Sunday, August 21, 2005

They Finally Got It Right

My mom, dad, and I just finished watching "Saints and Soldiers," a film about 5 soldiers trying to survive after the Malmady Massacre (one massacre that occurred within the larger Battle of the Bulge).

I had pretty high expectations after seeing the trailer about a year ago. (To view it, click here.) I have to say that those expectations were met. This is a wonderful movie. The cinematography and editing was great, which I think is apparent when you see how many film festivals it won.

I'd like to just lay the Mormon thing out on the table. Yes, it's a Mormon-produced film (That is, it's not produced by the official church, but by people who have got to be Mormon.). The entertainment group is the same that distributed movies like "God's Army," "The Other Side of Heaven," and "The Work and the Glory." And even though much of those movies was good, I still thought much was lacking as well. Maybe that's because I get worried about the way non-LDS folk will view the movies, so I judge too harshly. Or maybe it's because I think most Mormon movies are almost exclusively written for LDS audiences. Perhaps it's unintentional, but that's why the Mormon-produced movie audience, as of right now, is so small. What I'd like to see, is a REGULAR story without the vulgar language, risque sex scenes, and bloody violence. What I mean by a "regular" story, is one that does not necessarily have to do with Mormons. I think there is an audience waiting to see clean, unoffensive movies, and it doesn't only consist of Latter-Day Saints. I just want a plain ol' wholesome movie -- not a Hollywood story that has to be censored.

That is exactly what I found in "Saints and Soldiers." It's a war movie that obviously also has something to do with God. Does it even mention Latter-Day Saints? No; although LDS viewers should be able to figure out that the character Deacon is a Mormon. The running theme for the movie, I thought, was not about finding a religion, but about understanding people and learning to love them. The Germans were not portrayed as evil, and the Americans were not portrayed as angels. I thought that was perfect.

Although the movie was made with under a million dollars, it looked as though it took well more than that. The cinematography was great, the costumes and props were authentic, and the color was awesome. I don't know what "movie people" call the color enhancement of a film or how they describe it, but I do know that "Saints and Soldiers" has the look of "Band of Brothers." It could almost be a black and white, but not really -- if that makes sense. (Just look at the image I've pasted.)

One reason I really like this movie is that I now have a movie to refer people to when they tell me war movies have to include excessive violence. This movie is PG-13, which means there are no 10-minute scenes of blood and gore just because that's what Hollywood execs tells us we need in order to really "feel" the horror of war. I could still understand the atrocities of war when watching this movie, but I wasn't inundated with graphic violent images.

The only thing I didn't fully like was the musical score. Some music sounded great, but a bit too much like a particular song (I forget which one) in "Braveheart." Some music sounded too. . . trite -- there is a scene in which the music sounds very similar to pieces of music in a lot of other Mormon movies. Those who have seen those other movies will probably know what I'm talking about. . . But this complaint is probably one that most people won't even have because a) They have never seen "The Other Side of Heaven" or "The Singles Ward," etc. or b) The score, in general, is pretty good.

All in all, it's not only the best Mormon-produced movie I've ever seen, it's one of the best movies I've seen in 5 years AND the best contemporary movie about war I've seen in my life. Check it out!


Blogger Blake said...

Totally off the subject Sara, but "Cut Here" by the Cure is one sweet song. I'm sure you've heard it, but if not, GET THAT!

6:00 PM  
Anonymous allyson said...

hey girl! i finally found what my site's address was! lol.. it's
cool post though.. i've never heard of that movie before, but i totally agree on what you said about movies. i would love to see a movie without the overdone language, sex, and violence crap!

3:25 PM  
Blogger THE LANCER said...

Hey Sara! I loved the movie as well. The movie is based on the autobiography of the Medical guy...he actually read the book that he got off of deacon...and was baptized. I think that Deseret carries it...not sure. Talk to you later. Lancers

9:33 PM  

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