Is Fury a War Movie?

Fury

Long live macho-martyrdom and let’s kill as many bad, bad Nazi’s while we can. Yikes. Fury is the kind of movie that gives the war movie genre a bad name. Bizarre is the word that came to my mind more than once while watching it. It was clear from the beginning that this isn’t an anti-war movie, but it took me until the end of the film to come to the conclusion that it’s not even a war movie. Just because someone pretends to tell us a WWII story doesn’t mean he really does. In my opinion, Fury is an action movie disguised as a war film.

Plus, it’s full of clichés, not very realistic and the plot is dragging in the middle section.

What’s it all about? I’m going to do something I never do I’ll give you the IMDb blurb here

April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened Army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

*******SPOILER*******

Did anyone else think of Platoon while watching this? We have a young, inexperienced soldier and an old, larger-than life hero who dies a rather spectacular death in the end.

What’s with the Nazi killing? Maybe the Allies shot a few German prisoners but I doubt they forced their young soldiers to shoot them to harden them.

They fall in love/lust awfully quickly in this film. While we’re not allowed to watch – we get to see a half-naked Brad Pitt aka Wardaddy.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie in which the Germans were depicted as entirely evil and stupid.

Shortly before the end, the young American soldier is hiding under a tank. A German soldier searches under that tank. He very obviously sees him but doesn’t shoot him. Or does he not see him? Both explanations are highly unrealistic.

*******SPOILER END*******

I’m really allergic to movies that try to glorify war or fetishize warfare. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch Fury. Just keep in mind – it’s not an anti-war, possibly not even a war movie and far from realistic. Those who love tanks and Brad Pitt might enjoy it a lot.

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World War Z (2013)

World War Z

Yes, I know I’m stretching the definition of war movies big time including Marc Forster‘s latest film. World War Z is an apocalyptic zombie movie with a very strong military element. It’s based on Max Brooks’ eponymous novel.

The movie begins with an idyllic family scene. Former UN investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), his wife (Mireille Enos) and two daughters are getting ready for the day. A little later, on their way into town, they see their world turn into chaos. Cars crash into other cars, people scream and run while others turn into savage predators. Gerry and his family narrowly escape this mayhem and hide in a huge building until a UN helicopter comes and gets them out. They are flown to an aircraft carrier where they hear more about what’s happening. It seems as if there was a pandemic that rapidly infects all the inhabitants of every country and turns them into zombies. The illness broke out in Korea and the military want to send a scientist to investigate. Gerry is sent with him as he was the best UN investigator they had.

As was to be expected they can’t find anything in Korea and the next stop is Jerusalem. From Israel we follow Gerry and a female Israeli soldier (Daniella Kertesz) on their trip around the world and see how the pandemic spreads. On this frantic trip Gerry observes that some people are avoided by the zombies. If he can find out why, maybe he could find a cure?

I hated the beginning of this movie big time and almost stopped watching after ten minutes. After the initial family scene it starts with full action and, as strange as this may seem, I found that very boring. Luckily the movie slows down a bit and moves on at a steady pace, which is broken up by more intense scenes. The end is not bad at all.

I’ve seen a few zombie movies and I couldn’t help comparing this to I Am Legend for example. I love I Am Legend, it’s my favourite zombie movie and comparing World War Z to that, was to the latter’s disadvantage. I also like the zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead a lot. Looking back I think that World War Z isn’t even a zombie movie. It’s a disaster movie with a zombie theme. It’s far more like the Day After Tomorrow or Independence Day.

The biggest flaw of World War Z is that I didn’t think it was unique. I felt I’d seen each and every element before in another context. Some in horror movies like The Crazies, others in action films, or movies in which the US or the world are at large are threatened by some sort of evil or aliens. Unfortunately I don’t like Brad Pitt all that much, which didn’t help.

Most of the time when an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic movie starts with an idyllic family scene I know I’m not going to watch anything superior. I was proven right in this case once more. It had good moments and if you want to see a fast-paced action flick, by all means, watch it, but if you’d like to see something a bit unusual, maybe even controversial, then stay away.

I’m still waiting for a movie which will look into the appeal of the zombie. Why is there such a wave of books and movies since a couple of years?

Do you have a favourite zombie movie?

My favourites are:

I Am Legend

Shaun of the Dead

28 Days Later

Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Maybe Inglourious Basterds is a good movie. Maybe it is not. In any case I have hardly seen any other movie being misspelled so often. That’s at least one achievement. “And the Oscar for most misspelled movie goes to…. “.

Inglourious Basterds is in many ways a typical Tarantino. If you don’t like Tarantino, you will probably not like this. It has graphic elements and there are a few moments of shooting gone wild like in any Tarantino. The score is also very Tarantino, although toned down.

The main story of Inglourious Basterds is a retelling of the end of WWII. It’s purely fictionalized and far from historically accurate.

We have different story lines that are all interwoven.

The Basterds are a group of American soldiers led by Lt Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), many of them of Jewish or German origin. They are dropped in Nazi-occupied France to hunt and kill Germans. They either club them to death or take their scalps. Brad Pitt is extremely good in the role of Tennessee-born tough-guy Raine who shows no mercy when it comes to Nazis.

Another story line starts with “the Jew hunter” Col Landa (Christoph Waltz) whom we meet when he is exterminating a family of Jews. One of the daughters, Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent) manages to escape. Landa is maybe one of the most annoying film characters ever.

The different story lines come together when Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Brühl), a German war hero, meets Shosanna aka Emanuelle in Paris where she meanwhile owns a cinema. He plays himself in a movie about his exploits that has been  financed by Goebbels. He tries to convince Shosanna to have the opening in her cinema. It will be an event that the whole of the German high command, including Hitler, will attend.

Many people hear of this event, among them the Basterds. This unique opportunity to have the most important Germans together in one location for an evening gives more than just one group ideas.

At the end all the different storylines come together for an ultimate typically Tarantino finale.

As far as war movies go, this was quite entertaining but not exactly my thing. As far as Tarantino movies go, it could be one of his best. I did like a few elements but was surprised that there are so many scenes that come across like theater scenes and found them actually very boring. Despite the boring elements, it offers strong pictures, some really good ideas and the genre blend is interesting. It is not a movie I liked but I would highly recommend it as it is an original addition to the genre. Tarantino fans will watch it anyway, I guess. There is one thing I really enjoyed and that is how accents were handled. One of the rare movies in which this was handled with perfection. Most of the German actors (they are all internationally acclaimed), are either bilingual or very strong in English which was an asset.