Monthly Archives: May 2012
Ray of Light in this Dark World
I just saw the movie Battleship. It was terrific and not just for the reasons you might expect. Of course, it had special effects that are tremendous (which we have come to expect, nowadays). But these types of movies are a dime a dozen. No, Battleship, was exceptional for another very important reason, and that’s the point of this blog.
Synopsis: So that I don’t give anything away, here’s what the trailer to the movie shows: a number of alien vessels have landed in the Pacific Ocean. It’s made clear in the trailer that these aliens mean to make war on humanity. So powerful and destructive is the alien technology (which you might expect since they came here from another planet) you hear one of the human characters say that this could be an extinction level event. You see naval officers in a training exercise that includes hundreds of ships from many nations, and during this exercise they discover these vessels. Then all hell (I mean this word) breaks loose and, according to the trailer, people begin dying and cities are destroyed. Liam Neeson plays the American admiral, Admiral Shane, who’s leading the International Navy fleet. Taylor Kitsch plays a screw-up lieutenant Alex Harper who’s thrust into commanding the battle against the aliens. And then Gregory D. Gadsen, a double amputee who served in Iraq (and lost his legs there), plays Lt. Col. Mick Canales. (You can find his stirring bio here.) Finally, for eye candy is Brooklyn Decker, who plays the lieutenant’s love interest, Samantha Shane. They want to get married, but she also happens to be the Admiral’s daughter. Guess what a four star admiral’s going to say to a screw-up who wants to marry his daughter.
This is what’s terrific about this movie: it’s all about the bravery, intelligence and resourcefulness of our military people (and those from another nation). In films made by the creepy crawlies in Hollywood, especially science fiction films, members of the armed forces are generally pictured as jerks or imbeciles or as just plain bad people. A recent examples of were The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008 release) and Super 8 (released in 2011) and Avatar. See these movies and you’ll know what I mean. But this is not the case in Battleship. The men and women of the armed forces are treated with the respect that is their due.
One character especially stands out: Lt. Col. Canales (Gadson), who is a no-nonsense, get-it-done or else type of guy. When you first seem him, you get the immediate impression that despite being a double amputee, this guy is a real warrior, and it’s proven in the movie. For example, he is caught in the midst of a nest of aliens with Samantha, and a nerdy SETI type. They need to retrieve a piece of the nerd’s equipment to accomplish their mission which may save the world. To do that the nerdy type must go into the midst of the alien nest. When Canales orders him to go in Mr. Nerd says he doesn’t have that kind of courage, and you believe him. Boy, do you believe him! But Canales says something like, “You will get that courage right now, or all take one of my prosthetic legs and shove it up …” well, you get the drift. And the nerdy guy goes and retrieves the equipment.
Is the world saved. Ha, that’s for me to know and you to find out.
Having said this, as the battle between the totally out-manned and out-gunned military people and the aliens progresses you can feel how the audience sympathizes with our brave men and women. We were all totally engrossed in the movie as the great story plays itself out. When I left the movie I was beyond proud of these characters and this is why: while the movie was science fiction with all the terrific special effects Hollywood can come up with, you know that what these guys and gals are doing in the movie, accomplishing the impossible with limited resources, is what they do every day here in real life. Their bravery and motivation, thinking outside the box, and dealing with impossible situations is the normal course of business for these wonderful people.
Bottom line: America’s military has the highest quality people our nation can offer. And every ounce of that bravery, intelligence, and get-it-done attitude is necessary for them to accomplish their mission: keeping America save from the forces of evil that want to destroy us.
I left the movie dancing on cloud nine, and I hope you will to.