if you’ve walked past me while walking down the street or even if you’ve known me a bit more than just my name, you’ll never guess that i actually enjoy war movies. honestly, i never even thought i would say it myself. :p
just to be fair, i must state that i enjoy all kinds of movies. classic movies (dating back from 1920s) & musicals are my number one faves, and then there’s animation, sci-fi, drama, thriller, and the list goes on…. in fact, war movies, cowboy/wild west movies, action movies, and horror movies were the only ones that usually don’t make it to my list at all. i can’t stand the shootings and killings ‘just for the fun of it’, and horror movies are usually either totally crappy or totally scary, LOL. thanks, but no thanks.
i remember when i was a kid, maybe around 5 or 6 yo, whenever there’s a national holiday in my home country that has to do with our country’s history, the TV stations would show local war movies. unfortunately back then there was no such thing as ratings and censors for blood/violence there (do they even exist now in my home country, i wonder?), so all it took was one look at all the shootings and blood in those movies for me to despise war movies.
i did still see some popular Hollywood war movies when i was in high school, but i still couldn’t feel the thrill of it. it’s possible that it was due to my lack of knowledge of any historical thing. (yeah, i suck in history, any kind of history. can’t we just live in the present time?)
and so i had to marry someone who likes war movies. i didn’t know this before i married him, of course, who actually knew anything about the person you’re about to marry until you finally are married to him/her, right? anyway, we started collecting movies on blu-ray like 1,5 years ago, since we’re both such movie buffs (and the fact that movie tickets are so expensive here might also be one of the reasons). we always get a bunch of movies at a time, half would me my choices, and half would be his. and when he started getting war movies, i got back at him by getting classic/musical movies, LOL. but still i watched those war movies with him (and he sometimes watch those musicals with me, too).
i guess when i now see those war movies as a grown up, i began to understand them better. now i can finally get the thrill of, NOT the wars themselves, but the stories behind the wars. the people involved, directly and indirectly, their stories. that’s what we usually fail to hear when we read the news on the media, or when we read the texts in history books. i still don’t like the shootings and the killings, but that’s what war is like. and it’s always there in the movies to remind us that war is never good, for anyone.
okay, it did help that the first war movie i watched as a grown up has Barry Pepper in it. 😀 it was Saving Private Ryan, and this was also one of those i watched in high school. it didn’t make me change my mind about war movies back then, but now, as an adult myself, it made a bigger impact. after watching that movie, i didn’t mind it that much whenever my husband got us some more war movies. from Apocalypse Now, to Full Metal Jacket, to We Were Soldiers, to Letters From Iwo Jima. there are many more in between, but i’m sure you get the point already.
some are better than the others, but all of them usually voice the same thing: how war affects & changes people’s lives. the strong bonds between each of those who were in the war, becoming closer than family members because of the horrific experiences they had to go through together. how they can still find a small form of happiness out of simple things like receiving a letter from their loved ones. things you don’t usually appreciate when you’re living in a free world become so precious when you’re at war. i think these movies give better chance for people who have never been in an actual war to hear the voices of those who have. see what they saw, feel what they felt. the things you can not otherwise see and feel just by reading or watching the news.
now i think i’m beginning to be a bit better in world war history after seeing these movies. i still wish more war movies are made, and not just from the US point of view, as the Hollywood war movies usually are (except for Letters From Iwo Jima. i really enjoyed this one, highly recommend it to those who haven’t seen it yet!). i would love to see a good & decent war movie from my own home country, for sure. if anyone in Hollywood is thinking of making one, could you please throw Barry Pepper in it too, say, as an American journalist or something? then i’d really have no problem watching it. 😉 and i have yet to see Talvisota and Tuntematon Sotilas about the Finnish wars. yeah, i still have a lot to go, but i’m sure my husband doesn’t mind getting more war movies for us.