Gods and Generals - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gods and Generals Reviews

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½ December 17, 2013
A war epic that somehow manages to be slow, monotonous, and excruciatingly heavy-handed all at one time. The title sequence sets the tone for the entire film: extremely long for God knows why, and painfully droll. This film's only saving grace is a surprisingly good performance by Stephen Lang, it's a shame so much of his dialogue was so weak. This isn't generally a complaint of mine, but I actually had a big problem with the PG-13 rating. For a war film of this size to have realistic scope and scale there needs to be realistic battle, and the bloodlessness of the battles completely took me out of the film. It's strange though, I seem to remember really enjoying this movie at some point when I was younger.
December 8, 2013
lame review panel above....one of THE greatest of all civil war/war films ever created and shows the viewers the major truths of the Confederate side....liberty from Federal tyranny....just as we have today....and ours today is a direct result of their victory over the liberty-loving Southern states....individual soverienties!
November 13, 2013
If you are really in to the Civil War, it is worth watching. If you are only casually interested in the Civil War, skip it.
½ October 30, 2013
"Gods and Generals" - more like "God, This Is Generally Awful." So many things wrong with this movie, most notably the script and the acting: two areas of primary responsibility for writer/director Ronald F. Maxwell. I'm certain the acting could've been salvaged. Talents like Duall, Lang and Daniels just don't give sub-par performances at the same time. Though I will say Robert Duvall, during those few times he's on-screen, does do as decent a job as we expect from Duvall. No, I don't think any actor could make gold out of this terrible script. Very few of the characters actually talk to each other. Instead, most of the time, they're speeching at each other, with one person delivering a soliloquy after the other, and all in this god-awful dialogue that sounds like it was based only on readings of Civil War letters from Ken Burns documentaries. Most of it comes from Stephen Lang, who got the lead as Stonewall Jackson. He's a decent actor in general, but in Gods and Generals, all we hear through the majority of the movie is Lang as the dour, uninteresting, Bible-thumping version of his bad guy in Avatar, but who also likes to play with little girls (yes, there's an obvious, oh so obvious, metaphor around the girl, her inevitable death, and Jackson's sobbing response). But back to the dialogue, in this universe, Jackson would wake up in the morning and address his breakfast as such: "Today, before Gawd, I spread the butter of Liberty over the toast of Freedom, then I will drink my coffee of Justice in order to free myself from the tyranny of Sleep." It sucks like that, and for 3 and a half hours! 3.5 hours of people making ridiculous speeches at each other and making declarations of prayers, interspersed by generic battle scenes that don't depict much more than adults playing Pretend Time. There is very little to distinguish the battlefields or the two sides from each other. The one major clue, according to this movie, is if soldiers are fleeing in defeat, they're from the North. There's nothing to connect us to the battles beyond our how we already feel about the Northern and Southern armies. Few, if any, of the characters are meaningful enough to warrant any sort of dramatic feeling towards their fate in the battles. The movie, however, obviously wants to engender sympathy for the Confederates. That's not surprising considering Ted Turner bankrolled (and had a cameo in) the movie. We all know how he likes to colorize history. And if the movie wants to slant history to a certain viewpoint, I accept that. It happens. But what's embarrassing about Gods and Generals is how it almost entirely erases slavery as a key component of the war or at least for fueling hostilities between the two sides. By my estimate, there are only like 4 or 5 black actors who have any lines or significant screen time. Of them, only one makes reference to being born a slave. The others aren't referred to as slaves by name, but are treated as blacks who are pleased as punch for the opportunity to work for nice white people without being paid....or freedom. There are two scenes where Jackson and a woman both speech with black servant-like characters. The black characters are proud to fulfill their duties to the white characters, and the white characters get to appear magnanimous in their attitudes towards blacks. The only time slavery is addressed as a significant issue in the conflict is during a speech by Jeff Daniels in the latter third of the film as he expresses a desire for all men to be free. The moment comes and goes so independently of the rest of the action, it's almost like it was thrown in just to avoid major controversy, like the filmmakers were ready with a defense of, "see? We included slavery." I went into Gods and Generals eager for a decent Civil War movie, but this is a train wreck as epic as the movie's scope. Unless you're a big Civil War buff with a 150 year old chip on your shoulder because the South lost, don't waste your time on this movie. It's full of a lot noise, signifying little.
October 25, 2013
Rather a soppy and lady like look, at the civil war in the USA. Fantastic as lots and lots of Americans are being hacked and slaughtered on the battlefield. Characterization is very weak despite some known actors taking part. It is sympathetic to the south which is fine however, it has a main theme of Christianity so lots of prayer and prayerful thought. Nibbles: Kentucky Fried Chicken.
September 17, 2013
Hey Rotten Tomatoes, the movie did not have a confederate slant, you obviously are having some trouble with recognizing the sacrifice that was given on both sides of the war. I think that this movie was incredible to show the emotion that was behind the confederate generals, Christianity was behind Stone Wall Jackson. The only thing slanted was your review and it was not favoring the film, rather a union approach. You guys suck anyways for reviews. Do you know how many movies I went to see that you said were terrible? Honestly I think you guys need to have a different type of rating system, possibly three critics, three background interests, and then give three ratings. Never had I needed to write a review, but I am honestly tired of your demotivating comments and "pompous" reviews.
½ August 16, 2013
The music never approached the majesty of that in "Gettysburg'. The battlefield at Fredericksburg was obviously CGI. However, most of the criticism was unfair. The influence of religion in thought and word of Lee and Jackson was indeed that profoundly felt and expressed. Robert Duvall was infinitely better than Martin Sheen! I found the pace reasonable, given the widely varied familiarity of the audience with this history. There were casualties depicted; does one now need prolonged obligatory mutilation and carnage ŕ la 'Private Ryan'? What of the arm amputee in shock asking to retreat? Is not character developement thru' dialog important? Does one want continuous battle like the so many current films, with characters only a superficial filler? These so called 'critics' are self-appointed; note the frequent drastic varience in score with the viewing public!
½ July 15, 2013
improves with battle sequences, but attempts at drama sink the whole film down with bad writing, bad directing (except for the already mentioned battle scenes), and bad acting from actors who should know better
July 6, 2013
very dull movie that breaks a ton of screenwriting rules. opening is not compelling in the least, huge act 2 lull after the midpoint, daniels is pointless and doesn't show up until act 2. characters introduced have 2 scenes and die in ten minutes. dialogue is on the nose and characters frequently go into oration of scripture or Shakespeare. Stephen Lang did a good job as stonewall, duvall was fine as Lee. technically middling. basically an unbearably dull 4 hr movie with a terrible script. the civil war movie I wrote is much better even to someone besides me. this was written by a total novice. no redeeming visuals but some good acting to keep it from my worst ever lists.
½ June 5, 2013
Fantastic. Just a wonderful work. Only one problem: it occasionally felt like Lang was over-acting, though that may have been me.
May 9, 2013
Watched it in History class thought it was ok.
½ April 23, 2013
Brilliantly depicted battle scenes!
April 21, 2013
Virtually impossible to endure, and I am a fan of the great Duvall.
½ April 6, 2013
Trading the intimacy of 'Gettysburg' for a bigger scale and scope, Maxwell's Civil War epic looks and sounds great, with good performances from its dependable cast, especially Lang as the devoted yet eccentric 'Stonewall', great production values & costumes, and a both grandiose yet moving score from Edelman. However, the upgrade visually comes at a downgrade in storytelling, with melodramatic and sometimes preachy dialogue, a lack of time balance between the three 'main characters' and their stories, with Chamberlain and Lee getting very shafted, and a definite Pro-South bias that it's more powerful successor didn't have.
March 20, 2013
best movie i want to finish it
February 11, 2013
It's not bad for a movie to be lengthy, but this nearly 4 hrs. long Civil War epic is guilty of many cinematic crimes besides, the most egregious of which is that it is mercilessly boring. Maybe for some Civil War buffs it would be of more value, but I bet that for even them, it would only be so for the battle reenactments. Often, stiff and emotionless acting is referred to as "wooden", and that term could be applied to this film as a whole. The American Civil War is rendered into this epic conflict that was fought for no reason at all really. Slavery is mentioned a few times and declared to be bad, but it's not shown as being very much related to the war at all. In fact, there is no clear explanation for the war. The South secedes because it's damn well their right to, and the North invades their own country because their tyrannical or misguided or whatever, even though the South only believes they're the same country as the North when the script deems it convenient.
The filmmakers are obviously Civil War obsessed, but the only benefit to that is the play-by-play battle recreations, but that doesn't count for much if they're filmed so clinically and sanitized that they become mere textbook portrayals. The generals and officers are so very idolized here that they bare no interest at all as they mechanically spout such reverential and sober monologues of tremendous self-importance, not unlike the overall approach to the material by the filmmakers.
½ February 10, 2013
Never mind the critics: a gripping portrayal of the American South's generals.
January 25, 2013
A woefully misunderstood film. We are given a depiction of the major battles and players of the first two years of the war. In regards to historical accuracy, this is about as good as it gets. Sure, it's long and probably would've worked better as a miniseries. Of the performances, Duvall, Daniels, and Lang shine. Lang's "Stonewall" Jackson is actually the highlight of the film. As a history teacher, I consider this to be essential viewing.
January 22, 2013
Civil War epics rule. You will wish the South won!!! I <3 this movie. Stonewall Jackson was such a hero.
January 13, 2013
Made me even prouder to be a Southern Boy. The sheer eloquence of the period language is simply beautiful. When did our language turn to garbage ?
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