“Just as we would not send any of our soldiers to march in other states, and tyrannize other people… so will we never allow the armies of others to march into our states and tyrannize our people. ” – Gen. Stonewall Jackson
Number of Times Seen – 1 (25 Jun 2017)
Brief Synopsis – Prequel to the story presented in Gettysburg as we learn of the major skirmishes fought between the North and South prior to the major battle fought near the town of Gettysburg.
My Take on it – I was really looking forward to watching this film especially after enjoying Gettysburg so much.
I was happy to revisit some of the main characters and learn more about their lives and military campaigns prior to the major Battle of Gettysburg.
Unfortunately, the story here isn’t nearly as engrossing and the fact that it doesn’t focus on one battle but instead tries to tell more of a history of the skirmishes and events that led up to the main Battle in Gettysburg lessens the impact that it can have on anyone.
The fact that we get an amazing cast definitely helps this film a bit.
It was great seeing Jeff Daniels reprise his award worthy performance from Gettysburg (1993) and the addition of Robert Duvall as Robert E. Lee (instead of Martin Sheen) and Stephen Lange in the role of Stonewall Jackson helps make this film more interesting to watch.
The Directors Cut of this film is over four hours long (4:40) and this is a case where the length of the film is truly detrimental because we are forced to watch too many tedious scenes in order to get to some amazing ones.
The story is too unbalanced and lacks real focus.
Ron Maxwell is an amazing director, but this film is far from being as amazing as its predecessor.
Bottom Line – Not as engrossing or as powerful as the first film. This film loses much of its impact because its story is spread too thinly instead of being focused on one major event. Great cast helps this weak story but not enough. This is a case where the length of the film is detrimental to the story because it makes us endure lots of tedious scenes in order to get to the really good ones. Maxwell is an amazing director but this film can’t compare in any way to its predecessor.
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Martin Sheen was in the D.C. area the week of September 11th filming scenes for The West Wing. He was prepared to fly the Tuesday morning Dulles to LAX flight if Warner Brothers agreed to his demand for one million dollars to reprise his role of Robert E. Lee from “Gettysburg”. It was only because Warner Brothers passed that Sheen was not on Flight 77 the morning of September 11th. (From IMDB)
Rating – BAFTA Worthy
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