18 years ago. Since I started to research and become passionate about the histoeical topic of the American Civil War, I have loved Gods and Generals. Gods and Generals is the worst movie of 2003 and one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The costumes and sets were very believeable and historically accurate. Since the story revolves around Stonewall Jackson it will obviously give his point of view on the subject also. On the second score -- no one will ever walk away from this film eager to see war in real life. Forgot your password? Lots of dead bodies. robert duvall is a far, far better lee than martin sheen could ever hope to be. This movie was like a few movies in one. The acting is top notch, most noteably Stephen Lang as Stonewall Jackson. February 24, 2003. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels) is a college professor who volunteers as a soldier for the Union Army. Gods and Generals mimics history by treating slavery as the unacknowledged elephant in the room, the cause behind the cause of the war. Swapping politics for crass platitudes, Gods and Generals is a monumental folly. See it, and decide for yourself about this film. It is a beautiful film to look at, with great feeling for the often-wild landscape of the era; in this respect, it gains immeasurably from being seen on a full-scale theatrical screen. I highly recommend this book. I'm glad to have seen a different perspective but it seemed to be rather one-sided favoring the South. The weird thing about the movie is that it drifted back-and-forth between sides allowing us to see the `realness' of the characters but halfway thru the Jeff Daniels' character started becoming God-fearing as well. I think it should be read in order because each story leads up to t …more Awards Don't have an account? Men line up with their rifles (in a mode of combat no longer practiced), blast away at each other nearly face-to-face, and drop en masse like bags of bloody meat. I am fairly confident that the majority of Americans will not like nor support this film due to its overall pro-southern emphasis. The procession of monotonous, oddly gore-free battles breaks frequently for bloated speechifying. I have heard it said that history is written by the victors--- and that's probably true. An interesting film weakened by ham-fisted writing and direction and heavy-handed revisionism. The acting, writing, cinematography are all of top quality. This review is based on the movie and the quality of the movie not the historical accuracy or inaccuracy. For example, we know that Stonewall rode with his left hand raised to keep his "humors in balance" and was constantly concerned about his alimentary health. Gods and Generals is the second installment of the Michael/Jeff Shaara Civil War trilogy and the second to be filmed. Because God is on their side, the kind, virtuous, heroic, men of the southern army prevail in several combat engagements against the godless, sex-crazed, murderous barbarians of the north. It may be just as well. Stirring, well-acted, and intelligent film about the war. Unfortunately, a re-enactment during a … 'Gods and Generals' is a flawed piece that works better as an educational tool rather than as a feature film. And...intentionally or not...conveys the impression that the film uncritically celebrates the Confederacy. This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. FeDe's Review of Gods and Generals. Directed by Ron Maxwell. I grant, a clever and courageous General, he deserves all our proper honor. If the movie was only this, it would have been a much better movie. Unlike most, I did not read the book, and when first viewing the film, was not aware there was one. I use this as my basis for the history and narrative of the US civil war. Billy Crystal once said, "We know where we would be without the critics, but where would they be without us?" When you watch the film, try and keep that in mind and don't listen to these doorknobs who claim that everybody in the northern states were all righteous and pure and wanted to liberate the black slaves in the south and that all southerners were racist traitors, dry that out and you could fertilize Central Park in New York. Also Jeff Daniels and Robert Duvall as General Lee. I liked Gettysburg and the novel "Gods and Generals" better. The battle scenes are weak and not very exciting either. Its not that I can't watch a long movie as all three Lord of the Rings were pretty good. This prequel to Gettysburg examines the early days of the conflict through the experiences of three men. )....and his slaves lying to Northern soldiers to keep their property from being looted....Was is really a war between with greedy North...and the Christian, righteous, glorious South?? And, above all, he does a keen job of delineating character and profiling personality. If that doesn't raise some flags I don't know what would. Gods and Generals is, however, fun to read. Gods and Generals movie reviews & Metacritic score: Gods and Generals, the screen adaptation of Jeff Shaara's heralded best-selling novel and prequel to the acclaimed drama … The dialog, rigid and awkward, is so bad at times, it is laughable. Gods and Generals was hands down one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Then again, a historical film doesn't require explicit blood and gore in order to feel authentic. As a result, an otherwise talented ensemble actors portray an otherwise fascinating collection of historical figures, in a fashion lacking of anything remotely resembling a human personality. Bad Bad Bad, I watched this thinking I might get a handle on the Civil War - Wrong only religious sentimental claptrap, Bad script, badly acted bad CGI and awful beards. Major engagements are quickly glossed over with little explanation. It is long, but it is a good 'rainy day' movie. Good movie overall but Gettysburg was better. By Phil Boatwright, posted February 19, 2003 in . I am a big..big fan of the original Gettysburg..and a civil war buff.....I am not sure what happened but it seems like it was made by "Confederate lovers of America".....incredibly one-sided....cheesy preachy dialog... and laughable scenes of Sonewall Jackson praying with his slave to end slavery,(sure that happened!!!! Imagine watching half of Band of Brothers in one sitting, but with the story moving at a much slower pace. This is a film as remote and unyielding as an untouched textbook. William B. Feis earned a Ph.D in military history from The Ohio State University in 1997 and is currently an associate professor of history at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Now Playing: Gods and Generals Video Review The game's music generally consists of the same four-to-five-second loop of phony, synthesized orchestral music that hiccups each time it … Over-produced civil war movie with excellent portrayal of Stonewall... period detail, but overlong, sentimental, and unclear as to its message. If You Don't Know Who Sandy Pendleton Is, Stay Away, one of the great epic films of the decade. Not a bad film as Civil War films go, but the character of Stonewall Jackson, a hypochondriacal, anal-retentive, religious zealot as the saintly character played by Steven Lang is a little far-fetched. Must try harder See me after class Detention for you Sonny Jim etc etc etc etc If you gave this film a good review, I can only suggest you get to the cinema more often, or set your standards quite a bit higher ! Stay far away from the three hour-plus Gods and Generals--unless, of course, you need a good nap. In one memorable scene, Col. Chamberlain [Jeff Daniels] sleeps on the nighttime battlefield using his fellow soldiers' corpses as bedding; come daylight, he uses those same corpses to absorb flying enemy bullets once the battle resumes anew. Perhaps an R-rated film, instead of an audience friendly PG-13 rated film, would have increased realism in a movie about one of the bloodiest chapters in our nation's history. The critics I've read seem to object to the piety, the length, and lack of political correctness. Jackson and others may have been convinced that God was on their side, but how exactly did they square that with support for a system that had already been abolished in the British Empire? It simply requires talent, a quality abundantly deficient in Gods and General. | It amazes me that the people who made this film could not see what a mind-numbing, boring turkey they had produced. worth seeing just for lang and duvall, and the supporting cast is just as impressive. But this film makes him an angel such as he never really was. It did present the extent to which public figures at the time were motivated in their own conscious mind by religion, including generals, but given the fact that the South was fighting to maintain slavery, the message seemed confused. This is just a Ted Turner vanity project that should have been made for TV. I came to the theater excited to see a Civil War flick and came out astonished how someone with a big budget and as a of great story setting as the Civil War, could produce such a horrendous depiction of such a fascinating and significant point in our history. I had heard great things about the new movie Gods and Generals. Big mistake, Gods and Generals is the dullest film I have ever seen. Gods and Generals is the prequel to “The Killer Angels,” the novel on which the movie Gettysburg was based. A rich man's attempt to "buy" history. Thinks it is grand without ever being so. Also other long films have been quite enjoyable. He was a decidedly unpretty man, but the depiction here is of a man who might model men's work clothes in an LL Bean catalog. The portrait of Jackson is accurate from the big issues (his profound religious faith) down to the trivial (his fondness for lemonade). Cinafilm has collected 71 user reviews of Gods and Generals (2003) written by amateur reviewers - members of the cinema-going public. If you ask me, you're better off watching documentaries about the civil war. Are we supposed to take their false moralizing at face value, or is this a satire? But who is the victor now? What is wrong with the critics....they must have slept through most the film. Get the freshest reviews, news, and more delivered right to your inbox! FAQ By. Lee much more than Martin Sheen in "Gods", Sheen gives a much more personified performance as Lee in "Gettysburg". The film plays like a special issue of American Heritage. Susan LaFollette I started with Gods and Generals, am almost done, and then going to Killer Angels. The films running time is 231 minutes long and that includes an intermission. Overall, cinema-goers prefer the movie, giving it an average score of 73%, compared to film critics, who gave it a lower average score of 45%. Directed by Ron Maxwell. With Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, Donzaleigh Abernathy. I think the biggest mistake that people make when watching something like this is that they are thinking with 21st century minds. With Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, Donzaleigh Abernathy. The lulls are just too long for a film that goes over 3 1/2 hours. Metadata: Format(s): Text Articles Share this post: THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (BP)–The sweeping Civil War epic begins in early 1861 and continues through 1863, just prior to the Battle of Gettysburg. Regarding the lack of maps just go to Wikipedia and look up the battles. | This movie deserved to fail, and, though I am in some ways sorry that "Last Full Measure" will therefore not be produced, I am apprehensive what these filmmakers would have done with it. But for open-minded individuals who like history and well-made movies this one can't be beat. Metacritic Reviews. Read GameSpot player reviews and contribute your own! Sidney Poitier’s 7 Most Memorable Performances, All Harry Potter Movies Ranked Worst to Best by Tomatometer, Succumbs to turgidity. The dialoge between the Generals, Top civilians, and the foot soldier gives the viewer a good taste of the variety of sentiments of the day. The canonization of Stonewall is silly. On the first score -- too long for what? Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes lists an 8% approval rating while Metacritic lists a score of 30, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Revisionist hooey! `Gods and Generals' may be a more `realistic' war film than `Gone With the Wind' (what wouldn't be? They say it is pro-slavery. And the moving scene with human emotions between Jackson and the little Corbin girl brings the human touch to the character. cinematography is incredible, and the scope of the film is extraordinarily ambitious. Read some reviews to get the verdict from film fans! However for those who love history and have an open mind then this is the movie for you. Actually, I was shocked that the movie I just saw was in no way, the movie that so many people called out right disapointing. The acting was below average which is surprising give the talent involved. Even more upsetting is how the film manages turn some of the most gripping battles in US history, into a series of confusing anti-climatic debacles. I was surprised that they messed up this film so bad and there's still talk of another film. ''Gods and Generals,'' a lumpy three-and-a-half-hour glob of Civil War history, occupies a narrow but self-important cinematic genre that might be called American History Pageant. ), but it's not nearly as entertaining. The direction is bad as Ronald F. Maxwell did a much better job with Gettysburg. Full Review | Original Score: 1/4 Page 1 of 7 This movie seemed to lean a lot towards the South and portraying them as `real' people who cared about God's plans and weren't just slave traders, and the North as upper-echelon educated men portrayed mostly by Jeff Daniels' character. Yep. The religious overtones given by the characters of both sides conformed with the religious feelings of the times that is lacking today and as such it gives the critics something else to condemn. Movie Review: Gods and Generals By William B. Feis. The rise and fall of confederate general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, as he meets with military success against the Union from 1861 to 1863, when he is accidentally killed by his own soldiers. Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password. Online reviewers have written 538 reviews, giving Gods and Generals (2003) an average rating of 56%. Sign up here. Why does American cinema keep failing to produce decent historical drama (John Adams excepted)? The movie caught this perfectly, with Jackson's assumption that God's will is his will -- the scene before the battle on Sunday, the contrast between his sentimental love of children and his 'Kill them all' about his enemies, the constant references to Bible verses ripped out of context. Some critics condemn it as being sympathetic with the Southern cause. Those who have no idea, or interest, as to who this man was should probably stick to such heavyweight box-office competition such as "Agent Cody Banks," "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," or "Daredevil" instead. A stiff and stilted historical pageant that somehow manages to make the savage tumult of thousands pitched against thousands seem not so much dreadul as dreadfully dull. Apparently what some critics actually desire are cool special effects, with exploding bodies and mangled limbs flying across the screen. This movie accurately shows the events leading up to the war. There are at least three fine speeches by Martha, Jim Lewis and Lawrence Chamberlain bringing out the wrongness of that issue. Such is a great movie trashed by the critics and they miss the whole reason for this masterpiece. By creating an account, you agree to the Privacy Policy and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango. 1st watched 8/23/2003 - 5 out of 10(Dir-Ron Maxwell): Over-produced civil war movie with excellent portrayal of Stonewall Jackson by Stephen Lang. I think there was too much time taken it trying to portray both sides as the same with an unusually bad representation of Abraham Lincoln as a President who was trying to conquer the South rather than trying to keep the union together. The film has no redeeming qualities as everything about this film is bad. Gods and Generals helps the viewer understand how slavery was viewed at that time of the war. All I should have to tell you about this film is that Ted Turner plays George Patton's grandfather. This film is historically accurate, deeply moving, and with outstanding acting by all concerned. Gettysburg concentrated more on the bravery of ordinary soldiers, and in some instances, their equivocal feelings, to better effect. The acting, writing, cinematography are all of top quality. Don't take my word for it but this movie followed the lives of these people with great attention to historic detail. They all give bad performances and this is one film they should keep off their resume. In Gods and Generals, Shaara utilizes historically factual material to compose a work that examines the lives of a handful of notable Civil War leaders from 1858 to the summer of 1863 when the battle of Gettysburg occurs. I'm sure for MTV critics any movie over 90 minutes is epic. Full of windy speeches about honor, god, fealty, and so on, the movie comes to a literal standstill whenever one of these noble addresses is about to be delivered. "Gods and Generals" is well-made, old-fashioned film that gives an absorbing view of the U.S. Civil War and one of its leading figures. It may be an effort to contrast Jackson's of his grief for the death of the little girl with his apparent enthusiasm for setting thousands of young men to kill each other, but if so, the scene with the girl and the family are far too long to make that point. Jackson would be better represented by giving some idea of why he is considered a great soldier (the Valley campaign) rather than being shown as primarily a sentimental, but simultaneously bloodthirsty, religious crackpot ("hoist the black flag... kill everyone..."). For all the effort, not half the film which Gettysburg was. A pause button will be helpful to stop the DVD and discuss some of the points with the kids is a good tactic to us. It was extremely bold for Ted Turner pictures to present this 4-hour long movie in the theatres but it probably would have been a better movie at 2 ½ hours. Critics hate it because it doesn't kowtow to the conventional thought. The rise and fall of confederate general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, as he meets with military success against the Union from 1861 to 1863, when he is accidentally killed by his own soldiers. It IS too long if you have Attention Deficit Disorder or have been raised upon television sitcoms and the constant jump-cuts & meritricious visual razzle-dazzle of TV commercials and music videos. These men were fighting for their homes and what they believed in. At the same time, I wasn’t overwhelmed with gore as audiences of Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers have been. Every shot is fired in sorrow, and there are no villains - except, of course, for the politicians, who remain safely out of the frame. Meticulous Civil War story runs a little long. This film is historically accurate, deeply moving, and with outstanding acting by all concerned. In the end, this film is defiantly worth skipping and its my worst film of 2003. The battle scenes were probably the most realistic ever portrayed of the civil war and over-whelmingly long. However, this did not stop them from efficiently making war on their enemies. Instead Gods and Generals holds no resonance whatsoever meticulously plotting out the details and making this decisive moment in American history interminable at three and a half hours. Shop Gods and Generals [Director's Cut] [2 Discs] [Blu-ray] [2003] at Best Buy. Price Match Guarantee. during our Civil War. And, IMHO, the General Lee in Gettysburg is a much more real character than the one in G&G (who, however, gets little screen time). Jeff Daniels and others give their side in eloquent dialogue for their feelings on the conflict. [Blu-ray]. A labour of love with special interest to history buffs, this epic film is extraordinary in many ways. Most of these people like Lee and Jackson loved the Union Army and were not seccesionists. Personally, I was once again impressed—as I was with Gettysburg— that war is ugly on and off the battlefield. Gods and Generals is an over the top movie about historical characters who, for the past near 150 years have been portrayed in every media form as larger than life and nearly God-like. The film also tried to do too much: Gettysburg also has its very boring parts, but is unified by concentrating on the major stages of one battle. Gods & Generals wants desperately to be the ultimate Civil War epic, the film that defines the entire genre. Gods and Generals - A prequel to the movie Gettysburg, "Gods and Generals" is a 3-hour historic drama about the early years of the Civil War, ending in 1863 with the Battle of Chancellorsville, where Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by his own soldiers. There are plenty of great maps there to support the story. My View in Summary: Overall, I enjoyed the movie (despite some of its apparent flaws), and I plan to see it again in the theater, as well as purchase the extended version when it comes out on DVD. I think a third movie would be in order to complete the Civil Story story. When you see this you have to understand that this country, both northern and southern states, was very different. on. For one, all the foot soldiers are old men who are so obviously re-enacters that the action scenes have no weight. God's and Generals is a great read for any who want to learn about the Civil War without having to read a "history boom". I recently read Shelby Footes 3 volume narrative, which I found compelling, excellently written and fairly authoritative. `Gods and Generals' plays less like a movie and more like a three-hour-and-49-minute long lesson in Civil War history. The critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes reads, "Filled with two-dimensional characters and pompous self-righteousness, Gods and Generals is a long, tedious sit. "Gods and Generals" is a movie of great integrity and power -- one made by adults for adults. Review: Gods and Generals. The sound and special effects were well done, and it gives you the feel that you are there in 1863. GODS AND GENERALS paints a brilliant portrait of the Christian lives of the great military leaders during the tumultuous years leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War. It is the right length for its subject matter. Grueling and plodding, the film is almost the antithesis of `Gone With the Wind,' in that while both films are epic tales told from the viewpoint of the defeated South, `Gods and Generals' (unlike the earlier film) has been essentially drained of all emotion, drama and characterization. Ronald Maxwell, who wrote the screenplay, also directs in the same tune of exceptional inability. Characters quote poetry from memory and sometimes speak in almost biblical cadences, in the same way that Lincoln's speeches were deeply influenced by the language of the King James Bible. I give it ten stars. All rights reserved. Users wrote generally positive reviews of Gods and Generals (2003), giving it an average score of 73%. Part Three is threatened. The best scenes were those with Stephen Lang who deserved top-billing(which instead was given to Robert Duvall in a smaller role) and an Oscar-nomination for his well-rounded excellent portrayal of Thomas `Stonewall' Jackson as a religious man with an un-moveable focus on his fight for independence for the South. Two criticisms of the movie have been made repeatedly: (1) it's "too long"; and (2) it doesn't accurately portray the horrors of war. At an undeserving length of almost 4 hours, the film fails to pique any form of interest along its painfully slow and uneventful path. How you could make a movie about the greatest tactician of the War and not examine his strategies in depth is a mystery to me. Lee himself said "I believe that seccesion is unconstitutional and I believe that slavery is an immoral and political evil in any society". steven lang was screwed for not getting best actor consideration, particularly given his awesome overhaul from the flawless depiction of pickett in gettysburg a decade earlier. Hard to tell. REVIEW: Gods & Generals. | The third and final installment, The Last Full Measure, was in pre-production but lost financing and has been suspended indefinitely. A man walks up with no arm and its bloody. You be the judge, but honestly if history and the Civil War are not your thing then don't see the movie. Despite an apparent attention to historical accuracies including battle recreations from hundreds of professional Civil War reenactors, the film falls far short from achieving a feeling of historical authenticity. External Reviews I suppose Gone With the Wind would be criticized the same if released today. 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