Aug 18, 2006

Movie Review, preemptive strike style 

Staying on the subject of movies, but covering one of my other favorite topics - history - Hot Air puts out a very good Vent today, reemphasizing that no war has ever been won without a little hate and discontent getting put downrange. A historical case lesson is offered up in the form of Iwo Jima.

For the time being, I'm going to gloss over Israel's sudden loss of intestinal fortitude and willingness to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Call this the Hezbo's Tet Offensive, if you will: asses thoroughly kicked, yet somehow they still "won"…

No, for now I want to pay some attention to the film mentioned at Hot Air, Flags of Our Fathers. Though I haven't read the book, just like any other Marine, I'm familiar with our history and have done a good amount of research and other reading about the battle of Iwo Jima. I simply cannot wait for the film to drop sometime in late October. Go watch the Japanese trailer. It'll be interesting to compare it to the American trailer which is scheduled to hit in early September. The Japanese trailer obviously depicts the Japanese actors more, plays up their biggest Hollywood star Ken Watanabe, and looks more the way I'd expect a trailer for the companion movie to. Yes, that's right. If you didn't know, Clint Eastwood is making TWO Iwo Jima movies. First will be "Flags," and then will be a film examining the battle from the Japanese side, staring some of the same actors - mostly the Japanese ones, for obvious reasons. IMDB currently has it listed as "Letters From Iwo Jima," but I'd bet that will change as it has previously been listed as "Red Sun, Black Sand," and prior to that, "Lamps in the Wind." Apparently, without a book to take the title from, finding a name for the film is highly problematic

Anyway, even though the trailer is almost entirely in Japanese, it still looks fantastic. And after reading some message boards about the film(s) it looks like it might actually be a joint trailer for both movies (or something to that effect). The second movie is slated for a January release. That would make these some very well timed films, if that's the case. Late October for the first means a wide release by early November, in time for the Marine Corps Birthday. And late January for the second means the same for the anniversary of the battle, in February. I think we could be looking at some great filmmaking here. Hopefully better than the last wide-release Marine Corps movie - Windtalkers - which had huge potential and was based on such compelling and interesting history… and then turned out so very, VERY bad. A real shame, that.

But I would hope that these films would convey something to the American public about a trait that we as a Nation seem to have lost somewhere along the way: the will to win. At some point we decided it was more important to be liked than respected. Being liked does not win wars, and more importantly it doesn't prevent them. Strength does. And RESPECT - not fear - but actual, honest to God RESPECT for our strength, has kept us out of more fights than our "popularity" ever has. While that's probably not the aim of the films (and even if it was - will enough Americans watch it to notice?), I still hope that Clint brought that out. But regardless, I think these films are going to be great examinations of history if nothing else.

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