Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.72%
Worth A Look: 9.86%
Just Average: 12.68%
Pretty Crappy: 14.08%

3 reviews, 53 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Hanagatami by Jay Seaver

Predator, The by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Rob Gonsalves

Madeline's Madeline by Jay Seaver

Won't You Be My Neighbor? by Rob Gonsalves

Brothers' Nest by Jay Seaver

Mandy by Peter Sobczynski

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum by Jay Seaver

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms by Jay Seaver

Field Guide to Evil by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Gods and Generals
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by EricDSnider

"Civil disobedience."
3 stars

Ronald F. Maxwell is apparently a big fan of the Civil War. Good for him, I say. Everyone needs a hobby, and while I personally don’t understand the pleasure to be gained in analyzing and reliving a horrific war that took place 150 years ago, far be it from me to criticize someone else’s pastime.

That said, I do wish Maxwell would stop making movies. I didn’t see his “Gettysburg” (1993), but by all accounts it was a tolerable, albeit very long, sort of film. His new one, “Gods and Generals,” a prequel to “Gettysburg,” is less so. I can only imagine that his planned third installment will be worse, according to the law of diminishing returns.

There is almost no dialogue in “Gods and Generals,” which clocks in at 3 hours and 40 minutes. When people converse, they are always either giving a speech, or else waiting silently until it’s their turn to give a speech. When no one’s talking, it’s because they’re shooting each other on the battlefield. Sometimes, people give speeches WHILE they’re shooting each other on the battlefield. Both activities — speaking and shooting — are done with a good deal of pomp and bombast.

The central character is Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (Stephen Lang, who played Gen. Pickett in “Gettysburg”), a deeply religious man dedicated to states’ rights. “Though I love the union, I love Virginia more,” he says through his thick, thick beard, one of many thick, thick beards to occupy the film. And so he takes up charge of the confederate army, under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee (Robert Duvall, a descendant of Lee), in the spring of 1861.

Though Maxwell is more earnest than skilled as both a writer and a director, he deserves credit here for presenting the South as the heroes, despite their espousal of several ideas — most notably slavery — that modern audiences are not liable to agree with. Indeed, in every battle sequence, it’s the confederacy we’re rooting for, even though a) we know they’re ultimately going to lose, and b) we’re glad they did.

Unfortunately, the battle scenes are often marred by the presence of non-actors in the ranks. Maxwell got hundreds of those guys who do Civil War re-enactments in their spare time to do their thing for the cameras, and it shows: The battles look like Civil War re-enactments, not like the bloody nightmares they actually were. Someone gets shot and sort of falls over, while the guy next to him gets a mild look of unconvincing surprise on his face; repeat that sort of hamminess over and over again and you get the idea.

Off the battlefield, Stephen Lang is very good as Jackson nearly bringing the man to life despite the two-dimensional manner in which he is painted. Robert Duvall is also wonderful to watch in the smaller role of Gen. Lee, giving an award-caliber performance in a mediocre film.

Maxwell appears to lack confidence in himself. When Jackson breaks down and cries at one point, it is not enough for us to see it and realize what it all means; there have to be two men standing to the side TELLING us why he’s crying. It ruins any poignancy the moment might have had. Maxwell shouldn’t be afraid of a little silence every now and then; he uses it much more effectively in a scene between a rank-and-file Yankee and a rank-and-file Reb who swap coffee and tobacco at a river crossing.

The director also ought to learn that it is not necessary to film everything. So concerned is he with getting all the details right that he includes things that could have been omitted, omissions that would have streamlined the story and eliminating extraneous characters.

“Gods and Generals” is not poorly made; it’s just over-made. Three hours and 40 minutes is excessive even for a great movie, and if the movie’s only so-so, it’s enough to make you want to secede from the theater.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7057&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/04/03 02:38:05
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

4/19/13 JG There was a time when I bought into the myths this movie is selling. I was in high school. 2 stars
8/16/12 Ed Tough one to watch. Battle scenes may be the only thing accurate. 3 stars
6/11/09 Lonsoleil This movie is more entertaining with the audio turned off. Worst civl war movie EVER! 1 stars
3/17/08 mb Very good enactment. 5 stars
7/16/07 Bloody Hell Anyone who liked this movie is a racist. 1 stars
3/10/07 Yankee REbel Screw liberals who hate this flick. Watch this epic. 4 stars
2/09/05 Jeff Anderson A worthy & epic prequel to GETTYSBURG! Well-staged battle scenes & good acting redeem it. 4 stars
2/03/05 The Paq Kitty: I thought the US's most sorrowful time was 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. "G&G" is dangerous 1 stars
1/29/05 axe we're STILL playing "my great-great granddaddy could beat up your great-great granddaddy?!" 2 stars
2/21/04 Denise Duspiva okay 3 stars
1/29/04 RedSoxFan I LOVED this movie, but its not for everybody, you have to like history to "get it". 5 stars
11/30/03 *A Monotonous Creton Who Loves Tom Hulce* anyone who hates this flic should be strung up by the balls and fucked by their mothers!!!! 5 stars
9/23/03 JesseL Politics aside, this was a very well done, hammily acted movie. 4 stars
9/20/03 CAT BLUES i loved it im so happy i saw it fuck u peeps who hate it 5 stars
8/27/03 TD Eagle When I see bad reviews like these, it must mean that it is hitting very close to the TRUTH! 5 stars
8/22/03 Sugarfoot A great disappointment 2 stars
8/11/03 Taylor Fladgate oh oh oh...It was the CONFEDERACY that was fighting for the Black Man...thanks, Mr Turner!! 2 stars
7/19/03 Daddy Plaid I have to meet anyone north of the mason-dixon line that liked this movie. 5 stars
7/19/03 WWE HHH-HATE CLUB id people ever bleed during the civil war 2 stars
7/13/03 Joe hate it 1 stars
7/05/03 Frank Lynch It kicked ass! 5 stars
5/20/03 Greg I want my money back 1 stars
5/10/03 Andrew Carden My Old History Teacher Had Better Slideshows Than This. Boring and Tediously Long. 1 stars
3/31/03 J F Neo-Confederate Lost Cause Klap Trap. 1 stars
3/25/03 Sharon Worst I've ever seen but a perfect drinking game movie. Drink everytime they say God... 1 stars
3/16/03 Cameron Slick With 2D characters and pompous self-righteousness, this is a long tedious sit. 2 stars
3/13/03 u know i'm hot This movie is gay, just like Americans 2 stars
3/12/03 Flounder I had more of a riveting time taking a huge dump in the toilet than I did with this movie! 1 stars
3/04/03 G. Thoresen Epic and inspiring. Doesn't reduce characters to one dimension as so many movies do. 4 stars
3/03/03 Jim G Awesome. Best Movie since Gettysburg 5 stars
3/03/03 john lol film critics are idiots 5 stars
2/28/03 PilgrimPorky Proving once again that history does not fit into a neat little box 4 stars
2/28/03 Jack Meoff Poor acting, poor editing, no direction. BORING! 1 stars
2/27/03 David Johnson Horrible movie, Historically incorrect 1 stars
2/26/03 salif abdullah simfukwe the 12 minute intermission was the best part. 1 stars
2/25/03 Keith Watts great movie.....you guys are full of shit for bad mouthing this epic film 5 stars
2/25/03 Ubu the Ripper Too much philosophizing. Not as good as "Gettysburg", but worth seeing 3 stars
2/25/03 Wesley Barras How could Maxwell go from Gettysburg to this! I made sure I go my $5 back after the movie. 1 stars
2/25/03 snowconehead I'm I going have to take a test on this or something? 1 stars
2/24/03 sargeanb Yes it's a little slow in places, but very realistic. 4 stars
2/24/03 Christina Kinan Read your history, watch this film, and learn the truth! Slavery was not the cause! 5 stars
2/24/03 Spidey Another example of revisionist hicks who dont want to admit southern ancestors were evi 2 stars
2/24/03 Wha? I came; I saw; I took a nap. 2 stars
2/24/03 John F Neoconfederate claptrap! 1 stars
2/23/03 doug It is a refreshing view from all the politcally correct nonsense that is taught in schools 5 stars
2/23/03 jcon This is the worst movie ever made. Ted Turner should be deported 1 stars
2/23/03 Ramblin Wreck Well, I see dionwr has issues....... 5 stars
2/22/03 dionwr Boredom and reprehensible ideas, in equal measure 1 stars
2/21/03 scott B. Sentiments of the world that are totally incomprehensible to the 21st century! 4 stars
2/21/03 Fenian Wretched screenplay...3.5 hours of boredom. Too bad, loved the book and Gettysburg too. 2 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  21-Feb-2003 (PG-13)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast