Gods and Generals (2003)
Directed by Ronald F. Maxwell
Writing credits Ronald F. Maxwell
Jeff Daniels .... Lt. Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Mark Aldrich .... Adjutant
Stephen Lang .... Lt. Gen. Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson
George Allen .... Confederate Officer
Robert Duvall .... Gen. Robert E. Lee
One thing you must know before sitting through this four hour (!) flick is that there is no dialogue. Well, none any real person would speak anyway. Everyone is giving speeches to everyone else. Even the most innocuous event needed to be peppered with melodrama. "Want to be my cook?" "I want to live free sir and yes I can cook." "Then by the grace of God, ye shall cook for me!" This movie needed to lighten up. One or two comedic moments would have helped to lighten the load.
"Gods and Generals" is a bloated war flick. They could have cut at least an hour out of it and it wouldn't have missed a thing. Why was everything so melodramatic? It got to be very draining listening to speech after speech. "We're fighting to free the slaves, it's in God's hands, he's crying for all of them...etc." Good Lord the movie was out of control. No one could stop this flick from going over the top.
There were three good battle scenes. The problem is that by the third battle they've pulled out all the war movie tricks they know. There are only so many times you can watch a line of men get shot at and get hit with cannon fire. But it's still good to watch a big battle scene. Overall, way too much drama to be truly enjoyable. However the movie improves immensely with the frequent use of the fast forward button.
SCORE: 2 out of 4 melodramatic soldiers on the march