Gods and Generals

Metascore
30

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 29
  2. Negative: 18 out of 29

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Critic Reviews

  1. Has the unfortunate effect of overtipping the dramatic scales in favor of the Southern generals and turning almost everybody into waxen idols who spout flowery rhetoric.
  2. One doesn't come away from it with any sense of what the victory cost in human terms.
  3. Lacks the driving unity that gave "Gettysburg" its focus, dramatic arc, climax and catharsis.
  4. 50
    If ever there was a movie that could cause even the most restless sleeper to fall into a deep slumber, this is it.
  5. Filled with so much religious righteousness--endless Bible-readings...that the film feels more like a recruitment tool for Soldiers for Christ than a look at the bloody four-year conflict that tore this nation apart.
  6. 50
    By highlighting the human costs of slavery to everyone BUT the enslaved -- here, relations between African-American domestics and their owners are cordial, even respectful, on both sides -- Maxwell risks being pilloried as an apologist for that institution.
  7. 50
    Maxwell continues his textbook emphasis on military maneuvers, but despite literally thousands of Civil War reenactors recruited for the film, the wide-screen canvas fails to map the tactics or evoke the terror of battle.
  8. As dry as a high school history book, solemn as a funeral service, humorless as a Politburo meeting, bloated as a waterlogged corpse and unbalanced as a bout between a debutante and a sumo wrestler.
  9. By the film's finale the descent into unintentional parody is all but complete, with a big death scene for Jackson complete with an angelic choir on the soundtrack -- the surprise is that they aren't singing "Dixie."
  10. Maxwell has populated his film with paragons rather than people. Worse, they talk and talk and talk; this film is in danger of talking itself to death before the Union and the Confederacy are able to decimate each other.
  11. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    40
    Gods and Generals is American history transformed into a museum movie, consistently making the flawed human characters at the heart of the Civil War into flawless figures Olympian in their statuesque remoteness.
  12. It may not be the worst war epic ever made - that probably would be "Battlefield Earth" -- but it's darn close to being an unqualified disaster of that magnitude.
  13. 38
    Pious, high-minded and bad history.
  14. 38
    The kind of movie beloved by people who never go to the movies, because they are primarily interested in something else--the Civil War, for example--and think historical accuracy is a virtue instead of an attribute.
  15. General Boredom meets Major Tedium on the Civil War fields of Virginia.
  16. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    38
    You don't envy the three soldiers who get shot for desertion, but you do identify with their desire to flee.
  17. Less a movie than a meticulously, tediously accurate Civil War reenactment committed to celluloid.
  18. 30
    Playing in theaters when it belongs on television, where snacks and bathroom breaks can counteract its punishing dryness, and the option of watching something else doesn't involve driving home.
  19. A lumpy three-and-a-half-hour glob of Civil War history.
  20. Turner's guileless amateurism stands in refreshing contrast to the rest of the performances -- stilted, self-conscious and sleep-inducing -- that fill this tedious 3-1/2-hour marathon, the Civil War in real time.
  21. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    25
    Sanctimonious claptrap -- an inert pageant of waxen figures that fails completely as drama even as it insults the sensibilities of anyone not clinging to rosy memories of the slave-era South.
  22. At 225 minutes long, it feels like a trilogy in itself. That wouldn't be a problem if it had energy and imagination, but those qualities are missing, as is any sense of historical or philosophical context.
  23. 25
    What the filmmakers fail to recognize is that history on the page is quite different from what it needs to be onscreen, namely alive and visceral.
  24. It's a plodding, episodic film, reverent and sanctimonious, and its pro-Southern viewpoint -- a time-honored Hollywood tendency -- makes "Gone With the Wind" look like a Northern polemic.
  25. The film's staggering incompetence can be measured by the way it makes some of the most fascinating and heart-rending episodes in American history tedious.
  26. Reviewed by: Kevin Carr
    20
    This is nothing but an attempt to cash in on the success of “Gettysburg.”
  27. It comes off like so much poppycock -– to use the vernacular of the day.
  28. Shot with the TV-movie blahs, the film itself is nothing more than an elaborate reenactment, perfectly mating box-of-rocks acting (bring rotten fruit for Mia Dillon's Southern matriarch) and repetitious dialogue so scripturally florid Maxwell might qualify for a Comedy Screenplay Golden Globe next January.
User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 57 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 39
  2. Negative: 15 out of 39
  1. Nov 22, 2010
    2
    Total crap. I normally love civil war movies and for this i give it a 2 instead of a 0. But this movie just sucked ass. It was completelyTotal crap. I normally love civil war movies and for this i give it a 2 instead of a 0. But this movie just sucked ass. It was completely boring and the monologues were cheesy and embarrassing to watch. Full Review »
  2. EdwardB.
    May 5, 2007
    9
    You have to BE from the south, to understand it. I was born here, live here, and will die here. And I will always be proud of it.
  3. ClaytonS.
    Dec 22, 2006
    3
    Overly long, shapeless, overly pious, over blown. Overly sancitimous toward General Jackson. Those who wish the South would rise again would Overly long, shapeless, overly pious, over blown. Overly sancitimous toward General Jackson. Those who wish the South would rise again would love this movie. I give it a three because it does portray the battles accurately and Robert Duvall is greatness. Full Review »