DVD review: Olympus Has Fallen

posted at 9:31 am on August 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) finds himself kicked out of the presidential protection detail after rescuing the President (Aaron Eckhart) from a car accident, but failing to get the First Lady (a cameo by Ashley Judd).  When a terrorist army seizes the White House, though, Banning runs to the firefight and finds himself in the middle of a global tug-of-war. Can Banning rescue the President’s son, free the President himself, and stop the terrorists before they turn America into a nuclear wasteland of famine and desperation?

Olympus Has Fallen had originally been on my list of films to see before my sudden assignment to Vatican City in March interrupted my mostly-regular cinema visits. Fortunately, the Blu-Ray/DVD was released about ten days ago.  Thanks to a week’s prep for a routine but rather unpleasant medical test (which turned out entirely fine), I didn’t get to the cinema this week either, and figured I’d catch up with this film.

The trailer promised action, and Olympus Has Fallen robustly delivers on that promise.   The action looks realistic, and the assault reasonably well planned enough to get over the massive suspension of disbelief it requires to have the audience buy the sacking of the White House.  Butler gives a good performance as a Special Forces-turned-Secret Service agent, and Rick Yune offers another as the malevolent terrorist leader Kang.  While certain aspects of the film are predictable, the execution is first-rate, and OHF keeps the audience riveted at all times.

The plot, however, has its problems.  Unfortunately, to discuss that, it’s necessary to reveal critical plot points, so anyone interested in that critical analysis should read past my final rating.  Otherwise, stop there. In this genre, plot holes really are secondary to action anyway, and the film is enjoyable enough that viewers will keep watching even while offering oh come ons with increasing frequency.

The film is well cast, but as with most action films, character development isn’t necessarily a priority.  Radha Mitchell plays Banning’s wife, but like the President’s son (Finley Jacobsen), she’s more of a plot device than a part of the story.  Michelle Leo makes the most of her role as Secretary of Defense, but Morgan Freeman seems a bit befuddled as the Speaker of the House who suddenly becomes acting President.  Angela Bassett mainly exists to assure everyone just how awesome Banning is.  Eckhart rises above the material as President, while Dylan McDermott plays against type as Forbes, Banning’s old colleague who has some interesting new friends.  Viewers will have a difficult time figuring out who anyone else is, especially the Vice President (Phil Austin), who is so inconsequential that you’re not sure if you’ve ever heard from him. Other than Kang, there isn’t an interesting character at all among the terrorists.

We can nit-pick the characters and the plot all day long, but the key question is this: Is Olympus Has Fallen entertaining?  The answer is a definite yes. Olympus Has Fallen is a good popcorn flick and a fun way to pass a couple of hours.  It’s not Hamlet, and it doesn’t try to be, either, nor is it an application for Mensa or an entrance exam for the Secret Service. It’s just fun, and a chance to root for the good guys. Get ready to cheer — but just don’t think too much about it when you do.

We can’t use the usual rating system for films already out of the theaters, so let’s use this:

  • 4 – Buy the Blu-Ray/DVD
  • 3 – Worth a rental price or pay-per-view
  • 2 – Wait for it to come on a TV channel you already get
  • 1 – Avoid at all costs

On that scale, Olympus Has Fallen earns a 3. There’s no reason to add it to your library, but the fun you’ll have is worth the cost of the rental or PPV.

Olympus Has Fallen is rated R for lots of violence and some realistic bad language.  It’s not for children or younger teens, as the violence is very realistic and gory at times.

If you’re interested in the plot issues, keep reading — otherwise, keep scrolling down to the comments.

 

 

 

 

Some spoilers below.

The plot of Olympus Has Fallen has enough holes to … well, to allow a terrorist army into the White House.  There are several, but let’s hit three of the biggest.

First, the terrorists have coordinated air and ground fire, strategically placed armored or large vehicles, heavy weapons, and what looks like a hundred people on the ground (the movie later says 40), along with the infiltrated terrorists in a South Korean diplomatic detachment.  That would take millions and millions of dollars, which might make sense if the villains came from the Middle East, but doesn’t if they’re from desperately impoverished North Korea — especially if, as the film implies, they don’t have any connection to the DPRK government. We wouldn’t catch wind of that kind of movement of assets?  Next, the Speaker of the House as acting President (Morgan Freeman) is willing to give up South Korea to save the life of the President and secure a “Cerberus” system that would render our ICBMs useless, but that’s hardly realistic.  We’re not going to trade South Korea and millions of deaths just to save a hostaged President.

Finally, the Cerberus system is supposed to be a super-secret nuclear fail-safe that allows the US to self-destruct an accidentally released nuclear ICBM, accessible only to the President and two other people.  I’d guess that we have self-destructs on a much lower level than that, but that’s not the real gaffe here.  Self-destructs by definition deal with blowing up rockets, not detonating the nuclear warheads, which would defeat the purpose of a self-destruct.  Nuclear warheads have to be armed for a purposeful launch, but would be unarmed and safed while sitting in the silos.  See here for a brief explanation of safing and arming. No one just leaves nukes armed, especially not the US, and nukes have to be detonated very precisely. An explosion underneath the device won’t do it.  Setting off the Cerberus system with ICBMs in the ground wouldn’t arm the warheads — a self-destruct fail-safe would hardly include that command — so blowing them up in the silos wouldn’t create a nuclear wasteland.  It would destroy the silos and kill a lot of people who work in and around them, and there could be some leakage of the nuclear material, but it wouldn’t produce the outcome the film seems to assume.  Whoever wrote this doesn’t have a good grasp of how nuclear weapons and self-destructs work, and apparently didn’t bother to find out.


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Comment pages: 1 2

I was a little surprised that the bridge drowning of the presidents wife wasn’t later linked to the attack in some way.

sharrukin on August 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM

My reaction, too. I anticipated that tie-in right up until the end of the film, only to never see it occur.

Lourdes on August 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

My reaction, too. I anticipated that tie-in right up until the end of the film, only to never see it occur.

Lourdes on August 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

I actually liked that because far too many movies these days are all too predictable, so that was at least interesting. As someone mentioned above, I will start to be impressed when the terrorists are Muslim.

sharrukin on August 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM

anyone else think the Sec of Defense was suppose to be Hillary?

unseen on August 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

No. Hillary would have given up the code without a fight and then asked for a campaign contribution.

Oldnuke on August 25, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Not really. Starts out in a boxing ring between him and his Secret Service guy.

Can you see our current pantywaist-in-chief in that scenario? I doubt if that punk was ever in a fistfight.

Cleombrotus on August 25, 2013 at 10:41 AM

The One got elbowed during a pickup game of hoops…apparently had to get stitches too. Although 16 stitches seemed a bit much.

JetBoy on August 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Didn’t / won’t see it, but to the plot holes:

One thing has always bothered me about these ‘Single bad-ass cop’ movies starting, really with “The Last Boy Scout”, and on through this thing is:

If John McClane is such a bad-ass…yet he’s just an ‘Ordinary NY cop’ and this guy is just a ‘Regular old non-uni Secret Service agent’ …. Then how did the bad guys get past all those other cops?

Cuz…If John McClane is a ‘regular-guy’ Cop….shouldn’t there be, like, 50 or so of these guys sitting around on the inner perimeter of any of these events? And if one guy can take out a group of intl terrorists…would 50 of them be able to secure, say, the entire US/Mexico Border in an hour or two?

a5minmajor on August 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM

If they hadn’t stolen Vince Flynn’s work and instead actually made a film of his material, Olympus Has Fallen would have been a much better movie.

When you start trying to cover the fact that you’ve stolen a story by changing it here and there, plot holes develop very quickly.

AScott on August 25, 2013 at 12:58 PM

This movie was awful. The movie didn’t make me care about what would happen. Bad acting too. Stopped watching 1/3 of the way through. Thank God I didn’t pay for it. I imagine the Tatum/Foxx version is worse, somehow.

Free Constitution on August 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM

One thing I’ve learned to hate over the years is that countdown at the end that always ends up with 2 or 3 seconds until total destruction. Just once I’d like to see the WMD get disarmed with an hour and a half left on the timer.

Oldnuke on August 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Ed, I’m worried about you. I’d rather have a route canal than see that garbage again. That was1:40 of my life I’ll never get back.

simkeith on August 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Oldnuke on August 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

I watched Escape From New York last night, and I was thinking the same thing. Sure enough, once Snake gets out and saved, he looks at the countdown clock and he had…2 seconds to spare. Of course that was 30 years ago so it was merely a tired cliche instead of thoroughly beaten death.

Flange on August 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM

By the way this film makes” Snakes on a Plane” look like Shakespeare by comparison.

simkeith on August 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM

I have no interest in this movie or the other one that came out about the same time of the White House being attacked.

Kaptain Amerika on August 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

I just watched this a couple of nights ago. I cringed a lot.

I’m an active duty army officer stationed in the D.C. area (20 years in to date) and the entire attack is impossible for numerous reasons, none of which I can tell you about, but rest assured something like this could never happen successfully in D.C.

I get it, it’s an action movie. But if you’re in “the know” it’s hard to watch without shaking your head and chuckling a lot.

CVMA-Dredd on August 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Just once I’d like to see the WMD get disarmed with an hour and a half left on the timer.

Oldnuke on August 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

I said the same thing above. It’s become a joke. You would think at this point hollywood who is out of ideas would at least once let the countdown go to zero and the blow up the entire movie at the end.

unseen on August 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Of course that was 30 years ago so it was merely a tired cliche instead of thoroughly beaten death.

Flange on August 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM

yeap. Say6 a skit on SNL once with Mcgrubber or somethng like that where he is trying to disarm the bomb and he starts B.Sing and the bomb blows up in his face. when SNL starts making skits about it you know it’s way past its prime.

I understand the “suspense” angle but it could be done better with say having a countdown clock on only by saving a certain person can the bomb be disarmed. then itbecomes a race not against time but against saving the person. Or something like that.

unseen on August 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM

unseen on August 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM

As bad as the “in the nick of time” save is is the use of amnesia. If, as a writer, a person needs amnesia to make their story work, then I recommend a new jobs that doesn’t require an imagination.

Flange on August 25, 2013 at 2:29 PM

O/T but concerns our “institutions”. Did anyone see this over at Instapundit?

Cindy Munford on August 25, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Oldnuke on August 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM

I watched Escape From New York last night, and I was thinking the same thing. Sure enough, once Snake gets out and saved, he looks at the countdown clock and he had…2 seconds to spare. Of course that was 30 years ago so it was merely a tired cliche instead of thoroughly beaten death.

Flange on August 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Did you see GALAXY QUEST? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0177789/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 Scene where the “Omega Machine” that “no one knows what it does” or something like that, anyway, counts down to 2 or 1 second before total destruction of everything and stops and the lady screams out, “why does it always wait until one second before…”

Lourdes on August 25, 2013 at 2:48 PM

I get it, it’s an action movie. But if you’re in “the know” it’s hard to watch without shaking your head and chuckling a lot.

CVMA-Dredd on August 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM

This same thing can be said about any movie by anyone who actually understands what they are fictionalizing. One of my favorites is when some guy says “Take the reactor to 115% power!” I always laugh and say “Why?” I get a lot of stares when I do that I mean it’s obvious, no?” Cause that will make you go faster….

Oldnuke on August 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM

I get it, it’s an action movie. But if you’re in “the know” it’s hard to watch without shaking your head and chuckling a lot.

CVMA-Dredd on August 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Heh. Even if you’re not “in the know”.

Cleombrotus on August 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

To all of you complaining about it being predictable, impossible etc. , get a life and read a book. It was a fun action movie, realistic or not! And as far as someone in the “service” saying it’s not possible…history is full of such observations and there are plenty of grave sites throughout the world that prove the arrogance of man. The Titanic comes to mind. That being said, you go to the movies to be entertained, not over analyze what is possible! Later.

whsiii on August 25, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Gee, Ed – why didn’t you just review: “the sharpness in the crease of Obama’s pants.”?

The only way I want to see this movie is if every character in this movie dies horribly……beginning with Morgan Freeman’s character………as they all scream “RAAAAAAACIST!!”

williamg on August 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM

You only think this one is bad until you see White House Down with Jamie Foxx….

rgranger on August 25, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Morgan Freeman is a racist and I won’t waste a minute of my life watching anything where I have to watch him.

MMinCanonCity on August 25, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Lourdes on August 25, 2013 at 2:48 PM

LOVE Galaxy Quest! Great parody of the Star Trek series!

dominigan on August 25, 2013 at 7:37 PM

I enjoyed the film, but yeah — the typical insult-to-my-intelligence presentation of what the filmmaker takes for sophisticated systems but which are really risibly implausable, stupid, and . . . whatever.

I’ve never understood why films can’t be both educational AND entertaining. Put a little effort into plausibility. Don’t just settle for something that’ll get by in the script on the mere grounds that the public won’t be smart enough to know the difference or care.

The films that do best don’t need to always be plausible (Inception). But they do need to be smart and show some effort.

Oh yeah — and the whole “OK, you have us over a barrel because you’ll kill the president. So we’ll do whatever you say, even if it jeopardizes the country” thing is just SO stupid. I mean, please.

rasqual on August 25, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Ed, first you want to regularly patronize the cesspool that is Hollywood and pump out reviews here on the site.

Then you want to try and convince us that a piece of anti-family liberal tripe is actually a movie promoting conservative values.

And now you want us to believe that Olympus Has Fallen is actually a good movie.

I’m really starting to worry about you, Ed.

Shump on August 25, 2013 at 8:34 PM

I tire of plots where the president must be rescued at all costs like he’s the last possible person on earth that can be president. There’s a reason we have some 12 (13-14?) people in line to replace the president if need be. That these super-terrorists have an intimate knowledge of a secret ICBM program but dont understand civics 101 is annoying to no end.

Nutstuyu on August 25, 2013 at 8:48 PM

That these super-terrorists have an intimate knowledge of a secret ICBM program but dont understand civics 101 is annoying to no end.

Nutstuyu on August 25, 2013 at 8:48 PM

Well it’s only a movie. On the other hand we have 100 senators and several hundred representatives who don’t understand civics 101 and couldn’t pour p!$$ out of a boot with directions written on the heel, not even gonna mention the jug-eared white house resident. These people are supposed to be actually, “You know” (to quote Caroline Kennedy) running the country.

Oldnuke on August 25, 2013 at 8:53 PM

I agree, that role wasn’t well developed but perhaps that’s what the script was going for to emphasize Gerard Butler’s “alpha” role. In which case it wasn’t entirely successful because it just made “the President” look a bit two-dimensional.

Lourdes on August 25, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Which is still double the dimension of the real-life one.

Nutstuyu on August 25, 2013 at 9:05 PM

I said the same thing above. It’s become a joke. You would think at this point hollywood who is out of ideas would at least once let the countdown go to zero and the blow up the entire movie at the end.

unseen on August 25, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Now that I’d pay money for. This, no matter how good Ed (or anyone else for that matter, sorry Ed) says it is I’d be so po’d at the end for my lost time.

Blow up everyone at the end – you have a sale!

kim roy on August 25, 2013 at 9:27 PM

That being said, you go to the movies to be entertained, not over analyze what is possible! Later.

whsiii on August 25, 2013 at 5:00 PM

For many of us, it’s hard to be entertained when they produce a movie that requires the total suspension of common knowledge or reality – like violation or total ignorance of the laws of physics.
Is it really asking too much for Hollywood to apply some level of intelligence of the real world when they make a movie?

dentarthurdent on August 25, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Blow up everyone at the end – you have a sale!

kim roy on August 25, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Yep, like this from one of the last real movie makers.

Oldnuke on August 25, 2013 at 11:31 PM

I was happy you reviewed this particular movie, because now I can pitch a new one to you:

An everyday guy, say from Down-Under, a Crocodile Dundee type, comes to the USA to pursue his happiness and everything is going great. Life is really good – no, really, really good, which gives the audience pause, because no one’s life should be that good. Then, just then, he jogs past people whose lives aren’t good – nay, they’re bored! – and well, the race is on. Heh: race.

The Runner From Down Under is is targeted, then shot and killed based on the fact that, dammit, American youth are bored and, you know, gunz and stuff. Oh, and racism.

Let us call it Crocodile Dundee 4: Welcome to ‘Murica.

King B on August 25, 2013 at 11:47 PM

That movie had more WTF moments than most sci-fi B movies. But it was worth watching.

The Rogue Tomato on August 26, 2013 at 12:27 AM

The only way I want to see this movie is if every character in this movie dies horribly……beginning with Morgan Freeman’s character………as they all scream “RAAAAAAACIST!!”

williamg on August 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Same here.
If this movie were being made during a Republican administration… well, a conservative Republican administration, the people in the White House would be portrayed as the bad guys.

Besides, why see a movie where the White House is destroyed(or almost destroyed, or whatever) when we have a tyrant in there doing that exact thing.

Sterling Holobyte on August 26, 2013 at 12:37 AM

I have no interest in this movie or the other one that came out about the same time of the White House being attacked.

Kaptain Amerika on August 25, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Exactly. Now all of a sudden we are supposed to care what happens to the lecherous cretins in the White House.

Sterling Holobyte on August 26, 2013 at 12:42 AM

Ed, I’m worried about you. I’d rather have a route canal than see that garbage again. That was1:40 of my life I’ll never get back.

simkeith on August 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Agreed. This movie is horrible. The action is fine, if you’re okay with seeing highly trained secret service agents step out from behind a huge chunk of marble to battle automatic weapon wielding terrorists in open ground using only their sidearms. And do it by the dozen.

I can’t stand seeing highly trained agents/special forces dying in insanely stupid ways in movies. It’s aggravating.

****small spoiler alert****
Wasn’t it neat how the super gatling gun could be used against the Navy Seal helicopters, but for some reason was unavailable to use against the terrorist’s C-130?
****end small spoiler alert****

strictnein on August 26, 2013 at 3:02 AM

I watched the DVD this weekend too. It was pure entertainment………….. and off the scale of any kind of believably, as are so many of the movies that are produced these days.

I just finished reading Bill O’Reilly’s book “The Killing of Kennedy”. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading a great book about the assassination on November 22, 1963. O’Reilly does not buy into the idea that there was a conspiracy in the assassination. But everyone will hold their own view on that issue, no matter what.

SC.Charlie on August 26, 2013 at 6:40 AM

I’m on a limited crap diet, so I’m not seeing any movies this year.

claudius on August 26, 2013 at 8:38 AM

Whoever wrote this doesn’t have a good grasp of how nuclear weapons and self-destructs work, and apparently didn’t bother to find out.

So, they had Code Pink or that nun as technical advisor? Or some other liberal weenie? That right there makes me not want to see the movie.

GWB on August 26, 2013 at 9:01 AM

I refuse to watch any movie that steals plot lines from a book w/o giving them credit. Too bad Vince Flynn died. He had a great case to sue those who made Olymus Has Fallen.

Ed read Transfer of Power then give another review of this movie.

Conservative4Ever on August 26, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Nutstuyu on August 25, 2013 at 8:48 PM

I tire of plots where the president must be rescued at all costs like he’s the last possible person on earth that can be president.

Exactly. President is a title, not a person. I can understand foreign terrorists not getting it but movies like this emphasize the error to Americans.

Bad guy – We’ve captured the President.
VP – No. I’m now the President. You do have an American citizen. We can start talking about your surrender.

I know, not a very exciting movie.

yongoro on August 26, 2013 at 10:11 AM

I just wanna put in a word for ‘The Grey’, with Liam Neeson.
Surprisingly non-formulaic, refreshingly original – and gripping.

verbaluce on August 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

We’re not going to trade South Korea and millions of deaths just to save a hostaged President.

WE WOULD IF IT WERE OBAMA!
SagebrushPuppet on August 25, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Ditto that. Ed must have failed to give this comment any significant thought.

First, Obama, if anything, is NOT a martyr.

Secondly, Boehner could never withstand the onslaught of political pressure and associated inner-city rioting that would occur just at the thought of NOT trading South Korea for THE ONE.

Carnac on August 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

I just wanna put in a word for ‘The Grey’, with Liam Neeson.
Surprisingly non-formulaic, refreshingly original – and gripping.

verbaluce on August 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

ooh, that was a good movie. Creepy and powerful. When it was over, we just sat there thinking about it. That doesn’t happen after most movies.

cptacek on August 26, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Didn’t / won’t see it, but to the plot holes:

One thing has always bothered me about these ‘Single bad-ass cop’ movies starting, really with “The Last Boy Scout”, and on through this thing is:

If John McClane is such a bad-ass…yet he’s just an ‘Ordinary NY cop’ and this guy is just a ‘Regular old non-uni Secret Service agent’ …. Then how did the bad guys get past all those other cops?

Cuz…If John McClane is a ‘regular-guy’ Cop….shouldn’t there be, like, 50 or so of these guys sitting around on the inner perimeter of any of these events? And if one guy can take out a group of intl terrorists…would 50 of them be able to secure, say, the entire US/Mexico Border in an hour or two?

a5minmajor on August 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Wasn’t he a Navy Seal or something before joining the Secret Service?

cptacek on August 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM

****small spoiler alert****
Wasn’t it neat how the super gatling gun could be used against the Navy Seal helicopters, but for some reason was unavailable to use against the terrorist’s C-130?
****end small spoiler alert****

strictnein on August 26, 2013 at 3:02 AM

Is it really asking too much for Hollywood to apply some level of intelligence of the real world when they make a movie?

dentarthurdent on August 25, 2013 at 10:21 PM

I once attended a screening of one of the earlier STAR TREK films with two friends, one an engineer and the other one a physicist. Talk about laughter and irritation at the screen, all at one time, from both.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Nah, I’ll pass.
A full scale company-sized assault on the White House stopped by one man. Bruce Willis did this in Die Hard, although not the White House, 25+ years ago against much better bad guys with better hair.

Besides isn’t the White House a gun free zone? Taking firearms there or throughout most of DC is illegal anyways.

I’d rather see Europa.

FOR A GREAT FLICK SEE: VOYAGE TO THE PLANETS by the BBC.

Bubba Redneck on August 26, 2013 at 2:47 PM

I once attended a screening of one of the earlier STAR TREK films with two friends, one an engineer and the other one a physicist. Talk about laughter and irritation at the screen, all at one time, from both.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Yeah but there’s Spock and Bones-I-am-not-__________-I’m-a-doctor and in the original series hot babes. Did I mention hot babes.

Bubba Redneck on August 26, 2013 at 2:51 PM

****small spoiler alert****
Wasn’t it neat how the super gatling gun could be used against the Navy Seal helicopters, but for some reason was unavailable to use against the terrorist’s C-130?
****end small spoiler alert****

strictnein on August 26, 2013 at 3:02 AM

Is it really asking too much for Hollywood to apply some level of intelligence of the real world when they make a movie?

dentarthurdent on August 25, 2013 at 10:21 PM

I once attended a screening of one of the earlier STAR TREK films with two friends, one an engineer and the other one a physicist. Talk about laughter and irritation at the screen, all at one time, from both.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Scripts aren’t written by experts in the field the scripts attempt to create story in…and if they were, the films made would be whiteboards or those things you saw in college or at the dreaded “seminar” afterward.

I mean, when you see “entertainment” media, anything out of Hollywood, even documentaries it appears, they’re not made by experts in the relative fields they’re addressing. You won’t see a group of surgeons making a film about a crooked surgeon who thinks he’s God, in other words, or “rocket scientists” (misnomer now a colloquialism) making a film about NASA financial irregularities righted by a rogue housewife returned to service as a cop undercover, so to speak.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 2:52 PM

We saw this at the movies and we all loved it, especially Gerard Butler’s character’s interrogation methods.

The only part I had a quibble with was how they set up the POTUS to be physically fit and tough, yet never used that in his actions. In fact, I thought he was weak during the standard “give us the code or we’ll kill …” parts. Isn’t the POTUS supposed to be strong enough to save the many over the one or the few (as Spock once said)?

It was also a bit of s stretch to see so many Secret Service guys running blindly out of the building just to get killed. One would think that their training is better than that.

But fun movie and we did get it on Amazon to watch again.

Common Sense on August 26, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Forgot to add that I’ve adored Gerard Butler for many years. I think he’s a fine actor, see Dear Frankie, and very attractive. I like how his personal business is almost never in the tabloids, shows that he’s a gentleman as well.

Common Sense on August 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

I mean, when you see “entertainment” media, anything out of Hollywood, even documentaries it appears, they’re not made by experts in the relative fields they’re addressing. You won’t see a group of surgeons making a film about a crooked surgeon who thinks he’s God, in other words, or “rocket scientists” (misnomer now a colloquialism) making a film about NASA financial irregularities righted by a rogue housewife returned to service as a cop undercover, so to speak.

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 2:52 PM

But they can, and sometimes do hire technical consultants to try to get things right.
And I’m not complaining about sci-fi movies (as much) – I can go along with a lot of things when it’s clearly sci-fi or fantasy.
But why do they always have to show ZERO understanding of the laws of physics. Like in Armageddon (which I liked for the most part) when they “pull 15 g’s under full thrust going around the moon”… gravity / physics / orbital mechanics just don’t work that way (I was an orbital analyst in the USAF – so those failures bug me).
How about some creativity in getting the plot line to work within the laws of physics?

dentarthurdent on August 26, 2013 at 4:03 PM

OHF is awesome

20 years ago Gerard Butler would have been Steven Seagal and I would be highly entertained. I miss badass movies.

Opinionnation on August 26, 2013 at 7:31 PM

I think Morgan Freeman just reads the same crappy script in every movie in which he appears, and does so in the same VISA commercial-like inflection just enough to annoy me every time.

Pass…

dpduq on August 27, 2013 at 12:47 AM

I’m itching to see Kick Ass 2. Hit Girl is the bomb, far as heroes and anti-heroes go.

Liam on August 25, 2013 at 9:45 AM

I’m a huge fan of the first movie. Kick Ass 2 was a hot ass mess. Came out of the theater really wishing I had seen another movie instead.

Pale Rider on August 27, 2013 at 9:39 AM

Lourdes on August 26, 2013 at 2:52 PM

But they can, and sometimes do hire technical consultants to try to get things right.
And I’m not complaining about sci-fi movies (as much) – I can go along with a lot of things when it’s clearly sci-fi or fantasy.
But why do they always have to show ZERO understanding of the laws of physics. Like in Armageddon (which I liked for the most part) when they “pull 15 g’s under full thrust going around the moon”… gravity / physics / orbital mechanics just don’t work that way (I was an orbital analyst in the USAF – so those failures bug me).
How about some creativity in getting the plot line to work within the laws of physics?

dentarthurdent on August 26, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Yes, all screenwriters, directors, producers, when need-be, do hire technical advisers.

But film is still made on the cuff or off it, I should say, in most cases, after all is setup and orchestrated. Directors tear out script pages all the time to accommodate their “vision” as to production (expenses, technical contraints or possibilities, etc.) and often toss screenwriters off the set because they don’t want to hear from them about the script and any “deviations from the page” or outright new material invented by directors on the spot (not in the script).

This happens all.the.time and it’s not the technical advisers who make the movies. My original point, there.

Really, films are the product or at least responsibility of the directors who make them. They take cinematic and story leaps all the time because it’s what they want to see, like showing ‘wormholes’ from Earth to the Andromeda Strain when they need to bring a crew of Earth people out of hibernation only to show them leaping on gym equipment soon afterward. Presto, no physical limitations, no negative conditions experienced, all of them bounding out of their beds because…because…wormhole!

Same applies to all technical and story issues, artillery, war tactics, human psychology, financial arrangements, resources, etc.: it all comes down to the director’s imagination and decisions made to alter reality to accommodate what he or she prefers (preferences vs. reality or realism).

Lourdes on August 27, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Aaron Eckhart’s best performance was in the film adaptation of Christopher Buckley’s Thank You For Smoking where he portrayed Nick Naylor.
Murphy9 on August 25, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Agreed. That is a great movie.

strictnein on August 27, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Lourdes on August 27, 2013 at 1:41 PM

I understand all that. And like I said, when a movie is sci-fi or fantasy I can go along with more.
But I do think Hollywood’s constant “artistic license” is contributing to the ignorance (or flat out stupidity) of society in general. There are just too many people now who have no idea about basic physics and other sciences (thanks to our lousy education system), and Hollywood sure as he11 doesn’t help matters.
I’ve been saying for awhile now – they may not have intended for Idiocracy to be a documentary, but it sure seems to be getting that way.

dentarthurdent on August 28, 2013 at 12:30 AM

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