Wednesday, February 29, 2012
1980's films on the Vietnam War
The 1980's saw a number of films released about the Vietnam War, most notably the critically acclaimed Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July and Good Morning Vietnam. The Vietnam War was depicted in many different ways through the art of film. Good Morning Vietnam brought a comedic twist to the Vietnam War film genre whilst Platoon focused not just on the war itself but also the effect it was having on the people of America whilst showing that the real enemy of the American people was not the Vietcong but the social unjust in America itself. It showed social unjust in the military as an example of American society at the time. In Platoon the character Taylor begins to see the naivete of his views of the war, especially after a quick search for enemy troops devolves into a round of murder and rape. This can be seen as the character portraying the American public being unaware to the real tragedies of war and then being exposed to it via television.
"Platoon was the first of three high-profile films to arrive on the scene during a nine-month period. In the near wake of Stone's feature, which arrived in theaters in December 1986, were Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (in June 1987) and John Irvin's Hamburger Hill (August 1987). Both were effective movies, but neither came close to capturing the essence of what Platoon achieved. Those who were in Vietnam have described this as a "flashback." Those who have never been there get a vivid, you-are-there depiction of those things that don't make it into the history books." - http://www.reelviews.net/movies/p/platoon.html
Good Morning Vietnam came out in 1987 around the same time period as films such as Platoon and whereby most films made about the Vietnam War were serious portrayals of the grim reality of the war, Good Morning Vietnam is however a comedy adding a bit more light heartedness to the time. This is not to say that the film does not have its moments of tragedy and blood shed but rather than focus on apsects such as those its focuses more on the relationship between the lead character with his fellow Americans and also the normal Vietnamese people. There are multiple scenes with Robin Williams character interacting with the Vietnamese people, joking around and even forming friendships and making connections with them. This shows the human side to the war and that Americans and Vietnemese are people who can co exist and get along together. There are also moments in the film where they print out news and then edit out parts which they dont want people to know about, Robin Williams character is involved in a bombing and is told to not mention it on his radio show as if nothing had ever happened eventhough this event took place just hours earlier. He later exposes truths about the events on his radio show as he cannot understand why the truth is being hidden, this can be seen to mirror the outrage of how Americans felt as they were being left out in the cold when it came to the facts of the war.