Sir Peter Jackson thinks too many First World War movies are ''cliched''.

The 58-year-old director is fascinated by the Great War - which took place in Europe from July 1914 to 11 November 1918 - but finds films about the subject too ''serious'' and focused on the same points.

He said: ''I think First World War movies are in danger of being a cliché. They take the most basic concept, which is soldiers going over the top, and that's all the films are. I'm just not excited about most of them.

''Also, and this is going to sound weird, First World War films are often too serious. They show troops having a miserable time, whereas, if you are in a bad place, humour comes to the surface.

''The soldiers didn't have self-pity. There are a lot of laughs.

''Many veterans say it was an escape from a boring home or dull job. An incredible adventure. They don't quite talk in the way you would expect people from the war to speak. It was the first time many had travelled overseas. It was like a Boy Scout camp.''

The 'Lord of the Rings' filmmaker has created a new 90-minute documentary on the subject, 'They Shall Not Grow Old', which used archive footage that's he's turned to colour, sharpened the images and slowed down and he thinks the changes he made offers a better focused on the individuals who were part of the war effort.

Peter - who upgraded 80 hours of footage as a gift to the Imperial War Museum - told the Sunday Times Culture magazine: ''The footage made you focused on the human beings.

''It really brought them to life once they stopped being slightly sped-up characters from 100-year-old footage. Their faces are incredible. You see their reactions, and it draws attention to them.''