Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Inglourious Basterds bring on the noise of the WWII movie

A late summer release is usually not a good indicator of quality in a movie but when it comes to anything by Quentin Tarantino,all bets are off. His new film,Inglourious Basterds,raked in about 40 million at the box office this past weekend and most of the reviews have been positive(word of mouth even more so).

Some might feel that the depiction of WWII here is rather less than reverent,but Tarantino is only paying tribute to the genre of war movies that he likes the best.

The" men on a mission" theme has jumped around as the plot point for many different kinds of action movies over the decades,with war movies being one of the better vehicles to drive it around in. Of course,this being a QT flick,the band of brothers depicted here are naturally a brutal bunch indeed:

While I have no doubt that Inglourious Basterds is a blast and a half,I've always preferred the quieter war related dramas myself. Don't get me wrong,I am the first to appreciate a good battle scene but sometimes the biggest explosions come from battling forces within as well as without.

My kind of war movie is Mrs. Miniver,which starred Greer Garson as the title character for which she won the Best Actress Oscar that year. It's based on a book by Jan Struther that started out as a series of newspaper columns about a housewife living in the English countryside who tries to keep her family's spirits up as the realities of war are slowly creeping into their lives.

While you could argue that certain elements of the movie were designed as propaganda talking points for American involvement in a war that was mostly affecting Europe at the time,it's not the only reason that many people were drawn to this story.

The emotional dramas,such as Mrs. Miniver's son falling in love with the outspoken granddaughter of the local matriarch(Teresa Wright,who also won Best Supporting Actress)and the humble stationmaster entering his rose in the for-the-upper-classes-only flower show,that made up the majority of the movie were the true lures for audiences then and still are to this day:

While the big noisy battlefield type of WWII movie has gotten some well made and received revival over time,the smaller stay at home dramas have been more on the sidelines. The closest I can think of as a Mrs. Miniver type of tale would be Atonement,but even that movie had a solider in the midst of battle subplot,not to mention a rather arthouse approach to the whole genre.

Perhaps in these turbulent times,the sedate and sensitive drama about warfare isn't meant to be found within the realm of WWII based fiction. It might be best found on another genre horizon,closer to home than you think. As they say,only time will tell:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

Everyone in my family is a Tarantino fan but he and a good majority of his movies just freak me out. He does have some really great plots though so I may have to give Inglourious Basterds a try when it comes to Blu-ray.

Mrs. Miniver is on my list of things I need to watch. My favorite war time film is probably For Me and My Gal.