Monday, December 12, 2005

Gettysburg

I love to study history.

U.S. History. Northwest History. World History. Japanese History. Family History. Whatever. If it's happened, I wanna know about it.

I eat that stuff up.

My favorite part of U.S. History is the Civil War. I lived on the wrong dang coast to be realistically interested in it, but all the same, I love reading about it.

Manassas/Bull Run. Chancellorsville. Shiloh. Antietam. Fredricksburg. Vicksburg.

Gettysburg.

We all know it from AP U.S. History in high school. July 1-3, 1863. A devastating defeat for the South. The turning point of the Civil War. President Lincoln made a famous speech there.

Ever seen the movie "Gettysburg"?

Absolutely amazing film.

I suppose I have a HUGE bias, because I love Civil War stuff, but it's my opinion and I stand by it.

Jeff Daniels is brilliant as Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. He was so good in it that I kept thinking of the Chamberlain character when he was on the screen in "Speed". The call of "Bayonets!" when the Union soldiers are preparing to charge against the Southern soldiers charging up Little Round Top gives me chills every time I see it. Love the 'stache, too.

Martin Sheen is good as Gen. Robert E. Lee, but Lee comes across as a bit of a flaky old guy in parts.

Of course, the fact that the favorite actor of the Kidd Family household, Sam Elliott, is in the movie already moves it from the realm of "Regular Movie" to "Required Viewing". Sam Elliott kicks ass.

It gives you a view of the battle from both sides, with the first two days focusing more on the North, and the third day predominantly focusing on the South.

After all, it was during the third day of fighting in Gettysburg that Pickett's Charge happened.

After watching this part of the movie, you get a good idea of the meaning of "bloodbath".

Ouch. A painful, painful military decision.

It's amazing to watch this film and see how close the North came to losing this battle.

Poor strategic decisions coupled with a lack of information about the area (General J.E.B. Stuart was out of contact with Confederate forces, which left General Lee blind to Union movement and strength) were what led to the South's loss at Gettysburg. There are many points in the film where you think to yourself, "Wow...if the South had only done THAT instead..."

Anyway, good flick. Long, but worth the viewing. Check it out!

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