Michigan Minute: The War To End All Wars – The Movie

BY Chuck Marshall November 21, 2023

Michigan Minute: The War To End All Wars – The Movie

On Saturday, we checked out the new animated short film called The War To End All Wars – The Movie at the Michigan Military Heritage Museum in Jackson. As we mentioned in our Band of Brothers post, the power metal band Sabaton had the genius idea to encourage their fans to dive deep into history. What better place to take the plunge than a museum?

Sabaton’s “History Rocks” initiative promotes visits to museums worldwide. As part of “History Rocks,” Sabaton partnered with Yarnhub Animation Studios to create the animated movie The War To End All Wars – The Movie. The Michigan Military Heritage Museum is the only place in Michigan to see the film.

The museum team set up a mini theater next to the front entrance with a large screen. After a brief introduction by museum chairman Scott Gerych, we settled in for the film.

The show begins with Sabaton members introducing the film. Joakim Brodén, Pär Sundström, Chris Rörland, Hannes Van Dahl, and Tommy Johansson shared why they feel so passionate about history. They also explained the vision behind “History Rocks” and their hopes to spur their fans and the next generation to explore their local museums.

With the introductions complete, the show begins. The War To End All Wars – The Movie leads you through a series of short stories from World War I. Each vignette includes a preamble to put the story in context regarding time, place, and situation. These short stories then come to life with detailed animation providing a visual accompaniment as Sabaton’s music tells each tale.

As compelling as the songs are on Sabaton’s The War To End All Wars album, the film makes them shine. This movie does a brilliant job of wrapping a narrative around the music. The visuals and narrative accentuate the impact of each song and the story within.

In particular, I was blown away by the story of Milunka Savić. She was a Serbian woman who took her brother’s name and dressed as a man to fight for her country. She was an incredible warrior and received Serbia’s highest medal of honor, the Karađorđe Star with Swords, for her heroism in battle. She ended up being the most highly decorated woman in history. Her story was largely unknown except in Serbia. Thanks to Sabaton’s song “Lady of the Dark” and this movie, her valiant story is alive today.

As a special treat, the Michigan Military Heritage Museum included a set of acoustic music from none other than Detroit’s Heavy Metal Horror Show – Halloween after the movie. Lead singer Brian Thomas was joined by guitarists Ben Harmsen and TJ Richardson with drummer Johnny Vladamir. They did a set that featured covers of many classic metal songs such as “Children of the Damned” by Iron Maiden, “Sanitarium” by Metallica, and “1916” by Motorhead (of which Sabaton also does a great cover). The highlight was hearing their original tune called “What A Nice Place” from their first album.

Being a fan of metal, it was a complete change of pace to hear these songs rendered acoustically. They were transformed from break-neck headbangers into introspective and nuanced pieces of music. Not that metal doesn’t have these qualities, but the acoustic approach made the music accessible to a wider audience while still appealing to the metalheads in attendance. It was a fantastic interlude between the showings of the film.

After watching The War To End All Wars – The Movie, I have an even greater appreciation for Sabaton. I applaud their work to keep history alive and make learning it fun. I learned even more about World War I thanks to this film. The stories and songs give a well-rounded portrait of the events during the war from all sides of the conflict. It sparked my interest to dig more into the fascinating stories covered in this film.

If you didn’t see The War To End All Wars – The Movie this past weekend at the Michigan Military Heritage Museum, you still have time. There are showings at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The War To End All Wars – The Movie will play through November 19th of 2023.

A special showing of the film will occur at the historic Michigan Theatre in Jackson on November 10 at 7 p.m. Proceeds from your ticket benefit both the Michigan Military Heritage Museum and Michigan Theatre. This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate Veteran’s Day and support these two fine institutions in Jackson.

Drop by our gallery on Life In Michigan for more photos of the Michigan Military Heritage Museum and the movie premiere.

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