Monday, March 09, 2009

Saving Private Ryan: A Review

Long have I heard "It's the greatest WWII movie ever!!" said of this film.

Truth be told?
It's ten times worse than that inaccurate piece of garbage Braveheart.

The movie starts out on Omaha beach, June 6 1944, we are introduced to Captain John Miller (played by Tom Hanks), a weak Ranger* who is not understood by his men.

After the chaos of the landing has subsided, he is given the task of finding Pvt. James Ryan (Matt Damon), C Company 101st Airborne 501st PIR , a boy from Nebraska who has lost 3 of his brothers in battle within days of each other.
Most of the movie is dedicated to the quest for Ryan.

Lots of boring emotional dialogue and very little fighting make for a weak story line.

In one of the few firefights in the movie, Capt. Miller decides to take a radar station defended by a handful of Germans.
During this battle Miller loses his Medic, who has put his life on the line several times trying to save comrades during the movie.

The Medic's death scene seems to last forever, made worse by the subsequent scene, wherein they find the German who shot him, alive and trying to escape.
Members of Miller's squad catch the German and are preparing to execute him when Corporal Upham, a technician they have brought along for his linguistic skills, begs and pleads the Capt. to free the prisoner because "he said he was sorry".

Unfortunately, the Capt. does this, telling the Nazi to walk a thousand paces and turn himself in to the next Allied patrol he meets.
The squad then continues on their merry way through France, looking for this Ryan guy and having quite a few emotional conversations.

While hiding from a Half-Track (note: I said "hiding" not "destroying"), they find Pvt. Ryan (whose insignia identifies him as part of the 506th PIR).
After informing him that his brothers have been killed, he decides to stay and help "the closest things to brothers he's got" defend a bridge in a French town that they've occupied.

Thus starts the only real battle scene in the movie, but not before some more needless dialogue.

During the ensuing firefight, Upham is made resupply man for the squad and elements of the 506th.
However, being the sensitive type he chickens out and fails his duties, which causes the slow and painful deaths of the real warriors in the film.
I bet you can't guess which Nazi kills them!

Because the town is being overrun, Capt. Miller orders the survivors to the other side of the bridge, where they hope to make a last stand.
Deciding to blow up the bridge, Miller runs to a detonator, but is stopped when he is shot by a German (POW guy again) on the other side of the river.

Suddenly, amidst Ryan's woman-like screams and Upham's sobbing, we hear the mighty roar of engines from P-51's and Sherman Tanks, who come out of nowhere and save the day.

But wait, there's still more!

We have a emotional speech between Miller and Ryan, then a flashback to the modern day where we hear Ryan's wife say, "You're a good man".

Thus ends the "epic" Saving Private Ryan.

The prevailing message of this story seems to be that warriors are really cowards, but cowards are really warriors (Upham shoots the POW near the end).
Personally I find this disgusting, maybe it's just me, but the movie comes off as an insult to WWII Vets.

This movie takes a group of individuals who fought and died that their children might be free.
But as liberals typically do, they change these courageous men by turning them into stupid, effeminate and emotional animals.
Upham was such a girly-man, yet Spielberg made him the exemplary character, the one you're supposed to want to be like.

Contrast this with the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers, which has issues of it's own, yet it truly brings honor to "The Greatest Generation".
There certainly were cowards in WWII (like this guy), but if you're going to spend $90,000,000 portraying these men, at least heap accolades upon a real warrior.

The ranting of Mike Powers is ended...

For now.

*As I live close to the "Home of the Ranger's", I can tell you, there is no such thing as a "Weak Ranger".


Son3 said...

A recent guest at our house (of questionable "conservativeness", I might add) also gave a frowning report of the film.

Good review, Mike!

Have you noticed that they're constantly cranking-out more and more really awful movies?

Movies that really nobody likes or wants to see twice; and those that people do like are due to the fact that it's pretty much all that's out there.

Whoever has the best explosions and most unnecessary "junk" wins, I guess.

Stephen Boyd said...

Thanks for this!

I don't think I want to see it anymore.

The only parts I had seen were those of Jackson the sniper. What do you think of his character?

Mike said...

Thanks, I do sometimes wonder if they're having a competition to see who can make the worst movie out of the best idea.

Your very welcome, I wish that it could have been a favorable review, but the fault lies with Spielberg.

Jackson's charecter was very "interesting", he would quote the Bible in one scene, yet cuss a blue-streak in the next.
Some of the sniper scenes were alright, but definitely not as good as Enemy at the Gates.

God Bless,

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Oh well, I actually liked this film, for the most part. Really the reason was for the realistic battle scenes (the D-Day scene conveys things especially well IMO) but I too hate Upham with a passion! Much of the film between the two battles was weak as well, I agree. As you, I didn't like the scene with the Nazi prisoner, but for different reasons: I don't think they should have killed him at all so was upset that the only guy to present this view was Upham!

Stephen, Jackson was my favorite character in the film, although that ain't saying much. He does quote REALLY GOOD scripture (WAR verses!!!!) but I didn't like that he wanted to kill the prisoner.

I actually...uhm, recommend this in my Amazon store. *hides*

Check out my latest posts, Mike, I think you'd like them!

You're a good man, God bless and keep on fighting the good fight!


Mike said...


I thought that they should have killed the Nazi for a couple of reasons;

They were a small and elite team of Rangers, taking prisoners in enemy territory would not only slow them down, but would also endanger all of the men on the mission and would thus endanger completing the task given them.

The man had just shot their Medic and even though I believe in turning the other check, I also believe in the death penalty for murderers.

I did like the verses quoted by Jackson, but I think that if all of his dialogue sounded like something a Christian would say, it would’ve really made him a better character.

Have you seen Band of Brothers?


Andy Moore said...

Whew, that's a harsh review! I hadn't heard these aspects of the film discussed before. I'm pretty much with Spencer on this one. I too am a fan of Jackson's character, and found the sniper scenes to be good - though agreed, Enemy at the Gates is better again.

Can't say I found the dialogue to be all that boring. Although, the actual plot of the film was a bit too hard to believe; all these soldiers risking their lives and dying, to go and relieve a soldier on the front from his duty, hmmm...

I'd rank it below BoB, but still an excellent film - cheers for your review though, I'll keep your comments in mind when I watch it next.

Johann Van De Leeuw said...

Interesting. You made some good points that I'll bring up with my dad. Would you argue that it's unrealistic? (I'm genuinely curious - not baiting you or anythin'.)
Enemy At the Gates? Not seen it. Don't intend to. My dad and I read the book, and I don't think we want to see the film.

Mike said...

I would love to hear your Dad's opinion on this.

Some things did strike me as unrealistic, like the whole bit about letting the prisoner leave.

I've never been to war, but I think that there was too much "realistic" blood and gore. After awhile it came off as unrealistic.

Those are just my thoughts anyway. :)

I never read the book, but the I liked the movie okay.
However, there is one "scene".

Thanks for the comments!


Bria said...

Haha, your description is very amusing. And that cancels getting it from Netflix! Glad to hear an honest opinion before I wasted two hours of my life.

Mike said...

Thanks Bria!
If I wrote a post, right now, on the same subject, it wouldn't be so negative.
I made it sound like the movie had no "cool scenes" or any redeeming value.
Saving Pvt. Ryan has the most realistic portrayal of the landing on Omaha beach EVUR presented on film. One of the main characters is a Christian who quotes scripture while sending Nazi's into eternity.
That being said, it still has all the problems I previously (and probably over.... adequately?) laid out.

Seriously, if you're looking for a good flick about WWII, try the Band of Brother series, Clearplay has a filter for it.

Thanks for reading the archives!

Strength and Honor,