Tag Archives: WWII

Movie Review: Fury (4 *’s) (2014)

I don’t usually watch military movies—they normally don’t interest me, but Fury seemed like an unusual and intriguing story; so I went to see it with a friend. It’s a war movie set in Germany during the final Allied Invasion in World War II. The main characters are the five man crew of an American tank called Fury. It stars Brad Pitt (as Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier), Shia LaBeouf (as Boyd “Bible” Swan), and several other lesser-known actors. Logan Lerman plays the latest recruit to the crew: Norman Ellison, a green private who is ill-prepared for the job ahead.

The story begins, roughly speaking, with Fury’s return to an Allied base after a brutal combat in which they lost their gunner. The master sergeant assigns private Norman Ellison to replace him, much to Don Collier’s dismay. In any event, they are given a new mission: to assist in the capture of a nearby town. Six tanks short, they proceed on their mission. It is a quick success; they capture the town, execute an SS Nazi, and disarm the children who were being armed against them. (Yes, according to the film, the Nazi’s used children as soldiers, and if they resisted, they were hung up to die and serve as examples to other children).Then, they are assigned another mission: to take and hold a crossroads. It’s a critical juncture between the Allied Forces and the Germans. It is there that their courage, resolve, and stamina are truly tested. A lone tank with limited ammo against several hundred troops. Can they hold their position? Or is their destruction inevitable? I’m not telling.

Strengths: the special effects were good, the acting was good—Shia LaBeouf, in particular, did an excellent job. For once a religious person was represented by Hollywood in a non-demeaning way. The plot held my attention throughout the film. And there were no logical loopholes (but, of course, I think it was supposed to be based on a true story—I think) that I detected. Weaknesses: there were none that I noticed. For a moment, I was going to say that the use of plastic was a problem because I wasn’t sure how long that material has been around, but according to Wikepedia, it’s been around for quite long.

Anyway, I’ll give Fury a full four stars out of five.

Old Movie Review: Into the White (2012)

“Into the White” is an interesting little film about three Germans and two Englishman trapped in a cabin together during WWII. Not exactly the friendliest of compatriots. It’s a movie by Petter Naess. I have no idea who that is, but he did a good job with this movie. It also stars Rupert Grint from the Harry Potter films (Ron Weasley). The film begins with a downed Nazi warplane. Of the four man crew, three men have survived. They are lost in a winter wasteland in Norway. They make what preparations they can and then head off in pursuit of the coastline hoping to find their way back to German territory. Shortly, they find a cabin in the middle of nowhere and set up a temporary home to escape the harsh weather for a bit. No sooner have they made themselves comfortable, but two English airmen arrive. They, too, have been shot down. Surprisingly, the Germans invite the Englishmen in, and then, unsurprisingly, the Germans take the Englishmen captive.

 

What follows is an intriguing tale of survival in a harsh place. The two groups of men must learn to work together to survive. One of them was injured during the plane crash making for increased difficulty and hardship and eventually forcing a crude amputation. The roles of captors and prisoners are reversed a couple times until both sides agree to do away with the weapons. By the end of the movie, the men have become sort-of friends with each other. One of the Englishmen weeps when one of the Germans is killed, and what-have-you.

 

Strengths: the acting was good, the filming was good, and the special effects (what limited ones there were—amputation) were acceptable. The plot held together well and provided an intriguing look at how even the worst of enemies can become friends. Weaknesses: I don’t think there were any major weaknesses that reflected poorly on the integrity of the film, but I do have to take issue at one point. In the middle of the movie, there was a kind of relativistic assertion (it wasn’t stated that way, but it was kind of implied) where the Germans claimed they were simply doing what the Englishmen were doing or had done.  German aggression was no different than English colonialism. I’m not an expert on history, so I can’t go tit-for-tat between the English and the Germans. But I do know the English never tried to shove an entire race of people into gas chambers and ovens. English hands aren’t perfectly clean by any stretch of the imagination, but Nazi Germany embodied an evil which should not be wiped away in a fit of relativistic ambiguity. Other than that, the movie was actually quite good.

 

I’ll give it four stars out of five.