Flags of Our Fathers


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Apr 23, 2004
You'll have to check the Marauder's Map...
*I will warn you in advance, there may be spoilers here. First off, I recommend everyone who is mentally capable of handling the realistic violence, to see this movie, or at least read the book. My husband has read the book and thinks that this book should be required reading in high school history class.

War movies, particularly WWII based ones, are just not my cup of tea. There are the rare exceptions such as "The Patriot", that I watch willingly. But movies like "Saving Private Ryan" are just too gory and are not entertaining. With those movies, I felt that the director(s) were trying to see if they can break the record for the number of shots fired and get awards for the gory-est battle scenes, and tell a story that is only partly true because of the liberties taken with screenplay rights. Not to say that war isn't that, especially WWII. I just think that the writers are more interested in telling a mostly made-up story with some history rather than telling history and let that be the story instead of being concerned with special effects and what would make for a good 'Oscar Moment". This movie could be compared to "Titanic", in the context that they recreate factual history, except the main characters in this story were real people and were really there, and these things really happened.

I also admit that I have never been really interested in WWII, mainly because in my history classes, they never went into depth as to what happened, never made it feel personal. They kind of just said "Hitler started it, Japanese got into it, we finished it" and spent most of the time on the Holocaust and didn't really even talk about Iwo Jima or even why we took it over.

Tim on the other hand, is what I call a walking WWII encylopedia. He knows more about it, the ships, planes, tanks, guns, strategies, etc., than any person I know personally. He has built several models of the planes, tanks, and ships, plays "Call of Duty" (WWII simulation) online against people from around the world, and reads everything he can get his hands on about this particular war.

Because this movie was made from the book, which in itself could almost be considered a documentary/biography, but with the story being retold from the guy who interviewed his father's war friends, but not adding to it, other than his own recollection of how his father was and such. Tim told me a few things in the movie, didn't happen in the book, but there were maybe 3 instances total, and one of them he liked better than in the book.

I also felt that I learned a lot because Tim was there to answer all my questions. I actually felt interested in all that was going on and that while it was gory and violent, that wasn't the main focus, which is what "Saving Private Ryan" felt like. I asked what kinds of planes they showed because some looked like what Tim has sitting on his desk, and I asked about the guns, and I did have to ask about the storyline a little, because I got confused about Rene's girlfriend situation, and I learned a lot about the strategies the US and Japan used (they were sneaky little shits!), and about the fact the flag in the photo was not the original, and the reasons why they did a second one. I didn't even know that on the first day of attack, there were over 800 ships off shore waiting to be needed. When I saw that, all I could think was "Day-um..."

Finally, I do want to say that I liked the movie-more than I expected to, and I give it 5 stars out of 4. It was enjoyable for me because I actually feel that I have a better understanding of what happened, and the peoples lives portrayed felt real, and it felt personal instead of watching a despirate attempt at an Oscar nomination. I felt that I actually learned quite a bit, which is rare in movies these days.

When the movie itself was over, about a handful of people stood to get up, but most of us kind of sat there, quiet, moving slowly, still watching the screen. The credits were playing, then they started showing actual photos from WWII and the photos of the people that the actors portrayed. Everyone kind of froze, and stood to watch, as if to pay some respect to those on screen in the photos. After the final photo, you could hear a pin drop in that theater.

All in all, the movie was touching, educational, and emotional. Clint Eastwood directed the movie, and Steven Spielberg helped produce it. I was wary of Spielberg's presence, because many of his movies that are based on historical events, tend to sacrifice truth and fact for drama and award-winning scenes. But the movie was great. Eastwood did a wonderful job and I hope to see more of his work as a director in the future. Worth every penny of the admission price AND the concession stand expenses, but make sure you get the extra large bucket of popcorn and pop-the movie is 2 hours and 40 minutes. But you'll come out of the theater knowing more about history than when you came in (unless you already knew this stuff or read the book).

I plan on reading the book now, taking hiatus from my John Grisham novels and HP books.

If I can, I may be able to convince Tim to write a comparison review and opinion on the movie, since it is in his area of expertise.
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