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  • Gods and Generals review and reactions?

    Anyone had the opportunity to catch Gods and Generals? What are your thoughts? Your rating? Reactions?

    I went to watch it last night, expecting to be treated to a full comprehensive coverage of the first two years of the war.

    Contrary to Gettysburg, there was no discussion of strategy, or tactics. (maybe 30 seconds per battle) Which would lead one to question what the movie was doing for four hours? (actually 6 for the tv version) The answer still eludes me after 24 hours, and I am still at a loss as to how in the world this movie took four hours to cover something that could have been covered in one hour. (people charging and dying for no purpose) In addition, there was a lot of disjointed scenes. For example, in one scene, Jackson was making love to his wife, and in the next scene, he is up riding his horse in the Wilderness and about to fight the battle of Chancelorsville. I had no idea what happened in between, and what prompted the battle of Chancelorsville.

    The movie did not even cover the battle of Antietam for crying out loud or the Battle of Seven Days??? Weren't these two battles highly important to the first two years of the war? Plus, this movie did not do justice to Robert E. Lee. He had three lines (excluding his speech to the house of Reprs. of Virginia) in the entire movie, while Jackson had a million useless verses of prose that had no bearing on Southern strategy, operational conduct of the campaign or tactics. Does anyone know whether those two battles would be covered by the TV version?


    The only good part of the movie was the battle of Fredericksburg, and Daniels' recitation of Caesar prior to his charge. The only thing worth watching in my mind. The camera work was pretty impressive, and I adored the pose by the actors.

    But quick question. I am no expert on 19th Century infantry tactics, but when you try to storm an entrenched position, but was it standard practice to stop a full infantry charge 15 yards shy from that position and start loading your rifle to shoot at that position instead of storming it by bayonnet? I am asking this question, because throughout the movie last night, the Union soldiers would just run up to Southern position, carrying a lot of momentum and to my incredulous belief, stop 15 yards shy of the position, take their time to form a line (while by slaughtered by incessant accurate Southern fire) and shoot and to my amazement, reload and shoot again! (No wonder it took them 5 years to win that war)

    Anyway, for those who are thinking to watch it, my recommendation is don't waste your $$ and 4 hours. Wait until it comes out on video, and watch Daniel's recitation of Caesar, and then return the video. (Yes, only 5 minutes of this 4 hour movie is worth watching or watcheable)

    To those who disagree with me, I would love to hear why you like that movie and point out some of the stuff that I may have missed.

  • #2
    I concur with your 'assessment'

    Yes, I too would have to agree with you about this movie and there's STILL the '3rd' part of it to be released sometime next year I believe! In a way, it's almost as if Tarentino directed these, since the timeline's are out of sync, since you have the 'Gettysburg' Movie first, then this one, I suppose the '3rd' part will begin during the "Mexican-American" War or maybe even the "War of 1812". THAT, by the way is going to be a *SPECIAL* presentation on Sept. 12, '04 from 'The History Channel' and I've seen some programs of "behind the scenes" of this just yesterday(actually, it was this morning from 4-5AM!)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by josiahcy
      But quick question. I am no expert on 19th Century infantry tactics, but when you try to storm an entrenched position, but was it standard practice to stop a full infantry charge 15 yards shy from that position and start loading your rifle to shoot at that position instead of storming it by bayonnet? I am asking this question, because throughout the movie last night, the Union soldiers would just run up to Southern position, carrying a lot of momentum and to my incredulous belief, stop 15 yards shy of the position, take their time to form a line (while by slaughtered by incessant accurate Southern fire) and shoot and to my amazement, reload and shoot again! (No wonder it took them 5 years to win that war)

      Anyway, for those who are thinking to watch it, my recommendation is don't waste your $$ and 4 hours. Wait until it comes out on video, and watch Daniel's recitation of Caesar, and then return the video. (Yes, only 5 minutes of this 4 hour movie is worth watching or watcheable)
      I liked the move, but admit that I watch it with the "fast forward" button under my thumb. Reason: My family is from Fredericksburg and I grew up in No. VA -- I have been every place in that movie. A relative even commanded the Frederisburg artillery later in the war.

      As for the trick question -- left out of the movie is that there was a wooden fence 30 feet (yards?) ahead of the stone wall. The Irish Brigade got that far, but never got over the fence. No one else reached it. BI'm not sure what doctrine was in Dec 1862, but by the attackon Ft Stedman in Apr 1865, Confedeate forces advanced with unloaded weapons to preclude the "stop and fire" thing. That said, Pickett's charge did nopt stop and fire, but did stop to dress the line, which is just as stupid in my book. By the end of 1863, commanders knew better than to do that.

      I think it's a very good movie -- haven't seen it on the big screen, only on video, but liked it.
      Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
      Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


      "Never pet a burning dog."

      RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Janos
        I liked the move, but admit that I watch it with the "fast forward" button under my thumb. Reason: My family is from Fredericksburg and I grew up in No. VA -- I have been every place in that movie. A relative even commanded the Frederisburg artillery later in the war.

        As for the trick question -- left out of the movie is that there was a wooden fence 30 feet (yards?) ahead of the stone wall. The Irish Brigade got that far, but never got over the fence. No one else reached it. BI'm not sure what doctrine was in Dec 1862, but by the attackon Ft Stedman in Apr 1865, Confedeate forces advanced with unloaded weapons to preclude the "stop and fire" thing. That said, Pickett's charge did nopt stop and fire, but did stop to dress the line, which is just as stupid in my book. By the end of 1863, commanders knew better than to do that.

        I think it's a very good movie -- haven't seen it on the big screen, only on video, but liked it.
        I agree.
        Well from my experience in Napleonics is that they would do things like that and definetely if their was an obstacle like a fence... the lines must be re-dressed, and then marched forward... You'd be a madman to stick to that doctrine.
        The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

        Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

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        • #5
          Many people say it was geared more towards the total CW buffs and the re-enactors... which it was. I think that was a good call to do their best not to Hollywoodize the storyline.
          The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed. -Carl Jung

          Hell is other people. -Jean-Paul Sarte

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          • #6
            I agree with a post I saw quite some time ago. It wasnt the best....but being a Jackson fan, I enjoyed it. I believe that anyone with a collection of films on the War should have it, as there are so few out there.

            Mark
            Deo Vindice
            Si vis pacem, para bellum. (If you want peace, prepare for war.)

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            • #7
              I thougt that movie was awfull to slow and boring

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              • #8
                Originally posted by foster
                I thougt that movie was awfull to slow and boring
                Thank God for fast forward. You need to watch the movie entirely from front to back ONE time. Then skip to the good parts for the rest of the movie.
                Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RichardS
                  Thank God for fast forward. You need to watch the movie entirely from front to back ONE time. Then skip to the good parts for the rest of the movie.
                  Exactly. That's the way to do it. The battle scenes are great!
                  "Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for"
                  "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and a lot of bitching"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Janos
                    I liked the move, but admit that I watch it with the "fast forward" button under my thumb. Reason: My family is from Fredericksburg and I grew up in No. VA -- I have been every place in that movie. A relative even commanded the Frederisburg artillery later in the war.
                    Of course, you realize, Jeff, that Harper's Ferry filled in as Fredericksburg in many, if not all of the outdoor senes of the fight.

                    Originally posted by Janos
                    As for the trick question -- left out of the movie is that there was a wooden fence 30 feet (yards?) ahead of the stone wall. The Irish Brigade got that far, but never got over the fence. No one else reached it. BI'm not sure what doctrine was in Dec 1862, but by the attackon Ft Stedman in Apr 1865, Confedeate forces advanced with unloaded weapons to preclude the "stop and fire" thing. That said, Pickett's charge did nopt stop and fire, but did stop to dress the line, which is just as stupid in my book. By the end of 1863, commanders knew better than to do that.
                    Emory Upton's famous attack (and the next day's follow up) on the Mule Shoe at Spottsylvania also went in with muskets unloaded.


                    Originally posted by Janos
                    I think it's a very good movie -- haven't seen it on the big screen, only on video, but liked it.
                    I think the movie would have succeeded if it was more like the book as written and less like a biopic of Stonewall. A good biopic of Jackson would be melding Robertson's bio and a less gushing book about Jackson - in much the same way "Patton" was produced.
                    I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tom DeFranco
                      Of course, you realize, Jeff, that Harper's Ferry filled in as Fredericksburg in many, if not all of the outdoor senes of the fight.
                      Roger. I'm not sure though, how that's relevant to my point.
                      Emory Upton's famous attack (and the next day's follow up) on the Mule Shoe at Spottsylvania also went in with muskets unloaded.
                      You're right.
                      I think the movie would have succeeded if it was more like the book as written and less like a biopic of Stonewall. A good biopic of Jackson would be melding Robertson's bio and a less gushing book about Jackson - in much the same way "Patton" was produced.
                      Probably true.
                      Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                      Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                      "Never pet a burning dog."

                      RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                      http://www.mormon.org
                      http://www.sca.org
                      http://www.scv.org/
                      http://www.scouting.org/

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                      • #12
                        I thought that Harper's Ferry's (as Fredricksburg) architechture was one of the real "stars" movie.
                        Lance W.

                        Peace through superior firepower.

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                        • #13
                          I think that this movie was made more to see the perspective that both sides had on the war. As a result, the focus is more on the leaders rather than the actual battles and action. Since I am in a military academy, I was watching it more to see the motive behind the actions and the character of the leadership behind it all. With that being said, I liked it because it took such an unorthodox approach.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lance Williams
                            I thought that Harper's Ferry's (as Fredricksburg) architechture was one of the real "stars" movie.
                            I agree. I visited Harper's Ferry the day before our Round Table's trip to Antietam. It was beautiful.
                            I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cdubb23
                              I think that this movie was made more to see the perspective that both sides had on the war. As a result, the focus is more on the leaders rather than the actual battles and action. Since I am in a military academy, I was watching it more to see the motive behind the actions and the character of the leadership behind it all. With that being said, I liked it because it took such an unorthodox approach.
                              I think that Gettysburg tried to be more balanced than G & G. To many here in the North (mostly uneducated about the War and some educated about the War), G & G was openly pro-Confederate. Even if one doesn't think so, there are things in the movie to suggest that notion. The Bonnie Blue flag scene, the fact that until Chamberlain comes on the scene, the only side you here is the Confederate side. Even the ending gives the false impression that the Confederates were winning the war (they were not).
                              I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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