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Author Topic: Movie: Windtalkers  (Read 7437 times)
Rattler
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« on: 20 July 2011, 23:18:40 »
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Just now seeing this movie , wonder on what mindset it was built (2002).

Windtalkers Trailer

Very action driven, and very depressing. No problem to understand where PTSS comes from, in a WWII Pacific (SAIPAN) scenario (follows modified Wikipedia summary):

Quote
World War II Cpl. Joe Enders (Nicolas Cage) is assigned to protect Navajo code talker Pvt. Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach). Sgt. Ox Anderson (Christian Slater) receives a parallel assignment protecting Navajo code talker Pvt. Charlie Whitehorse (Roger Willie).

Yahzee and Whitehorse send and receive coded messages that direct naval fires to Japanese land positions. Enders and Anderson are told that the code talkers may not fall into enemy hands and to kill them if they are captured.

After a beachhead is secured, the Marines come under short fallingh friendly arty fire. Yahzee's radio is destroyed and they are unable to call off the bombardment. Yahzee is disguised as a Japanese soldier and sent behind enemy lines in search of a radio. Yahzee has to kill a Japanese radioman before he can redirect American artillery fire onto the Japanese position.

Yahzee is sent back to headquarters and that night the Marines set up camp in a village that is later attacked. During the fight Anderson, who had been guarding Whitehorse, is decapitated and Whitehorse is about to be captured by the Japanese. Enders sees Whitehorse as he is beaten by the Japanese, runs out of ammo and selects a grenade that killes Whitehorse (he nods permission) and the captive Japanese. Yahzee returns to the front-line and, after learning that Enders killed Whitehorse, attempts to shoot him in turn.

The Marines are then ambushed near a minefield, yet are able to fight their way out to a ridge. Yahzee and Enders are shot as they both attempt to retrieve the radio to direct naval fires on eny psoitions. Enders manages to carry Yahzee to safety after taking a shot in the chest. With his last breath Enders confesses he hated having to kill Whitehorse, yet had to protect the code.

Back in the U.S., Yahzee, his wife and son sit on top of the John Ford's Point mesa in Monument Valley, Arizona, and perform the Navajo ritual of paying respects to the man who saved his life.


One of the movies that I wont forget.

Rattler
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« Reply #1 on: 20 July 2011, 23:46:49 »
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Really?
I thought Cages character was over acted and somewhat of the stereotypical American cartoon marine and would rate it as his worst performance ever, the story of the Navajo code talkers was one worth telling yet some how in true Hollywood fashion the story got hijacked by explosions and flag waving moralistic clap trap.
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Rattler
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« Reply #2 on: 21 July 2011, 18:01:15 »
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I see it from a different POV:

I am quite an emphatic person (interestingly so as I am suffering from a mild Asperger syndrome, same as my father) which means I can easily put myself in other peoples boots and "imagine" their emotional conflicts. This aspect is well served by the movie.

Of course I realize it is not "realistic" (just look at the hand grenade explosions, they produce a mix of a molotov cocktail and a 120mm mortar impact, nothing like the real thing), but for me that´s not the point I am referring to:

Imagining myself in a situation Sgt. Enders faces (in RL of course) makes me cringe up and down, rolls up my foot nails and has me trembling.

There was one movie about a Russkie in Afghanistan (which I did not see from start so I have no clue about the title) that also is unforgettable as it was showing the different angles of this war from all sides (the protagonist, e.g. got saved from the killing all his tanker team (?) suffered by falling back on a phrase someone had taught him in Pashto that "obliged" his antagonist to save his life; also, as he was muslim, it depicted the inherent racism within the soviet forces deployed over there; Should anybody have an idea what movie I am talking about I would be really greatful), again, because it was all around "one tank" (in the end), mixed with the history of the tank commander who was an ace Nazi tank killer as kid in WWII and made it easy to follow the suffering the protagonists from all sides went through.

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...flag waving moralistic clap trap...

Yes indeed, but then that was what the times were (?) like, probably the most realistic aspect of the movie from my POV apart from the hisotry of the Navajo specialists.

Quote
...Cages character was over acted and somewhat of the stereotypical American cartoon marine and would rate it as his worst performance ever...

Right to a certain extent for the first part, but this is a movie, not a docu.

Personally I dont know how to present the emotional turmoil of the "veteran" responsible for the "rookie" within the orders set better, I seem to be able to see the idea of how the director imagined the Vietnam or Iraq parallels (this movie was made in 2001-2002) and Cage acting them out.

Here a first hand report form one of the Marines in Vietnam, seeing the movie it kind of comes alive, from a recent article of a PTSD suffering Vietnam veteran titled "The Demons of War are Persistent":

Quote
We transferred to a converted WWII aircraft carrier, which carried helicopters not jet planes, to transverse the coast of Vietnam to deploy by helicopter into combat zones from the DMZ, DaNang and the outer fringes of Saigon.

Within sight of land, we heard the roar of artillery and the familiar crackling of small arms fire. We loaded into helicopters to descend into the confrontation. With ambivalence, we assured ourselves that we were young, invincible warriors eager to engage in the battle. Indoctrinated in training, we knew the South Vietnamese people needed us, as we found many of them did. Our mission was to save the lives of the innocent and banish the enemy into Hell.

The helicopters plunged from their soaring formation to hover a few feet off the ground where we nervously leapt, some fell, into the midst of heated battle. The enemy was ready and sprung a deadly assault upon us. I was unaware that was the moment my psyche began to change, as I became engrossed in the shock, fear and 'adrenaline rush' of battle.

It was surreal! Nevertheless, not the time to ponder the finality of killing another human being, the sight of friends shot dead, the rationale behind the illusionary ethics of war, or absorbing the inherent fury of men slaughtering one another. Nor, was it time to grapple with the thoughts of Demon seeds being sown.

When the killing ceased and the enemy withdrew, I remained motionless, exhausted from the fighting. With only a moment to think about what occurred, shock, hate and anger surrendered to the gratitude of being alive. However, time was not a luxury. I had to find out which brothers did or did not survive. As I turned to view the combat zone, I witnessed the reality of war; dreams, friendships and plans are fleeting thoughts for combatants.

We knelt beside our brothers, some dead, many wounded and screaming in pain — while a few lay silently dying. As I moved about the carnage, I noticed a lifeless body, face down, and twisted abnormally in jungle debris. I pulled him gently from the tangled lair, unaware of the warrior I had found. Masked in blood and shattered bones, I was overwhelmed with disgust and primal obsession for revenge, as I realized the warrior was my mentor, hero and friend.

I shouted at him, as if he were alive: "Gunny you can't be dead, you fought in WWII, and Korea. Wake up! Wake up Marine; I need you to fight beside me!" Tears flowed down my face as I held him close and whispered he would not be forgotten. I placed him gently in a "body bag", and slowly pulled the zipper closed above his face, engulfing him in darkness.

Now, it might sound cartoon stereotype, but its probably the way it was, then and then.

FWIW...,

Rattler
« Last Edit: 22 July 2011, 00:25:34 by Rattler » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: 21 July 2011, 18:41:10 »
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I believe the movie you are looking for the title to is..."The Beast".

FYI, there are only 2 Windtalkers still alive, having just lost one earlier this year.

I would have much preferred an actor of substance (Johnny Depp,Christian Bale) to have played Cage's part, for he is truly too lightweight to carry such a heavy role. I would have also preferred they made the central character(s) the Windtalkers themselves, as theirs was the true story of patriotism. Even though treated as second class citizens in their own country, they rose to the call to defend her none the less. Therein lies the heart of this story, and as Monty so accurately points out, was lost in the Hollywood translation. I am glad however, that this little known piece of history was recognized and allowed to see the light of day, regardless of the poor execution. I can only hope that one day it will be retold/remade, in a way that does justice to these men and recognizes the debt owed by my nation to their memory.
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« Reply #4 on: 21 July 2011, 19:18:16 »
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I agree on Matts take on this.
A better example IMHO is Clint Eastwoods movie, flags of our fathers in which the indian marine suffers with his consience.

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« Reply #5 on: 22 July 2011, 00:18:24 »
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I believe the movie you are looking for the title to is..."The Beast".

Indeed, I followd your guess and it is the movie. One of the most impressive I have ever seen, and somehow the one war movie that has left the deepest imprint on my brain (meaning that after just seen 2/3 of it I can almost recall all scenes and dialogues 20 yrs later, even remember the moment I saw it and stuck to the tele (0400 at morning), mesmerized).

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, the German title (we were shown it in 1990 or so, after the end of Cold war) is "Nanawatai".

Now even found the soundtrack (last song in the movie that also got stuck):

The Beast of War OST (Mark Isham) - Nanawatai 5


Sorry for hijacking the thread,

Rattler
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MontyB
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« Reply #6 on: 22 July 2011, 02:18:27 »
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I believe the movie you are looking for the title to is..."The Beast".

FYI, there are only 2 Windtalkers still alive, having just lost one earlier this year.

I would have much preferred an actor of substance (Johnny Depp,Christian Bale) to have played Cage's part, for he is truly too lightweight to carry such a heavy role. I would have also preferred they made the central character(s) the Windtalkers themselves, as theirs was the true story of patriotism. Even though treated as second class citizens in their own country, they rose to the call to defend her none the less. Therein lies the heart of this story, and as Monty so accurately points out, was lost in the Hollywood translation. I am glad however, that this little known piece of history was recognized and allowed to see the light of day, regardless of the poor execution. I can only hope that one day it will be retold/remade, in a way that does justice to these men and recognizes the debt owed by my nation to their memory.


I am not sure about Johnny Depp in the role either but I certain did not think Cage was right for the role, to me the whole movie deteriorated into the story of Cages character and his battles with his own personal demons oh and there were some Indians involved as well but we hid their story behind lots of explosions.

I agree entirely that the story should have been based around the code talkers with all others being support roles, I think it would be great to see the story remade in the way you describe.
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« Reply #7 on: 24 October 2011, 20:27:11 »
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I found this article in the Marine Corps Times, it might shed some extra light.

Quote
Warrior’s words: Last of Code Talkers speaks

Chester Nez is the last of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers. All the rest of the Marines who created the first unbreakable code that baffled the Japanese during World War II have died.

Nez has been asked to tell his own story many times. When he tells it in English, he refers to pre-written answers his family keeps on a sheet of notebook paper. The questions are almost always the same.

When his memory fails him — at 90, Nez is now an old man — he looks off into the distance. […]


Read more: Warrior’s words: Last of Code Talkers speaks

The article also presents some of the code used, in a quotation:

Quote
The Navajo Code Talker alphabet

A. "Wol-la-chee," Ant.

B. "Shush," Bear.

C. "Moasi," Cat.

D. "Be," Deer.

E. "Dzeh," Elk.

F. "Ma-e," Fox.

G. "Klizzie," Goat.

H. "Lin," Horse.

I. "Tkin," Ice.

J. "Tkele-cho-gi," Jackass.

K. "Klizzie-yazzie," Kid.

L. "Dibeh-yazzie," Lamb.

M. "Na-as-tsosi," Mouse.

N. "Nesh-chee," Nut.

O. "Ne-ahs-jah," Owl.

P. "Bi-sodih," Pig.

Q. "Ca-yeilth," Quiver.

R. "Gah," Rabbit.

S. "Dibeh," Sheep.

T. "Than-zie," Turkey.

U. "No-da-ih," Ute.

V. "A-keh-di-glini," Victor.

W. "Gloe-ih," Weasel.

X. "Al-an-as-dzoh," Cross.

Y. "Tsah-as-zih," Yucca.

Z. "Besh-do-gliz," Zinc.

Source: Sally McClain, "Navajo Weapon."


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