Coming late to the party (as usual) I'd like to add my two cents to Gettysburg and G&G:
four hours of reenactment for sure, but I think, that was the point of the movie.
Sure, many of the more introspective parts of the novel went missing, but including more of that would have slowed the pace of the movie dramatically for the worse (as it did G&G). Gettysburg had a great cast and even at the most pathetic moments (Lee and Longstreet after Pickett's charge, Chamberlain "preaching" to the 2nd Maine men or his conversation with Kilrain about "the divine spark") they made the movie believeable for me, I never had the feeling the actors merely played a part, it felt real. The soundtrack was simply great and very moving too, IMHO.
Of course, Gettysburg had it's drawbacks, too: Just look at some of the beards (Longstreet's changes its colour by the hour), cannon fired without any wadding and therefore not recoiling at all or at the merrily oscillating rubber bayonets at Pickett's Charge...
Now, G&G on the other hand:
On first glance, TERRIBLE! Wooden actors giving bloodless and pompous speeches, instead of live extras (reenactors) lots of bad CGI, a very lame "country-style" soundtrack. And waaay to much introspection slowing the pace. Someone earlier did compare G&G to "The thin red line" and I think that hit the nail on the head. Both films cultivate a very slow, very introspective pace like some of the 50s movies ("The Naked and the Dead" and such), viewers nowadays are no longer used to.
Two more of my favourite pet peeves about G&G:
Jeff Daniels! I worshipped his performance as Chamberlain in Gettysburg, but in the 10 years between the two movies, he has aged considerably. And he gained quite a bit of weight during shooting to boot. In his later scenes he literally looks like a walrus in blue. I didn't know that a diet of hardtacks and salted beef could do that to man...
Stephen Lang: Very enjoyable as Pickett, but how he managed to butcher the character of Jackson is beyond me. He managed to make him an utterly unlikeable humorless religious maniac. Yes, he is adored by his aides and by his black cook, but the audience ist left to wonder why? Jackson is allowed to make a hollow sermon about his passionate believe about ending slavery, but given the rest of "background information" the movie offers, it just does not ring true. (Sidenote: I know that Jackson was opposed to slavery and even taught at a black sunday school for a time, breaking the law by doing so). Also the, forgive me, "alibi black man" Lewis: "They may come to free my folks, but nonetheless, they invade my home and if I could, I'd take up a musket and fight them off, too!"? Yeah, sure, I'm positive the majority of black virginians, free or slaves, thought like that at the time...
But suprisingly, I came to like G&G in spite of all its shortcomings. I bought it on DVD (neither Gettysburg nor G&G made it into theatres in Germany), was initially appalled, but with time passing, it began to grow on me. I can't really explain that, maybe I'm just a sucker for expansive campy movies...
Talking about campy movies made by Turner Pictures: Anybody seen "The Hunley" and want to share his opinions about it?
Henry D, also known as "Stauffenberg" @ Strategycon Interactive and formerly (un)known as "whatasillyname" @ Paradox Forums
"Rackers, wollt Ihr ewig leben?" (Rascals, Do You want to live forever?) - Frederick the Great, cursing at his fleeing Grenadiers at the battle of Kunersdorf
"Nee, Fritze, aber für fuffzehn Pfennije is' heute jenuch!" (No, Freddy, but for 15p let's call it a day!) - Retort of one passing Grenadier to the above