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Propaganda In Hollywood Movies Film Studies Essay

1936 words (8 pages) Essay in Film Studies

5/12/16 Film Studies Reference this

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1. Thematic justification: The movie is based during the Second World War and precisely at the time the United States of America entered the war after a series of attacks by the Japanese on their naval installations in the Pacific region, primarily Pearl Harbor and the main theme of the movie, Wake Island, which came under attack soon after Pearl Harbor. The movie can be interpreted as a propaganda film that justifies the need for America to join the war and more importantly fight the Japanese.

2. Violence as a necessary part of patriotism: The movie shows American naval forces fearlessly engaging the Japanese forces with all their might. Though they were heavily outnumbered and their defeat at the hands of the Japanese was guaranteed, the soldiers continued to fight till their last breath to show their patriotism.

3. Ideological justification: The prominent ideological justification that was being promoted here was to avenge the Japanese attacks on the American Naval installations in Wake Island and Pearl Harbor. This was also evident in the title of the movie that had the phrase “We will never forget wake Island” attached to it. Also the movie is considers the defeat of the

4. War as a rite of passage: The movie does not contain any instances that promote “War as a rite of passage”. Though it does promote the idea like, war unifies people who are otherwise rivals and that war makes people more responsible and diligent.

5. Alienation and dehumanizing the enemy: The movie portrays the Japanese as ruthless, cold blooded killers slaughtering the outnumbered American forces on Wake Island. They also focused on the use of the Kamikaze by the Japanese which was a fighter plane used to carry out suicide missions during the Second World War. As explained above the movie promoted the need to avenge the attack on Wake Island and Pearl Harbor and the inhuman portrayal of the Japanese enemy added fuel to the fire.

6. Portrayal of hatred with the Japanese and likeness with the Chinese: The movie does say anything about the Chinese but certainly portrays the Japanese as the enemy. The last few words uttered by the weary and wounded protagonist Donlevy were “send us more Japs!” that was relayed to the headquarters in America. Such scenes are used to reinforce the idea that the Japanese are enemies in the minds of the common American citizens.

7. Oversimplified Dichotomy: Though America joined the war for various reasons other than the attack on Pearl Harbor the movie paints a different picture. According to the movie, the Japanese are the bad guys who attacked the good Americans and so the Americans who lost their lives at the hands of the ruthless Japanese have to be avenged.

IRONMAN

Iron Man is a superhero film inspired from the from the famous Marvel Comics character of the same name. The movie was released in 2008 and was directed by Jon Favreau starring Robert Downey Jr as the main protagonist Tony Stark better known as the Iron Man. Tony Stark is an engineering genius and the owner of Stark Enterprises, a company that manufactures high tech civil and most importantly military equipment. In the movie he is abducted by a group of terrorist while he was on business trip to Afghanistan. The leader of the terrorist group, Ten Rings, forces him to build a missile in order to carry out his evil agenda. Instead Tony Stark builds an exoskeleton suit with the resources given to him that makes him almost invincible and helps him defeat the terrorists and escape. After he gets back home he builds a more refined version of the high tech suit and decides to take on the responsibility of keeping his city safe from such terrorist and become a vigilante of sorts. Such movies can be interpreted as propaganda that is aimed at young people to make them aware of the whole idea of terrorism and the importance of fighting it.

1. Thematic Justification: Thematic Justification is defined as the theme of the movie or the background which shows social disorder and loss of control in the country. War is considered the only way to find a way out for the communal disharmony. In the movie Iron Man Tony Stark played by Robert Downey Jr is attacked by an Afghan terrorist group Ten Rings. The leader of the group, Raza offers Stark freedom as he was held captive by the group. But in turn they asked for the Jericho Missile, Knowing well that they wouldn’t agree after the transaction is complete, Stark refuses. Once he gets back to the city he is informed that the Stark equipments were transported to Ten Rings. One of the equipments was the Jericho Missile. The artillery was transported to destroy Yinsen Town. Stark to avoid the mass destruction dons his armor and flies to Afghanistan for a epic war.

2. Violence as a necessary part of patriotism: Violence is always very evident in all Hollywood movies. No matter how much the degree of it is present. Iron Man is no less. There is considerable amount of violence. Even though the concept is fictitious Iron Man does have a battle with the terrorist group. The violence is quite evident but does not end up in any bloodshed.

3. Ideological Justification: It is difficult to point out if there was any ideological justification in the movie. Though if analyzed it could show the tense and strained relationship between The United States of America and Afghanistan. Tony Stark gets back at the terrorist group, Ten Rings and at the end of he saves Yinsen village from mass destruction. To some extent one could say that Iron Man fights for freedom and all his actions echoes this statement.

4. War as a rite of passage: This parameter is true in the case of Iron Man. Tony Stark is a Genius, billionaire, playboy and a philanthropist (as mentioned in the movie Avengers [2011]) This is enough to prove that Stark is a spoiled and care free individual. But once he encounters his exoskeleton suit and the power it holds he becomes more disciplined.

5. Alienation and dehumanizing the enemy: Ten Rings is a monstrous and evil group. They shipped in Stark’s equipments to destroy the village of Yinsen. If they succeeded there would be mass destruction and innumerable bloodshed. But Iron Man comes into the picture and does what is needed to done. So it is justified that the terrorist group must be killed.

6. Portrayal of hatred with the Japanese and likeness with the Chinese: There is no portrayal of any likeness towards China or hatred towards Japanese in the movie. This movie mainly comprises of the terrorist group, Ten Rings from Afghanistan. Militants and terror groups like Al-Qaeda, from the Middle Eastern region are currently considered the main enemies of the United States especially after the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

7. Oversimplified Dichotomy: Here to justify this parameter Iron Man does have visuals where Iron Man (representing America) is treated as the hero of the movie and Ten Rings (enemy; Afghanistan). Just as any comic based movie ends, Iron Man wins the battle. The viewers tend to believe that the USA is always on the right and ethical track. This brings in a feeling of bias in the minds of the public

THE KINGDOM

The Kingdom was directed by Peter Berg in 2007, starring Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner. It talks about how a terrorist group attacked and unleashed a massacre inside a Western housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The incident became a huge international issue during a time when the relationship between the two countries was undergoing a lot of strain. Meanwhile, diplomats in Washington were slow to act and debated territorial issues. But FBI agent Ronald Fleury decided to take things in his own hands and quickly assembled a team and worked his way around the bureaucracy to somehow carryout an investigation in Saudi Arabia and catch the people responsible. But things didn’t go so smoothly in Saudi Arabia, agent Fleury and his team were tearted with suspicion as most of the Saudi government officials and royals were sceptical about the whole idea. Fortunately, the team find Colonel Al-Ghazi, a dedicated and sincere official. They formed a good bond and he helps the team get around the bureaucracy in Saudi Arabia and help them in their investigation. In the end, as usual, they capture and kill the terrorists after a series of gun fights and dramatic action sequences. The plot of the movie is fictional, but it is obviously influenced by the bombings at a similar American housing compound on May 12, 2003 and the Khobar housing complex on June 26, 1996, in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The movie does not provide any critical information or thought provoking insights. It is produced with an aim to simplify the America’s political agendas in other countries and moreover, to justify its interventions in the Middle East. Such propaganda is aimed at young people all over the world to influence them to join the so called “War on Terrorism”.

1. Thematic justification: The movie is based on the American war on terrorism and inspired by bombings at the Riyadh compound on May 12, 2003 and the Khobar housing complex on June 26, 1996, in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the movie a a terrorist bomb detonates inside a Western housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, an international incident is ignited and FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury quickly assembles an elite team and decides to take things in his own hands. They go into Saudi Arabia to investigate and more importantly kill the people responsible for the bombings.

2. Violence as a necessary part of patriotism: The main casualties of the terrorist attack are Americans and this prompts agent Fleury to go on a mission to Saudi Arabia with just one aim, identifying and killing the people responsible for the attacks.

3. Ideological Justification: The movie does not seem to any ideological justification other than avenging the death of the American workers in Saudi Arabia at the hands of terrorist thus instilling a false sense of justice. They just go about killing the terrorists until they reach the mastermind of the terrorist activities there and kill him as well without even asking any questions.

4. War as a rite of passage: This movie does not promote war as a rite of passage but rater it conveys the message that war breeds hate and hate perpetuates more hate leading to a vicious cycle of suffering.

5. Alienation and dehumanizing the enemy: In this movie the enemies are terrorists, ruthlessly killing innocent civilians and instilling fear among the people. Therefore they are naturally treated inhumanely and killed without question.

6. Portrayal of hatred with the Japanese and likeness with the Chinese: There is no portrayal of likeness with the Chinese or hatred towards the Japanese in the movie. As mentioned above the enemies are the terrorists from groups like Al-Qaeda, from the Middle Eastern region who are currently considered the main enemies of the United States especially after the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

7. Oversimplified Dichotomy: In this movie it is very obvious that the bad guys are the terrorists and the good guys are the FBI agents. The terrorists are responsible for killing innocent civilians and thus the FBI agents are justified in killing these terrorists without any question.

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