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Waay Off Topic - The Movies: DUNKIRK

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  • Waay Off Topic - The Movies: DUNKIRK

    I'll just say right up front that Dunkirk was the worst modern war movie that I've ever seen. Afterwards, my teenage grandson told me that he was thinking, "I sure hope PawPaw is enjoying this movie, 'cause I think it's awful!" And he likes war movies, too, because I've taken him to so many.

    Why were we so disappointed with this flick?

    - Dunkirk, in it's over-all attitude, just does not feel like a war movie. It was essentially the intermixed story of three individuals/groups and how they personally reacted to a stressful situation. And those situations and characters could have been inserted into a Twister sequel and nobody would have noticed.

    - There was no clear expression of the very central characteristic of war: people are trying to kill each other. And the only way to clearly display this horrible expression of human passion is to graphically depict the "enemy." In the entirety of this movie, a German is shown one time, and that was in the last five seconds of the drama. It seemed as if the director's insertion of bombs and bullets - and that eventual shot of the enemy - occurred only in order to remind the audience that, "Hey! In case you forgot, we're doing a war film here."

    - Character development, the one element of movie-making that this director seemed to place emphasis on, was sparse and largely unsuccessful. The main characters/groups that showed promise of developing into interesting subjects . . . well . . . they just never do. As my grandson observed after the movie, "I can't tell you the name of a single character in that movie." I think that sums up the subject quite vividly.

    - The score was utterly forgettable.

    - There are at least a half dozen more glaring deficiencies, but . . . .

    Does Dunkirk have any redeeming qualities? Yes. To wit:

    - The air combat footage, which was filmed using real aircraft, was marvelous and about as real to life as one may experience in a movie. I.e., lots of boring fly time and scanning the sky interspersed with minutes of pure terror.

    - Sound effects at least as realistic as those in Saving Private Ryan. For the first time, I found myself actually jumping at the sound of bombs and ricochets. Fantastic.

    - First rate audio and camera work. Many of the shots were breathtaking.

    This was our opinion. If any of you think that we've totally missed boat (pun intended) as film critics, I'd love to hear your take on the movie.


  • #2
    Thank you GeeDeeEmm. I am a huge WWII movie fan and appreciate your post and will now wait until it is on free TV.

    I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.


    • #3
      Wow, I just checked and it has an 8.7 on the IMDB, with a fairly even distribution among sexes/ages.

      Hacksaw Ridge has an 8.2. What did you think of HR?


      • #4
        Originally posted by philthien View Post
        Wow, I just checked and it has an 8.7 on the IMDB, with a fairly even distribution among sexes/ages.

        Hacksaw Ridge has an 8.2. What did you think of HR?

        I have Hacksaw Ridge, along with at least six other movies, sitting here on DVD waiting for me to watch them. I typically wait for a fellow WWII hobbyist (who happens to be my best friend and a historian) to drop by and we watch them together. In short, I can't give a review because I haven't watched it, yet.

        May I recommend a movie that really worked for me? "Generation War" is the German equivalent of Band Of Brothers. In my view, it is at least as good as Brothers. It was a series produced for German television, and has subtitles. Like Band Of Brothers, character development is broad and intensive, along with incorporation of total war as an everyday fact of life.

        I have several more that were not "hits" at the box office, but were stunning in their presentation of WWII.



        • #5
          Some of the aerial scenes used real aircraft, but by no means all. They did have the use of three Spits and one close-but-not-quite replica of a 109, but the rest was either CGI or models.


          • #6
            I thought I was the only one that missed the boat here. gdmoore has a point. Watch "Hacksaw Ridge" instead, now showing on HBO.


            • #7
              It was no Saving Private Ryan, but I thought Dunkirk was pretty good. It's not a super emotional or tear-jerker movie as some other war films. Great sound though!

              Between HR and Dunkirk, I would say HR was better.


              • #8
                Originally posted by denton View Post
                I thought I was the only one that missed the boat here. gdmoore has a point. Watch "Hacksaw Ridge" instead, now showing on HBO.
                That is really an outstanding movie. Makes you want to be a better man.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dkalsi View Post
                  ...Between HR and Dunkirk, I would say HR was better.
                  Interesting,,,wasn't impressed with HR

                  "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                  “Pride is your greatest enemy, humility is your greatest friend.”
                  "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gdmoore28 View Post
                    I'll just say right up front that Dunkirk was the worst modern war movie that I've ever seen.

                    Interesting. I disagree, but I didn't go into it expecting a bullets flying war movie, either. I found it slow, yet really intense. I was on the edge of my seat(figuratively) through the entire length of the movie. Overall, I liked it even though I left the theater feeling somewhat stressed.

                    What I found the most interesting was that somewhere about 20-30 minutes into it I noticed something really interesting about the cinematic style of the film, and it occurred to me that it reminded me greatly of Interstellar...only to see the final credits and that Christopher Nolan was the director.

                    What i disliked the most had nothing to do with the film itself, but the theater. Saw at a "Dolby Cinema", which I've kept hearing about as being as good as it gets as far as today's movie theaters. I can't stress enough what an utter disappointment it was, I actually took notes during the movie....
                    1. Subs overdriven, heard more noise coming from them than low bass.
                    2. Overall volume way too loud. There were many instances where the entire system was distorting due to being overdriven...and this is coming from a guy who likes his movies loud. Everyone usually yells at me to turn it down when watching movies at home. My home theater consists of an active, DIY, JBL ScreenArray type system(if that tells you anything about my volume preferences).
                    3. Dialog from center channel unintelligible.
                    4. Image from center way to low, like from under the screen.
                    5. Rattle from the back of the room that was extremely distracting and annoying.

                    I'm actually a commercial A/V integrator, and we've worked with Dolby in the past. In order for a theater to be able to advertise "Dolby", the rooms and systems have to spec'ed, or approved, by Dolby and Dolby themselves have to be hired to come out and setup/tune the system. I'm debating possibly contacting them and asking WTF? It was that bad.

                    Sorry if this is going off just turned into a rant of why I haven't been to a theater in years prior to this. I always leave disappointed. The audio sucks. Picture quality sucks...which brings up another point, and that's that I hate the fact that we have digital projectors and flat panel Ultra HD...blah, blah, blah displays these days capable of outstanding picture quality, but some director wants to express his/her artistic vision and make the image all blurry, grainy, washed out...whatever...arrrrgghh!!!

                    Anyway. I liked the movie.


                    • #11
                      Just watched this movie Saturday night. I give it an F and is there such a thing as a F- ?

                      1) Way too loud
                      2) 400,000 men trapped at Dunkirk and the majority of the movie takes place on the beach with 100 men at at time.
                      3) The first Nazi is not seen until the last five minutes and we can barely see their faces
                      4) Aircraft scenes were good but it was like watching the same scene over and over for two hours
                      5) Hardly any dialog. Just the same two men on a beach/boat looking depressed the whole time

                      I expected the movie to be like the second half of Saving Private Ryan. Hopelessly outgunned fending off a clearly superior force with desperation and fear clearly sinking in. Instead it was the same two men moping on a beach surrounded by 100 men who also say nothing standing in a line staring at an empty sea. Good RAF scenes but overdone quantity-wise. And a fisherman with his two sons that took up 30-40% of screen time. YAWN!

                      It could have been so much more. If you want a good movie I suggest Saving Private Ryan, Tora Tora Tora, The Longest Day, Black Hawk Down, Patton, Schindler's List, etc. I would only buy a copy of this movie at Goodwill for $0.99 to watch it burn in a campfire. Heck even Pearl Harbor (2001) which butchered history and should have been renamed "Love at Pearl Harbor" was a several times more gratifying experience.


                      • #12
                        How did you guys like "The Big Red One?"


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Krillin View Post
                          3) The first Nazi is not seen until the last five minutes and we can barely see their faces
                          That's accurate. The German advance through Holland and Belgium was so fast that they'd outrun their lines of supply, so they had to regroup and resupply before mounting an all out attack. All that remained at Dunkirk when they did was the rear guard, consisting of mostly French forces. The British forces were already back in England by the time the first German troops entered Dunkirk. Churchill sent the Royal Navy back to try to evacuate the remaining French, and 26,000 did escape on the last day, but some 35,000 were captured.

                          The most accurate war movie wasn't a movie, it was the TV mini series 'Band of Brothers'.


                          • #14
                            I have not seen Dunkirk, but read John Kass' column about it yesterday. See what you think...

                            Many words have been written about "Dunkirk," the film by Christopher Nolan about hundreds of thousands of soldiers—most of them British—trapped on that long


                            • #15
                              Remember "Dunkirk" only represented about 40 hours in nearly ten days of slaughter by the Luftwaffe on the beach. MILLIONS of rounds of 8mm MG and 20mm cannon shells were fired into the troops, minesweepers, trawlers, destroyers, not to mention the "little boats". The Stukas (Ju-87's) dropped 480 Kg bombs on the troops and the Ju-88's dropped 8 stick loads of 120 Kg anti-personnel (shrapnel). The Peach Orchard at Gettysburg was only comparable in that you couldn't put your foot on the ground for the body parts. The young boy of 17 that was a hero, was really just past 13 in real-life. More than a hundred troops gathered in an open area are called KIA's or MIA's.

                              The stand-around and wait for hours (days) interspersed with minutes of wet and mess-yourself terror is a foot soldier's stock and trade. The 70mm "IMAX" print we saw was extremely good picture-wise, but I agree the sound, SFX and music score competed with each other being too loud, while the sub-woofers FX for bomb explosions were wasted. The words "dynamic range" were lost on the sound producers.

                              Carl and I felt it was over in what seemed like 30 minutes instead of just under 2 hours. An excellent case of "Leave the audience wanting more".

                              Could it have been better? Yes. Mk I Spits and Mk I and Mk II Hurricanes (flying from French bases), would have been nice. The Roots Blowers on the Merlin engines being by-passed prevented the classic Merlin "whistle". The troops had no gas masks, and the un-equipped (no rifles or helmets) didn't pick-up the dead men's gear and strip them for food, ammo and water (and boots). And there's no "Smell-O-Rama" yet in theaters, thank God.

                              In terms of 21st Century movies, I give it solid 7.8. 40 years ago, I'd given it maybe a 5. Times and tastes change.