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Old 18-05-2005, 21:49   #21
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Originally Posted by anephric
As a war movie, I've always thought Full Metal Jacket very weak... the first half is interesting as an almost surreal descent into contradictory authoritarian madness, but the second half seems (to me) only interesting as an illustration of Kubrick's treatment of women.

I love Paths of Glory though.
Totally agree, can't believe it ranked number 5 in the C4 Top 100 War Films. Above Platoon.

The boot camp scenes are incredible, don't get me wrong. But as soon as they go to Vietnam the film falls apart. Read somewhere that the 'Nam scenes were actually shot in a studio...and it looks like it!

Same with the exterior boot camp scenes; filmed in England. When US soldiers are jogging around English country lanes that actually LOOK like English country lanes, it's a tad off-putting.
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Old 19-05-2005, 09:51   #22
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Originally Posted by RP McMurphy
Read somewhere that the 'Nam scenes were actually shot in a studio...and it looks like it!
They were shot outdoors around London Docklands (prior to it's redevelopment) with palm trees imported to make it look foreign. Personally I think the effect works really well and gives it an eerie feel.

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Same with the exterior boot camp scenes; filmed in England. When US soldiers are jogging around English country lanes that actually LOOK like English country lanes, it's a tad off-putting.
There are a lot of country lanes in the US that do look just like that. Doesn't look that English, the only real give away are the English road markings in the camp. I don't see why it makes a difference to the film though and besides, there are plenty of American military bases in England.

Definitely comes above Platoon in my book. It's a much deeper film psychologically and though there's a change of pace when they go to 'Nam it's still following the same principles. The first half shows the brutal effects of boot camp and the second half shows how that has converted even the most pacifist into killing machines.


The fact is though, Stanley was well and truly set in living in England at this point and he saw no reason to travel huge distances when he could shoot all his films in England.

Last edited by DeadKenny; 19-05-2005 at 09:56.
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Old 19-05-2005, 09:59   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadKenny

Definitely comes above Platoon in my book. It's a much deeper film psychologically and though there's a change of pace when they go to 'Nam it's still following the same principles. The first half shows the brutal effects of boot camp and the second half shows how that has converted even the most pacifist into killing machines.
I don't agree: Joker's the most cynical/pacifist and he doesn't become "a killing machine" - he's absolutely sickened when the female sniper gets killed (woman as killer/whore - contrast with the Westernised Vietnamese whore from earlier), despite getting wrapped up in the killing urge because of Cowboy etc.

The "in country" second half seems more like an addendum - a brief taster of the Nam (and even then non-specific... more war in general). It just feels superficial... the film would've had greater power for me if it had remained bootcamp-centric and not even shown any real "action".
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Old 19-05-2005, 10:09   #24
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Originally Posted by Roborob
Isn't The Final Countdown a Sci-Fi tale?
Given your own over-use of smilies it's surprising you didn't see mine.

Anyway, it has F-14s dogfighting with Zeros and the beginnings of the Pearl Harbour attack - seems like a better candidate for a war movie than some of the ones C4 had in their '100 greatest' the other week.
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Old 19-05-2005, 11:46   #25
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Originally Posted by anephric
I don't agree: Joker's the most cynical/pacifist and he doesn't become "a killing machine" - he's absolutely sickened when the female sniper gets killed (woman as killer/whore - contrast with the Westernised Vietnamese whore from earlier), despite getting wrapped up in the killing urge because of Cowboy etc.
Well it is Joker who kills her. From then on he's a killer even if it sickens him considering his pacifist nature and even more shocking considering she is not a threat at that point and it's a cold blooded killing. Without the experiences at boot camp and the horrors of war he would never have pulled the trigger but it shows how any human can be pushed to the limits and be swept up in the emotions of war to end up killing even if they would never have dreamt they could. That scene is practically the key one of the film.

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The "in country" second half seems more like an addendum - a brief taster of the Nam (and even then non-specific... more war in general). It just feels superficial... the film would've had greater power for me if it had remained bootcamp-centric and not even shown any real "action".
Well, it's not supposed to be specifically a 'Nam film but rather the experiences of the pacifist Private Joker from boot camp to war and how those experiences change him. It could have been any war. It's not specifically pro or anti-war, it's more (as typical with Kubrick films) about the human condition.

"Something about the duality of man"

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Old 19-05-2005, 12:03   #26
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I think one of the best films about Vietnam is Robert Aldrich's "Ulzana's Raid", certainly a far more probing and subtle study than many other films about the war.
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Old 19-05-2005, 12:15   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadKenny
Well it is Joker who kills her. From then on he's a killer even if it sickens him considering his pacifist nature and even more shocking considering she is not a threat at that point and it's a cold blooded killing. Without the experiences at boot camp and the horrors of war he would never have pulled the trigger but it shows how any human can be pushed to the limits and be swept up in the emotions of war to end up killing even if they would never have dreamt they could. That scene is practically the key one of the film.
It is, and Joker is the one who FINALLY pulls the trigger, but I've always thought it a "mercy killing": she's on the floor, pathetic, suffering, dying essentially with all the GIs oogling at her quizzically. Joker pulls on his "full metal jacket" (I know it's a reference to ammo but it's patently metaphorical as well) and finishes the deed. I've always thought he couldn't have pulled the trigger (and indeed doesn't when he surprises the sniper initially) "in cold blood".

Ah well, I'm the eternal optimist.
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Old 19-05-2005, 14:07   #28
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Joker takes so long to decide whether to kill her or euthanase her, that I was half expecting her to start singing, "Daisy, Daisy . . . "
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Old 19-05-2005, 14:10   #29
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PS: Those training scenes are supposedly set on Paris Island, South Carolina. Well, I bin there, and it ain't nuffink like Hertfordshire.
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Old 19-05-2005, 14:15   #30
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That's where Tigerland's set, isn't it?
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Old 19-05-2005, 17:52   #31
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Originally Posted by anephric
That's where Tigerland's set, isn't it?
Tigerland is set in Fort Polk, Louisiana. FMJ is Paris Island.

And that's my point - I can't imagine quaint English country lanes looking much like the Carolinas!

For me, it takes away from the realisim of the film when you have US soldiers who are supposed to be at a US boot camp, jogging around Hertfordshire. There seemed to be no attempt whatsoever to make it look anything but England.

Take Band Of Brothers for a more realistic example of a training camp in a southern US state.

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They were shot outdoors around London Docklands (prior to it's redevelopment) with palm trees imported to make it look foreign. Personally I think the effect works really well and gives it an eerie feel.
But compared to Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now, it just looks cheap, IMO. 'Nam films intend to highlight the harsh realities of war, so when the scenes are being shot in London (and - more importantly - look like they're being shot in London) the impact is diminished somewhat.

I agree with anephric, I think the film would have been better had it focused solely on the boot camp. The 'Nam scenes felt like an afterthought or, even worse, a totally different film to the one that climaxed with the fantastic Pyles scene.
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Old 19-05-2005, 17:54   #32
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I tend to agree on that score too - whenever I remember FMJ I remember the training and that scene above all - the bit when they're actually in Vietdocklands doesn't figure much. Not having seen it for a while I'd guess that part of the film is very short as well - is it?
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Old 19-05-2005, 19:52   #33
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Originally Posted by RP McMurphy
Take Band Of Brothers for a more realistic example of a training camp in a southern US state.
Funny enough, I was watching that episode last night and I was thinking how much it looked like certain parts of England

I think people are taking the location thing too seriously. The point is the location in FMJ is pretty much irrelevant. It could have been filmed in Africa and still be just as powerful. Use your imagination guys

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But compared to Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now, it just looks cheap, IMO. 'Nam films intend to highlight the harsh realities of war, so when the scenes are being shot in London (and - more importantly - look like they're being shot in London) the impact is diminished somewhat.
The film isn't mainly about the harsh realities of war though, it's about the human condition, the duality of man, illustrated through the results of pushing a person too far (Pyle in the first half shooting Sergeant Hartman, Joker in the second half shooting the sniper girl).

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I agree with anephric, I think the film would have been better had it focused solely on the boot camp.
I don't agree that just playing the boot camp scenes would be enough. The 'Nam scenes, especially the end one with the sniper girl, are essential to the story otherwise we'd never see Joker's struggle with duality come to fruition.

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The 'Nam scenes felt like an afterthought or, even worse, a totally different film to the one that climaxed with the fantastic Pyles scene.
It is two films tied together by a central concept, but there's nothing wrong with that and I feel it's all the more better for it, (plus it's another aspect of duality )

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Old 20-05-2005, 11:36   #34
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The main difference between FMJ and other Vietnam movies, is that Kubrick's picture deals with urban warfare, not jungle stuff. Because of this I always thought the Beckton Gasworks and the way that Kubrick and his team blitzed it looked absolutely stunning and the scene with the sniper (virtually repeated by Spielberg in Private Ryan) one of the most tense and harrowing combat sequences ever made. What perhaps lets it down slightly is the climate - Beckton always has that very British grey, tupperware sky while the Far East skies are very different. Watching FMJ you can't see or feel the tropical heat or hear that strange buzz in the air that 40 degrees and myriad insects create.
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Old 20-05-2005, 12:22   #35
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I imagine the onus on urban conflict in Full Metal Jacket was out of necessity, though. Kubrick could've done the moral thing and blitzed Thamesmead whilst he was at it...
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Old 20-05-2005, 18:45   #36
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Get your point, Anephric, but Stan based his movie on Gustav Hasfoird's The Short-Timers which was all about the fight for the city of Hue, or so I recall. But maybe Stan chose this because it was urban . . . pity the Eden Project wasn't up and running back then! But back to Hasford's book which was really scary and way beyond violent and which Stanley said had what he was looking for: a great story! Well, that's just what it lacks and the weakness of FMJ, in my view, is the lack of a story, even the lack of a mission like Apocalypse or Platoon. For what it's worth, I think the greatest Vietdrama is Born on the 4th of July or possibly the Aussie TV miniseries with frizzy beanpole Nicole Kidman which I have on VHS and saw again quite recently.
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Old 20-05-2005, 20:44   #37
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Originally Posted by Wendell Armbruster
Well, that's just what it lacks and the weakness of FMJ, in my view, is the lack of a story, even the lack of a mission like Apocalypse or Platoon.
It has a story, it's just it's not as simplistic as the "mission" stories of those films
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Old 21-05-2005, 13:54   #38
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Just a quick word about the R1 MGM release of The Purple Plain which I received today. I can't better Savant's review here, but I will just double underline his praise for the three-strip Technicolor presentation; it's quite beautiful. As some here know, I love three-strip Technicolor, and I have sometimes been known to be a little over-enthusiastic about films which are even a touch above moderately well transferred. But not in this case; I can say with head held high it's spanking. Beautiful colours, narey a mark to be seen on an almost pristine print and as sharp as a pin - those close-ups in particular that Savant mentions are wonderful.

And the film's not bad either...recommended!
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Old 14-02-2006, 11:54   #39
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A quick note about Fox's R1 war title releases coming this May, as detailed in the 'Upcoming' thread; Anatole Litvak's interesting Decision Before Dawn, Monty Hellman's Back Door to Hell, Henry Fonda in The Immortal Sergeant, Henry Hathaway's You're in The Navy Now, the excellent Bafta winning Guns at Batasi and two disc SEs for Patton, The Longest Day and Tora! Tora! Tora!.

Incidentally, Fox's new R2 'Cinema Reserve' line features Patton this April; no word on extras as yet.

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