Flags of Our Fathers Movie Review

31 Oct

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So I saw Flags of Our Fathers this past weekend. basically, the film was amazing. To me, it was everything Saving private Ryan was not. Apparently it is considered far more realistic as well by veterans.

The film is based on James Bradley ‘s book of the same title. Mr. Bradely is the son of one of the flag raisers in the very famous World War 2 photograph by Joe Rosenthal.

Here is the photo (click for huge version):

Raising the flag over Iwo Jima

Soon after that photo was taken most of the men there were dead. The movie talks about how the surviving men (only 3) of the photo were taken on a publicity tour throughout the country to raise 14 billion in war bonds. They ended up raising over 23 billion. The movie talks about the guilt they felt being treated like rock stars while their friends were still dying in the Pacific theater of World War 2.

It’s a pretty tragic story, and amazing accurate. I did a lot of research after seeing this film to see what was fictional and what was real. pretty much EVERYTHING..just about every single shot, every line of dialog, was real. They even made the actors portraying the men look a hell of a lot like the real men. The manner in which everyone died was reproduced very well.

Historians have described U.S. forces’ attack against the Japanese defense at Iwo Jima as “throwing human flesh against reinforced concrete.” Over One hundred thousand men fighting on a tiny island one-third the size of Manhattan, with no trees or shrubbery of any kind. Just rock and volcanic ash. for 36 days Iwo Jima was one of the most populated 7.5 miles on earth, and definitely the most bloody.

The movie has fantastic special effects, and damn well better win some awards for this. There are some shots of the American Naval fleet in the Pacific that make your stomach drop in awe. Generally I was very touched, and the theater I saw it in had everyone sitting through the entire end credits. Everyone was just so moved you just had to sit there out of respect until the very last credit had rolled.

I have only a few minor complaints:

  • The ‘washed out’ look used in the movie for the war scenes. While it does give a vintage feel (like we are watching a news reel from that era) I would much prefer the movie be filmed with full color, to give us a better immersion. Then again Spielberg was heavily involved in the film and he just recycled his Saving private Ryan look.
  • The ‘shaky camera’ thing. Yes it makes you sort of feel like you’re there but I’d prefer more traditional camera shots so we can actually get an idea of what’s going on.
  • The movie’s theme is ‘Hey, learn the REAL story of the flag photo, realize that many times propaganda hides the ugly truth, and we honor the men who died there better by knowing the truth rather than the rosy sugar-coated version fed to us’But the movie ends up putting it’s foot in it’s mouth by claiming Iwo Jima was essential to the war since crippled planes landed there and therefore taking that island at the cost of nearly 7,000 men was worth it since it saved even more Pilots lives.
  • This is bullshit. THAT is propaganda used to justify the invasion of iwo Jima after the fact. Declassified documents prove the original intention was never as a emergency plane landing. It dosen’t take much research to realize Iwo jima was useless to the Americans. It was a colossal waste of lives, and I am appalled at Clint Eastwood for perpetrating the myth that Iwo Jima was an essential island to take during World War 2 and that it was not a waste of lives. Very hypocritical considering the film’s theme.
  • For example, about 2,251 landings occurred in Iwo Jima after the invasion. USMC Captain Robert Burrell of the US Naval Academy stated only a small proportion of the 2,251 landings were for actual emergencies.
  • “this justification became prominent only after the Marines seized the island and incurred high casualties. The tragic cost of Operation Detachment pressured veterans, journalists, and commanders to fixate on the most visible rationalization for the battle. The sight of the enormous, costly, and technologically sophisticated B-29 landing on the island’s small airfield most clearly linked Iwo Jima to the strategic bombing campaign. As the myths about the flag raisings on Mount Suribachi reached legendary proportions, so did the emergency landing theory in order to justify the need to raise that flag.”- USMC Captain Robert Burrell
  • It makes the movie even more sad when you realize all those men essentially died for nothing. Iwo Jima was a huge waste. The United Stated grossly underestimated Iwo Jima, not realizing just how deeply fortified the Japanese were in there. It was a slaughter, and a enormous failure basically. They should have retreated upon realizing how heavily fortifed it was, instead keeping a blockade around the island while the Japanese on the island starved to death from lack of supplies. They only had 2 month’s worth of food and water.

*EDIT – Although technically, Iwo Jima was a waste of lives..in the end it was worthwhile in that the photograph alone of the flag helped raise the 23 billion the United States needed to win the war..so in that respect Iwo Jima was important..but I still say that it was a bad move to continue with the invasion at so high a cost. It could just have easily ended without the iconic photograph.

Also anyone using Google Earth, to find Iwo Jima use these coordinates:
24°47’2″N, 141°18’46″E

Read more about why Iwo Jima was a waste here.
Watch the Trailer Here

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One Response to “Flags of Our Fathers Movie Review”

  1. Anonymous April 24, 2007 at 3:42 am #

    Your full of shit
    You have no idea what your talking about.

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