counts). While I know there were rumors of Daniel Radcliffe being attached to a remake some years ago, this seems unlikely. It'd be interesting to see what they'd do with it, and it has the most potential for a really good remake of the very early winners.

Overall, the film had more novelty to it than it did the actual story. It was an interesting angle, coming at it from the side of the Germans, which I found interesting. WWI is so depressing, something I've been learning from book/stage production of War Horse, and was even more reinforced with this film. WWI was a war to bring home honor, when it never really brought anyone home. Thousands, upon thousands of people died, and most didn't know what they were fighting for. There was an interesting conversation between some of the troops in this film, discussing why they thought the war had started. They said that 1 country had offended another. Was it the Brits? The French? They weren't sure. One man noted that he wasn't offended by anything, so why should he have to fight? He went on to say that his solution for war would be to have the government people of each country entering a ring in a roped off field in their underwear, be handed clubs and fight it out there. It's an interesting idea. Why should there be a war when this is really the government's idea, or about something that doesn't concern the people, or if they don't know why? And that was a strong message throughout the film. And it really is true.

Acting- 7.5/10     
Directing- 7/10     
Screenplay- 7.5/10     
Music – 7.5/10    
Visuals- 8/10     
Entertaining- 6.5/10    
Emotional Connection- 6.5/10     
Rewatchability- 6/10     
Overall Enjoyment- 7/10     
Overall Package- 7/10      

Total: 70.5/100

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