Pop-A-Ganda

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Pop-A-Ganda

MovieBob takes on the propaganda claims concerning Act of Valor.

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Bob,

I often find your reviews to be very useful not to mention entertaining. I found your "Act of Valor" review to be surprising and this article well articulates why. While I have not yet seen the film I will now because of your review. I, a former Marine, had written the film off as a propaganda piece that I wanted no part of. I have the deepest respect for the SEALs and military personnel in general, having been one and coming from a military family, however i am so tired of seeing the military and the people who serve being used a political cats paws, both in the prosecution of their duty and in their portrayals.

I am intrigued with your assertion that this is an apolitical film and I hope to agree with you once I see it, it would be a welcome change. Thank you for your breakdown in the video and the further explanation in this article. If it honors the inherent badassness of a group of some of the hardest warriors still worthy of the name in our age without pushing an agenda than I for one welcome it.

keep the interesting discussions coming, your critical eye is appreciated.

so .... are people butthurt because its not a propaganda movie? o.o? ... funny, i was under the assumption that was a GOOD thing

I fully expect "Bronies: What Has Feminist Academia Done To Our Boys?" to be a Fox News headline/story within a year.

Why would you even say that. Fox might be listening right now, looking for new terrible ideas that sound faintly plausible! *puts on tinfoil hat*

It's a movie about ACTUAL Navy S.E.A.L.s doing ACTUAL Navy S.E.A.L. things. As far as I'm concerned COD Black Ops and Homefront were WAY more propaganda than this.

Personally I'm more upset at all your gushing over the Grey. First great movie of 2012: It's just another Liam Nelson movie with Liam Nelson doing what he does in all his movies and a set-up that adds bugger all Bob. Get over it! And you made sit through for the post credits scene. What the hell was that?

And for the record, I'm ashamed to say I listen to country music. I'm just not really into music in general.

I think I've already seen something about Fox news talking about the Bronies that way... or maybe it was a moment of precognition.

As a film student, Ive seen polical propaganda films and this really dosn't seem like one. [Yet to see it, don't think its out in the UK at all right now.] If you wasnt propagande flms, look at the stuff produced during WWII. [All countries did it so no claiming ya didn't]
This just seems like an action film with a stik of having the SEAL's as actors. [For the record; I think SEAL's are badasses and respect goes out to them with the rest of the armed forces too.] I would think the same if the Royal Marines or the SAS did the same for a UK action film.

As always, Bob makes a lot of sense by just being reasonable and fairly level-headed. Additionally, as a european I can watch whatever happens in the US at a fairly safe distance, turning the US' political shenanigans into a bit of a curiosity show.

I think the message you can take from this situation is not caring what people say about you. Someone always has a complaint about something you said in any video. Me, I just accept the fact that you can't read my mind so you can't say things according to what I want to hear.

Odd: I read the criticism of Bob's review of Act of Valor to be this: he didn't hold that movie up to the same standards as he does other movies, because of the potential blowback of saying something negative about America's military personnel.

I figured this was due to an audience (the audience being the world, when you're online) that cannot distinguish between criticism of a movie and criticism of military forces. Who wants to have to explain themselves a billion times when once should be enough? I wouldn't blame him for holding back.

But I do not wish to speak for Bob; he does fine on his own.

I still don't want to see it, because it's just too weird for me to have a movie with actual, active military people in a real world scenario. Just like the CoD games give me a great deal of pause-I've only played one-and WW2 (or any videogame based on an actual conflict) makes me uncomfortable.

I just don't have a taste for games where people were really killed. It feels dishonorable for some reason.

But that's just me! Everyone else should do as they feel best: See the movie, whatever.

StreetBushido:
As always, Bob makes a lot of sense by just being reasonable and fairly level-headed.

So, I'm not the only one who thinks so?

Personally my problem wasn't that you contextualised your argument I just felt that lthr ratio of contextualisation to review was slightly skewed (I understand that this article wasn't aimed at me I was just offering a different reason for why someone might have been unhappy with your review. Though I could have just been impatient)

I was disappointed with your Escape to the Movies today. Just not a movie I have any inkling to see. But THIS, I loooved this!
Thank you for putting into words how I feel about EVERYTHING in the USA being politicized. It's ridiculous and I really hope it's just because of this seemingly eternal and divisive election year.

Amen, Bob. While I disagree with a lot of your politics, this was a very smart and enlightening article. Really enjoyed it, thanks a lot.

I've become way too jaded with how everything is political these days. All it has done is boil things down to two simple concepts: democrats are pussies and republicans are insane. Obviously there are exceptions but it seems like they get dismissed and waved off by their own parties without a second thought.

And then, with one little link, Bob ruined Adam Baldwin... forever.

...

Man, that was depressing. I'm gonna look for something that'll make me smile...

Ahhh... never fails.

Wow that article you linked to is a whole bunch of crazy. It's stupid but it's going to make it harder to enjoy Adam Baldwin in films knowing he thinks liking non-Americans is a dark and controversial message. I wish it was a spoof. Is it?

What? I can't use this to back my erroneous and antagonistic claims? How strange! I suppose next you'll be saying that rainbows don't mean anything! Or that political economic views don't appear to have any relation to legitimate macroeconomics!

castlewise:

I fully expect "Bronies: What Has Feminist Academia Done To Our Boys?" to be a Fox News headline/story within a year.

Why would you even say that. Fox might be listening right now, looking for new terrible ideas that sound faintly plausible! *puts on tinfoil hat*

There was one anti-brony piece run by Fox news a while ago - they were just kind of generally making fun of bronies though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqEDIFfy4Yg

Zhukov:
...and then, with one little link, Bob ruined Adam Baldwin forever.

Seconded. I'd always heard he was "kind of conservative", but I had no idea he was of the Bat-Shit Insane variety. When did acceptance and multiculturalism become a bad thing?

I think another source of discomfort might be that one of the possible the thirty-second ads before your review of Act of Valor was a recruitment ad for the U.S. Marine Corps, which further taints the thing.

Kitsuna10060:
so .... are people butthurt because its not a propaganda movie? o.o? ... funny, i was under the assumption that was a GOOD thing

People are funny like that... They bitch because about something they preceive, and when that turns out to be wrong, they bitch because it wasnt what they expected. Hell, from what I heard, its basically The Expendables, just with actual soldiers instead of a bunch of aging 70s to 90s action movie stars.

Given the film's origins (my understanding is that it was originally intended to be a recruitment and/or internal-military-only piece) it's understandable, if not necessarily sanctionable, that many would jump to the conclusion that it was propaganda.

I was glad to hear that it's not (though even other reviewers can't seem to come to consensus on that point.) I don't feel any enormous need to see it myself, in my limited movie-viewing time, but I don't wish it ill. I'm certainly willing to concede that it may be unfortunate for either side of the political spectrum to view going to/not going to the movie as some kind of political statement if none such was intended by the filmmaker.

WanderingFool:

Kitsuna10060:
so .... are people butthurt because its not a propaganda movie? o.o? ... funny, i was under the assumption that was a GOOD thing

People are funny like that... They bitch because about something they preceive, and when that turns out to be wrong, they bitch because it wasnt what they expected. Hell, from what I heard, its basically The Expendables, just with actual soldiers instead of a bunch of aging 70s to 90s action movie stars.

well, the fact it has real soldiers is pretty much the only reason I'd wanna see it at all

Another great example of this kind of thinking, the absurd uproar that came from that shopping catalog image of a mother painting her sons toe nails.

Well thats nice Bob, but what you said doesn't change the fact that the movie is a 90 min long recruitment video.

castlewise:

I fully expect "Bronies: What Has Feminist Academia Done To Our Boys?" to be a Fox News headline/story within a year.

Why would you even say that. Fox might be listening right now, looking for new terrible ideas that sound faintly plausible! *puts on tinfoil hat*

Don't worry about that; Any Fox employees who come to the Escapist will get sucked into the liberal-atheist vortex that is the Religion and Politics Forum. You can take the clothes-hangars off the ceiling now.

OT: I haven't seen the movie yet, but I didn't think it would be that political; these guys aren't actors who can deliver complex hidden messages, they're soldiers who just allowed some camera guys to follow them on training exercises.

I have seen this film and more than anything it made me think of how much the Navy SEALS give up to do what they do. If I were recruiting I wouldn't be out there saying, "Hey! Become a SEAL and you get to give up all the things other people enjoy!"

I think Transformers is closer to propaganda because it doesn't show a lot of the negatives associated with the soldiers in the film.

And maybe the argument over propaganda is so heated because compared to the past, the current generation doesn't really have as much propaganda thrown in their face. I feel like people now have the ability to ignore it if they want.

Sylocat:
I think another source of discomfort might be that one of the possible the thirty-second ads before your review of Act of Valor was a recruitment ad for the U.S. Marine Corps, which further taints the thing.

Many of the escapist videos have U.S. Marine Corps recruitment ads that play before them. I don't see how that would "taint" anything. The same way I don't think a Doritos commercial would taint the Superbowl.

Meh, I thought of it as more gimmicky than propaganda.

I'd also suggest that maybe the problem with some people wasn't that Bob wasn't negative enough, it was that he seemed apologetic for being negative AT ALL.

I agree. Films, music, books, video games. they are all accepted into peoples minds in different ways. The reason I am an Actor isn't because I want to be famous or rich (they are bi-products that may or may not help me further myself) it's because regardless of something being historically accurate, it gets everybody who watches it talking, debating and of course arguing about the subject.

What more could you want?

I'm reminded of a quote from François Truffaut (That I got off TvTropes), "There is no such thing as an anti-war movie because it will invariably look exciting up on screen". Basically meaning that explosions and gunfights are *always* fun, regardless of whether the camera's for the good guys or the bad. The same goes for gunfights and bombs.

Really, the only way for this to *not* recruit people would be to have three hours of a guy sitting in grass, watching a very boring city in case something happens. (Spoiler: Nothing happens)

There have always been ridiculous, over-the-top action films where a group of stereotyped caricatures of "America's enemies" form a supervillain team based solely on their mutual hatred of Mom and apple pie. But usually those films featured macho, live-action cartoon characters for protagonists. Like The Expendables, Team America: World Police, or any given Chuck Norris film.

The propaganda concerns arise because when you pair the ludicrous, paranoid notion that dirty brown foreigners who otherwise have nothing in common but eagerly join forces to hurt America (no real explanation given) with real soldiers re-enacting their actual tactics and skills with the direct support of the US government, it sends the message that the US government actually believes Cechnyans--who have no good reason to conduct terrorist attacks against Americans--would work with Mexican drug cartels--who have their hands full fighting their own country's authorities and would be irrationally stupid to pick a fight with the most powerful military force in history.

For what it's worth, I don't think that was the filmmakers' intent, but to say the messaging of the film is "apolitical" is naive. Given that an American brigadier-general and some top military and FBI interrogators asked the producers of "24" to tone down the torture on their show--which doesn't even feature a real-life agency--there's precedent for concern. It's the same concern Film Critic Hulk brought up about the Modern Warfare series.

For my part, I'm really disappointed that an accurate, respectful portrayal of the Navy SEALs in action was paired with that kind of silly, boogeyman-baiting, cartoon storytelling when they could have done something more faithful to actual operations. I think you were right in your review, Bob: this would have been a lot better as a documentary.

Article:
Perhaps this is a futile hope, given that the U.S. looks poised to enter one of the most divisive Presidential elections since the Civil War (and certainly of the modern era)

Eh, I disagree. Not to turn this thread into Politics.thread, but there is an astounding ammount of apathy on both sides. Most Republicans wish they could get a halfway decent candidate (which it is now FAR too late to do) and many Democrats aren't able to get fired up about Obama like they did in '08. Also, Mitt Romney (the Republican most likely to win the nomination) is rightly considered by many to essentially be Obama[light], so we don't even have a lot of choice in the matter.

BrotherRool:
Wow that article you linked to is a whole bunch of crazy. It's stupid but it's going to make it harder to enjoy Adam Baldwin in films knowing he thinks liking non-Americans is a dark and controversial message. I wish it was a spoof. Is it?

I'm in the same boat. I love the man, I don't want him to be a nutjob! Does anyone have news on this being a terrible joke?

...Anyone?

For me it was more to do with HOW you come across.

When doing reviews you normal shy from, well, acting like Fluttershy - which I REALLY appreciate.

However in the 'Act of Valor' review it felt like you were apologizing and/or kissing up to the SEALS as to not make 'em hate you.

The review, plainly, felt like this:
Well, um, this is, um Act of Valor and it's like, um more realistic for military buffs.
BUT...um, you know, the Seals aren't really good actors, but IT'S NOT LIKE THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

And, um, you know it's not really propaganda because,
*seals are so xcore manly kind of kawaii*
you know, it really didn't make me wanna be one, and um...

The movie is okay, and stuff, and it's not perfect but it's not bad, and, um...you know, maybe you'll like it?

That is, you know, if that's okay with you...

I mean, erm, um...

It's not that we're mad that you didn't say anything bad about the film. We were just annoyed at how you were clarifying every sentence with "Don't worry, people, I think think these guys are awesome."

You only needed to say it at the beginning and that would be the end of it.

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