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Windtalkers (2002), NR
Analysis Date: June 17, 2002
CAP Score: 44
CAP Influence Density: 2.01
WINDTALKERS (NR) -- I guess that is why Ecclesiates 3:8 states there is a time for war.
Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Director(s): John Woo
Producer(s): Arthur Anderson, Terence Chang, C.O. Erickson, Tracie Graham, Caroline Macaulay, Alison R. Rosenzweig, John J. Smith, Richard Stenta, Stephen Traxler, John Woo
Written by/Screenplay: John Rice, Joe Batteer
Cinematography/Camera: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Music: James Horner
Film Editing: Jeff Gullo, Steven Kemper, Tom Rolf
Casting: Mindy Marin
Production Design: Holger Gross
Art Direction: Kevin Ishioka
The Internet Movie Database
Though based on a true story, Windtalkers is still fantasy of entertainment to make money. It is not file footage nor a documentary. It is actors getting paid to display guts-n-gore to feed the same thing in us that makes us stop or slow down at car wrecks hoping to see blood. Admit it. How many wrecks have you seen in which you looked to see just busted tires or crumpled metal? In all my years as a medic, seldom did I hear any bystander say anything about the busted car. And while crawling around inside a busted car, you can tell at what the gawkers are looking.
While Windtalkers is not as cinematically gory as Saving Private Ryan it was indeed gory enough. Just like war. And there is a dilemma. That is how war is. But is entertainment the place for it? Fathers could use this movie as a teaching tool for preparing their sons for combat, but should we? I plan to rent the tape when it comes out to show it to my 17 year old son but not to my other kids younger than he and then only through the foul language filter. But I am not your gauge. You are your own gauge for your children, hopefully guided by the Scriptures [Eccl. 9:18, Prov. 20:18, Eccl. 3:1; 3:8].
Windtalkers is anything but the "... whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely ..." of Philippians 4:8. Though it maybe stretching things a little (or a lot), if this were reality there certainly are matters of "... whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." But it's a movie! But it is a "based on a true story" about courage, self scrifice and bravery. Grrr. A true dilemma indeed. I guess that is why Ecclesiates 3:8 states there is a time for war.
The Japanese were breaking our communication codes left and right. Communications to support ordinance by the combat forces were being intercepted by the Japanese and our Marines were getting killed because of the codes being broken. A new code must be developed that the Japanese could not break. A new code was developed based on the native tongue of the Navajo Indians. Navajo Indians were recruited and trained to be code talkers.
Corporal Joseph F. Anders (Nicholas Cage) became the commander of a combat outfit because of the loss of all its command officers. By following orders and standing his ground, Anders lost his entire outfit. But he survived - barely. Once recovered from his wounds, Anders was promoted to Sergeant. During Anders' recuperation is when the Navajos were trained as code talkers.
The new code was so essential to minimizing loss of life and logistics among the combat troops, each code talker was assigned a sergeant with orders that the code must never fall into enemy hands ... no matter what the cost. Even if it meant assassinating the code talker. Sergeant Anders was assigned to Private Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach). This pair formed the center of the movie. Another sergeant, Sergeant Peter 'Ox' Henderson (Christian Slater) was assigned to another Navajo code talker of the same outfit, Private Charles Whitehorse (Roger Willie). These sergeants had orders to protect the code. That was their primary task -- to protect the windtalkers (a pet name given tot he code talkers themselves) and thus the code. On June 16, 1944 on the Japanese Island of Saipan, the Marines got a chance to find out if the new code worked.
As with Pearl Harbor, there was opportunity for the writers to throw in some sexual immorality with the inclusion of nurse Rita Swelton (Frances O'Connor) who took a shine to and a definite interest in Sergeant Anders during AND after his recuperation, but the writers didn't. Thank you MGM et at! Another thing I appreciate about the production is that the integrity and honor of the traditional American Indian was accurately portrayed. The only sexual matter was the brief partial nudity of a Japanese soldier as Ben stripped him to get a Japanese uniform to steal a Japanese radio since his was blown to bits plus some coarse joking/storytelling [Eph. 5:4, Deut. 5:11].
As it seems with all war movies, the "R" in Windtalkers is due to cussin', drinkin', smokin' and guts-n-gore. It does seem also that fine portrayals of war were made in the 50s without all this stuff. I guess moviemakers are not good enough any more to make a really fine, quality war movie without the cussin' and such graphic gore. Now that we can make such gore in and as entertainment, maybe we ought to start thinking about whether we should. I have no doubt that such gore is present in war but must it be regurgitated in and as entertainment? And I am certain such talk is used during combat -- I'll bet even my father did and maybe even I would -- but is that supposed to excuse it let alone in and as entertainment? The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will provide all that was noted. Note also as stated in footnote #3 that deaths by police action and war are not incorporated into the analysis model as murder, thus the high Murder/Suicide score.
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*******Food for Daily Thought*******
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):
Christian Media News
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|NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.|
|"There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|