Wednesday, September 20, 2023

What did Ahsoka know about Anakin | Why we still watch Star Wars?


I will swear to my dying breath that The Last Jedi is an entertaining movie because I found it entertaining. In the same way, I find the Ahsoka series entertaining despite some of my friends saying it is stupid and boring. (Having watched The Clone Wars and Rebels, I am more invested in these characters than they are.)

The Last Jedi has some brief cringe-worthy dialog, but this didn't bother me because the story overall is pretty good. 

I think that the problem with The Last Jedi for most people is the image of Luke as a lightsaber-holding madman about to kill his nephew. However, this image was from Kylo-Ren's perspective. We get a milder version of Luke from his own perspective. This follows the Rashomon idea of telling the same story from different perspectives. 

 Maybe people who hate The Last Jedi after just one viewing would hate it less after watching it a second time.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Star Wars in a historical context


To put Star Wars in context, in 1977 I was 17 years old.  We were living during the Cold War, where the Soviet Union could be viewed as the Evil Empire, while the fight against the Nazis during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War didn't seem like ancient history, but were still relevant in our minds.  The thought of nuclear annihilation also felt like a very real possibility.

We were going through the worst economic decade of my lifetime.  Some people might look at the events that followed 2008 as being the worst, but the American economy was much more robust in 2008 and able to eventually rebound.  However, the 1970s were just one piece of bad news after another.  The country felt like it was in a giant malaise.

Then came Star Wars in 1977, which to my 17-year-old mind felt like a godsend.  It was a metaphor for a hopeful battle against all the evils that plagued us.

Star Wars became an important part of my life, and it influenced my career toward computers and video game development.  To this day, Star Wars feels like a part of my personality.

At my more advanced age of 63, I notice how violent Star Wars is.  This didn't seem like much of an issue in 1977 when the characters were fighting Space Nazis, because the 1970s felt like an existential struggle against the forces of evil.  For example, Star Wars calls light sabers an elegant weapon, but how elegant is cutting people in half or cutting their heads off?  It would be like calling a battle axe an elegant weapon.

All this makes me wonder how relevant Star Wars is to our current time?  The 20th century was by far the most violent in history, which made mechanized murder on a mass scale feel more normal.  I think that there was less regard for the individual, which is something we take to extreme levels today.

I feel far less threatened by outside forces today than I did after 9-11, or in the 60s, the 70s, and the 80s.

We can still fantasize about a struggle for survival between good and evil, but good and evil in the modern world are less distinct from one another.

This makes me think that Star Wars has to change to remain relevant.  The original movie gave us 1970s characters in a futuristic setting.  The recent series Andor did a great job of giving us modern characters in the same setting and feels more relevant to the time we live in.

--
Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

Why Modern Movies Suck - Nobody Can Stay Dead!

Friday, September 1, 2023

What A Lightsaber Would REALLY Do To You

Futuristic Movie timeline




The Empire Strikes Back

It is, and will likely remain, my favorite movie.  

At the time of release, a Louisville news program asked a Louisville newspaper movie critic to rank the film on a scale of 1 to 10.  He gave it an 11.  I think he called it one of the greatest movies ever made.

I had heard that Lucas was angry with either the director or the producer for making the film too good, believing they could make more money by keeping it under budget.   I am disappointed in Lucas because the final product is a great film.

Alan Ladd was willing to help Lucas with a loan but was later pushed out by Fox for making a bad deal and not getting more money especially after the movie was a huge hit.

You would think that George Lucas would have had all the money in the world at his disposal, but in Return of the Jedi the reason we got a planet of Ewoks instead of Wookies, like Lucas wanted, was because he lacked the funding.   I think that the Wookies would have made a better movie, and later we saw a planet of Wookies in Episode III Revenge of the Sith.  

"Return of the Jedi" was going to called "Revenge of the Jedi", but this was thought to sound too much like "Revenge of Khan", so both movies renamed their titles to avoid any confusion.  It was also thought that "Revenge" was inappropriate for "Jedi".  Recently, the animated Clone Wars series stated, "Revenge is not the Jedi way."  I think that this was a deliberate reference to the movie.

On Fri, Sep 1, 2023 at 8:55 AM Larry wrote:
All of the OT's successes originated from George Lucas. Did you know that the first cut of 'The Empire Strikes Back' was a disaster? Here's what a now deleted article from ScreenRant says, titled '15 Things You Never Knew About The Empire Strikes Back'. Fact #7 was that, you guessed it, "The First Cut Was A Disaster, Requiring Heavy Reshoots". The article then goes on to say "With shooting way behind schedule and costs running out of control on The Empire Strikes Back , George Lucas started to panic. With his entire personal fortune invested in production on Empire , the failure of the movie would mean persona and professional ruin. Shooting wrapped, and Lucas breathed a sigh of relief". That's good, you might say. However, the article continues with: "Then came the disastrous rough cut, which left Marcia Lucas in tears. Lucas exploded, furious with Gary Kurtz and Irvin Kershner at having spent his personal fortune to make a bad movie. Lucas tried reediting the movie himself to no avail. He then decided to film extensive reshoots, reworking the Han/Leia love subplot. That raised the cost of the picture even more, as Lucas had to divert funds from construction of Skywalker Ranch to keep the movie shooting. He also had to approach Fox for a loan, which production executive Alan Ladd, Jr. helped him secure. Ladd would later quit Fox over the loan, when Empire became a runaway hit


Friday, August 25, 2023

Oppenheimer

 

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer has been touted as not only the movie of the year but possibly the most important movie of the century.  Some critics have called it a perfect film, and I wish that I could report that it is a perfect movie, but it has a few flaws.

The film is a technical achievement, having been filmed in iMax at the record length of three hours.  This is difficult to do with iMax and the movie has even broken some iMax projectors.  I did not see it in iMax but got a pretty good view from the front row of my local theater.

Because of COVID, it has been 3.5 years since I last visited a movie theater.

On the plus side, the film is so well made that it mostly kept my attention for the entire three hours.  About halfway through the last hour, I began to feel like it was dragging on too much and wondered how long it had to go until the end.

Cillian Murphy carries the movie with a fantastic performance as Oppenheimer.

As for the flaws:

1.  The film is mostly a soap opera about Oppenheimer's personal struggles, sex life, and political difficulties after the Manhattan Project where he was denied a security clearance for his communist party associations.  The main antagonist is Lewis Strauss, played in an oscar worthy performance by Robert Downy Jr, who comes to despise Oppenheimer for his political leanings.

This is a missed opportunity to explore the history around World War II, the Manhattan Project, and other scientists involved.  I have seen documentaries, a series, and one other movie go into way more detail about these events.  In this film, we see many famous actors play historical characters who get very little screen time.  By cramming too much into the film, we get too little about these characters.  For example, Matt Damon does a fantastic job of playing General Groves, but his character isn't explored very much.

Compare this to the movie Fat Man and Little Boy which serves as a better history lesson, but is more flawed in its presentation.  General Groves is almost the main character, and Paul Newman played him more like George C. Scott played Patton.  In the film, comic actor Dwight Shultz is barely passable as Oppenheimer, and the dialog is mostly annoying exposition to explain to the audience what is going on.

2. The movie has a few surrealistic scenes that are more confusing than entertaining.

3.  Cillian Murphy has a couple of nude scenes that are completely gratuitous.  They just don't work in this film.  I don't mind nude scenes in general, but here they come across as jarring.  One of these is an imaginary lovemaking scene in the hearing room of a political committee.  It feels totally out of place.

4.  Christopher Nolan made a big deal about how they only used practical effects and not computer effects for shots like the nuclear explosion.  This works dramatically, but it doesn't look like a real nuclear explosion.  It just looks like a big Hollywood explosion, so the movie uses close-ups to hide that it is not a real nuclear explosion.  In this case, computer effects, or real footage, might have been better.

5.  The film presents Oppenheimer as conflicted, but also as a bit of an enigma.  This last part feels a bit lazy and I find myself wondering if the Oppenheimer presented on screen is historically accurate.  I get the sense that I don't understand the real Oppenheimer having watched the movie.

The final scene of the film is thought-provoking.  It shows that Oppenheimer believed that humans could still destroy themselves with nuclear weapons.

As for Oppenheimer's concern over nuclear weapons and self-blame, he failed to understand that there was no way to stop scientific progress in this area.  Even Japan was working on nuclear weapons development.  If we didn't invent nuclear weapons, then our enemies would.  Where this ultimately leads I don't know, but there was no keeping the genie in the bottle.

Rating:  B+.  Although the movie is a technical achievement with great performances, it feels like a lost opportunity to explore more of the history and Oppenheimer himself.

Some critics said that they planned on watching the movie multiple times, but I don't see why I would want to.

My Review of 'Oppenheimer'

Why Oppenheimer is a MASTERPIECE

Will Tom Cruise watch Oppenheimer or Barbie⁉️

Why are people not going to the movies anymore?



Oppenheimer post credits scene Meme

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Stop Saying It's Just a Movie

Who is Ahsoka?



Ashoka Tano is a much loved character from the animated Star Wars The Clone Wars series. A more mature version of the character appeared on the animated Star Wars Rebels series, as well as the live action The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett series.

The live action Ashoka series starring Rosario Dawson premieres tonight on Disney+.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3

 Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, available for streaming on Disney+, is the best of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.  Unfortunately, it is the last since James Gunn has given an emphatic "No!" to any more sequels.  These movies are entertaining enough that I don't see why they can't continue indefinitely, and I really want to see more of these characters.  (Never say never again.)

The film is a bit limited by being a live-action comic book dominated by action scenes, but it has the most character development, centering around the life and backstory of Rocket Racoon.  We get his origin story, along with the villainous character who created him.  Some movies are only as good as their villain, which isn't entirely true here.  Rocket was created by "The Great Geneticist", who has a god complex and considers Rocket to be his property.  As far as villains go, "The Great Geneticist" feels rather routine.

Near the end of the movie, all the characters having gone through an ordeal, embrace each other.  It would have been poignant and brilliant if the movie had ended at this moment.  Some fans might have felt shortchanged and complained.  Instead, the film gives us several more minutes designed to make us feel happy, but the actual ending is pretty fluffy and insubstantial.

There are a couple of scenes in the credits which promise the return of "Star-Lord", which means the Chris Pratt character will turn up someday in a different Marvel movie.

This film is a fun ride, so I only hope that eventually, we will get a sequel.  

Rating: A-.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Star Wars Sequels: Disney's Anti-Trilogy

I really like the analysis here.

Your Last Chance, Disney



@john2001plus
1 minute ago

I am a die-hard Star Wars fan who is critical of Disney Star Wars but not nearly as hostile in my criticism.  I have found almost all of Disney Star Wars entertaining, despite a few flaws, large and small.  

I am disappointed with The Rise of Crapwalker, which is a barely entertaining movie.  It is logically flawed and ruins Darth Vader's sacrifice by bringing back Palpatine.  The sequel trilogy as a whole is a bit of a letdown.

However, I will swear to my dying breath that The Last Jedi is an entertaining movie because I found it entertaining.  It is not the story I would have told, but if they did everything I expected then it would be a pretty boring movie.  It has some brief cringe-worthy dialog, but if you can ignore that then the movie has a really good story.  It was also an opportunity that J.J. Abrams squandered to take Star Wars in a new direction, where you didn't have to be a Skywalker to use the force.

I enjoyed the Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett series.  I realize that they are not perfect, but my expectations for TV shows are lower than major movies.  I feel like the Star Wars audience wants to nitpick these shows to death because they are not perfect, but they still have entertaining stories.

The movie Solo didn't do much for me.  All the characters are unlikeable, which makes it hard to enjoy.

I really like Rogue One and Andor.  I absolutely love The Mandalorian.  Season 2 is astonishingly good, but unfortunately, season 3 is barely passable.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

I love you, Hank. Happy Esther Day.

Earl befriended author John Green, who credited her for the inspiration to complete his bestselling 2012 novel The Fault in Our Stars.  (This was made into a terrific movie.)

Friday, July 28, 2023

Can Star Wars fans agree to disagree?



All excellent points.

I will swear to my dying breath that The Last Jedi was entertaining because I found it entertaining every time I watched it. Despite the flaws, I think that there is a pretty good story there.

I also found The Rise of Crapwalker entertaining, but it seemed illogical and it ruined the cannon. I had high expectations and was let down. Therefore, if you don't like The Last Jedi for the same reasons, I understand, but I don't agree.

--
Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Star Wars isn't dead, but there could be more very dark times for it in the near future... - YouTube


I fall into the category of enjoying some of Disney Star Wars but not all of it.  In my case, I have enjoyed most of it.

I don't think that there is a category of people who are afraid to criticize Star Wars.  If anything, the vast majority of fans go to the opposite extreme.  I feel like Star Wars fans are too nitpicky and will reject an entire movie because it is not what they personally wanted.

Most of Disney Star Wars has been pretty entertaining despite a few flaws.  I am one of the few who loved The Last Jedi.  I know that there is some cringe-worthy dialogue, but most of it is brief.  I wasn't put off because of Luke, because it is not my story to tell, and Lucasfilm can tell whatever story they want.  Despite the problems, all of which I think are minor, the story is still very good.

Likewise, I think that Kenobi is a good show.  The production quality falls short of Andor, but this is Star Wars on TV.  I have lower expectations for television programs, and regardless of whatever flaws it has logically, it is entertaining.  People would not make the same complaints about an animated series, so I hold Kenobi to the standard of the TV shows that came before it, and not the movies.

For me, The Rise of Crapwalker was a bridge too far with the entire Palpatine plot.  Bringing Palpatine back diminishes the ending of Return of the Jedi because it makes Vader's sacrifice much less meaningful.  I have to admit that the movie is entertaining, but the film is a logical dumpster fire.


I had hoped that The Rise of Skywalker would finish the series in a good way and to some extent redeem The Last Jedi by continuing its story logically, but instead, the movie showed that Lucasfilm had no grand plan in the making of these movies.

Many people have praised Solo, but I found none of the characters likable, so the movie didn't work for me.  It is barely passable as entertainment.  I will probably watch it again, but it feels like an average space movie and I expect more from a Star Wars film.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Therapist Reacts to UP and Grief

I just rewatched the opening sequence of UP, multiple times, which I think is incredible.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Chemo is Weird, Y'all

Been watching this YouTuber, Hank Green, for about 13 years.  The first video I saw is this one: 

A couple of weeks ago he announced that he had lymphoma:  


He alternates making youtube videos with his brother John, who wrote the book, "The Fault in Our Stars" which was made into a terrific movie.  John Green appears in a deleted scene of the movie:  

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Humanizing Hitler - What Downfall is Really About (Film Analysis)


Downfall is about the downfall of a nation for the sin of putting its fate in the hands of one man.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Ray Stevenson

Anyone who has seen the series "Rome" would probably be a fan of Ray Stevenson He passed away a couple of days ago at the age of 58 while filming in Italy. He has appeared in other shows and will be in the Star Wars Ahsoka series coming out in August.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Stevenson

Friday, May 19, 2023

WTF Happened to IDIOCRACY?


Idiocracy is a mildly amusing movie about a guy who participates in a suspended animation experiment gone wrong and wakes up 500 years into the future to find that the world has gotten much dumber.

Who among us doesn't think that this is a plausible future?

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Nope

 Nope is a science fiction horror film.  It is available on Amazon Prime.

A brother and sister struggle to run a Hollywood horse-training farm after the death of their father (Keith David from Cloud Atlas.)  Meanwhile, their neighbor (Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead) is running a nearby Western and UFO themed mini amusement park tourist trap.  They all begin to suspect that something alien and dangerous is moving around in the clouds.  The story plays out like a science fiction version of Jaws.

The film makes good use of sound.  We hear faint sounds in the distance that might be screaming.

The movie has a huge plot hole because the characters suspect that something in the clouds is killing people, but they don't try to contact the authorities.  Instead, they want to film this danger so that they can make money and become famous.  Had they contacted the police and successfully made their case, the issue would have escalated up the hierarchy until it eventually provoked a military response.

The movie starts with a truly bizarre scene where a young version of the Steven Yeun character is playing in a '90s sitcom.  A trained chimpanzee on the show goes berserk and kills most of the people on the set.  This is not far-fetched, since chimpanzees are extremely aggressive and violent.  At first, it is hard to understand why this scene is in the movie, but the film later tries to make the point that trained wild animals can still be dangerous, and this just might have something to do with whatever it is in the clouds.

I have often said that cheap science fiction typically will have only one good idea, and those movies stretch their one good idea out for 90 minutes, or in the case of this film, 2 hours.  The story is rather clever, but the pace of the film is a bit too slow.  Fortunately, unlike most films of this genre, they don't wait till the end of the movie for the big reveal.  We get the big reveal halfway through, and the remainder of the film is about the characters responding to it.  As such, the film is more exciting than films like The Vast of the Night, The Signal, Monsters, and Annihilation.  Even though these movies were entertaining, nobody cares about them anymore because their lack of substance made them forgettable.

Despite the rather slow pace, especially in the first half which spends much time building up the story, Nope made me care about these characters enough to keep me involved.  

Rating:  B.

Hayden Christensen on Playing Anakin Skywalker

Friday, April 7, 2023

What if we are thinking about Lightsabers all wrong?

Pulp Fiction | 'Nobody Ever Robs Restaurants’ Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer

Amanda Plummer does such a fantastic job as the main villain in the 2023 season 3 of Star Trek Picard, where she is truly badass, I tried to look up what else she has played.  This is the opening sequence of the movie Pulp Fiction from 29 years ago.



Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Disney is Killing Pixar And They Need Our Help



I actually like Cars 2, Toy Story 3, Brave, and Monsters University. I especially like The Good Dinosaur. Finding Dory is pretty good. Toy Story 4 feels weak to me. Cars 3 is just bad. I enjoyed Coco but the movie did not feel in any way exceptional. Soul is pretty cool. Lightyear is surprisingly good. It is not critically panned. It has a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Lightyear did poorly because there was a conservative boycott due to a very brief same-sex kiss.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Jerry O'Connell shares a funny and emotional story about filming Stand By Me

Jerry O'Connell is not at all like I expected.  He said that he was hyperactive as a child, and you can see that in his personality.  

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Something Big (1971)

By definition, there has never been a larger discrepancy between the Critic rating and the Audience rating.

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/something_big_1971

I remember seeing this movie in what was likely the late 70s on TV. I just rewatched the first 11 minutes and it is hilarious.

On Fri, Mar 10, 2023 at 1:11 PM al wrote:
>
> John, this is the movie I told you about tonight, starring Dean Martin. I thought it was a fun movie to watch. It will make you laugh frequently, although I'm not sure I would call it a true comedy.
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63I6sJ89y7k

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Fight Club: The twist that no one noticed

Major spoilers...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHE7oBvOk9U

This is a movie that had mixed reviews upon its release but has gained more appreciation over time.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Richest Comedians in world 2023πŸ’°πŸ™‚

Check out the richest one...



John Coffey
0 seconds ago
That's not Mel Brooks. That's Carl Reiner.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Original Anakin Actor Didn't Know Who He Was Playing!

Reportedly, Sebastian Shaw had never seen Star Wars.  He only had 4 or 5 lines as the face of Darth Vader.  When Ian McDermid asked him what he was doing on the set he said, "I don't know, my boy.  It has something to do with science fiction."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=istGHcanD-o&t=14s

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Darth Vader | Behind The Scenes History

I think that this is funny.  Reportedly, the old actor Sebastian Shaw didn't know anything about Star Wars.  He just read a few lines and collected a paycheck.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmOG1wg5sVo&t=456s

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Last Of Us Will Never Be The Same

Videogames have become more cinematic, so it is not surprising to see a popular video game adapted into a cinematic-quality series.  So far, I've only seen the first two episodes, but I am impressed.  It is a mixture of The Crazies, The Walking Dead, and A Quiet Place.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6O5aoD3EyY&t=166s

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Rust (upcoming film)


Premise[edit]

In 1880s Kansas, aging outlaw Harland Rust comes out of hiding to rescue his thirteen-year-old grandson Lucas, who has been sentenced to hang for murder after an accidental shooting. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rust_(upcoming_film)

cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza was injured on the set of the film Rust when a live round was discharged from a revolver used as a prop by actor Alec Baldwin.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Just Darth Vader being terrifying

Video games are becoming more like movies.


The full video game does not make a perfect movie, but it is interesting enough...


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Did you know that in FORREST GUMP...

Star Wars: Premonition | Award Winning Lightsaber Duel | SaberComp 2022

It is amazing how dedicated Star Wars fans make their own quality fiction.  Here we have a Kylo-Ren-Esque villain after a Rey-Esque mother and her child.  The production quality is pretty good for a fan-made short.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K52fEK1XZNo

Monday, January 16, 2023

Encanto

 


A Columbian family is forced to leave their home due to war, and in the jungle they find a magical candle that never burns out and grants each one of the family members a different magical power.  They use their powers to build a small town that becomes a safe haven for refugees.  However, problems arise when third-generation Mirabel is not granted a magical power and the magic seems to be fading.  Some of the family blame Mirabel, even though she is not at fault, and Mirabel goes through a crisis of confidence.

Encanto is a Disney 3D animated musical film with a bizarre premise that is somewhat interesting and could have been something really special until it falls flat on its face.  I haven't been this disappointed in an animated film since I saw Robots, and kind of for the same reason; whatever message the movie is pushing is unrealistic and makes it feel pointless.  Here I am not sure that the movie has a clear message except that if people sing about their feelings then this somehow will make everything wrong in the world better.

It is also one of the most successful properties on the Disney+ streaming service and it has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Some of the critical praise focuses on issues like diversity and Latino representation.

I was hoping that Encanto is a Pixar film, but it is not, which explains why it lacks the qualities that make Pixar films great.

The movie throws around a great deal of Spanish lingo such as 'tio', 'abuela', 'casita', and much more.  It expects you to guess the meaning of the words, which is not hard because every time one of these words is used you are given a visual clue as to what they are talking about.  The film is a very small Spanish lesson, mostly set to music.  Even the title, 'Encanto', means spell or enchantment.

Ultimately the movie doesn't work because it feels like a mess without a clear point. 

Rating:  B-.  It is barely passable as entertainment.


Monday, January 9, 2023

Far From the Tree

 


Far From the Tree is an animated short that played in theaters before the Pixar film Encanto.

It is a story about an overly adventurous Raccoon kit who gets scolded by her father for getting them into danger.  Then as an adult, she faces the same challenge with her son.  

In this short, the raccoon animation is more cartoonish.  I think that it might have worked better had the raccoons looked more realistic.  

Although it is supposed to be sentimental and sweet, and I get the same kind of vibes I got from "Piper" released before "Finding Dory", it didn't click with me.  It is barely passable as entertainment.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

All Quiet on the Western Front

 


World War I was one of the most pointless and deadliest wars in history.  It is hard to understand why these countries were at war with each other.  Different nations had become more militaristic, and imperialist.  Because of mutual defense packs, the assassination of Arch-Duke Ferdinand set off a chain of events that led to World War.  As one country was attacked, others felt compelled to join in.

Most of the war was spent in the trenches, with millions dying in pointless charges getting mowed down by machine gun fire while making no real advancement.  The battle lines changed very little.

All Quiet on the Western Front makes no pretense of nobleness nor honor in people trying to kill each other.  Soldiers aren't seen as brave men fighting for a worthy cause.  These young men, teenagers who are practically boys, are sent charging into their likely destruction.  And for what purpose?  Mostly patriotism, but the boys on both sides aren't any different than their enemy.  They are fighting not for a cause, but because they are told that they must do so.

The movie starts with German youth Paul BΓ€umer patriotically signing up for military service with some of his classmates.  They are told that they will be victorious and march into Paris.  However, any notion of glory quickly disappears as soon as they arrive at the front.  One of the classmates is killed in the first few minutes.

The best battle scene involves the soldiers being attacked by multiple enemy tanks, which looks like Hell on Earth.

The movie is so realistic that it feels almost like watching a documentary.  It doesn't shy away from the horrors of war.  Many people likely will be put off by the film.  As such, it is more of an experience than it is entertainment.  After watching the movie it would be hard to watch other war movies in a positive light.

The film is based on a 1928 German anti-war novel, that would later be banned by the Nazis because it made war look less than glorious.  There were previous movie adaptations in 1930 and 1979, both of which were critically acclaimed.

Rating:  B+.