First there was Hunger Games, and now Red Dawn. Seems like it’s a good year to show kids in war. Now I love a good, rollicking adventure story. It’s my favorite type. A lot of people have been bothered to see teens with grenades but that doesn’t really bother me. Teens have been in wars since the beginning of war–when the first boy got jealous of the attention the another boy was getting. War is always started because of jealousy, right? I think so. Either that or fried chicken, I can’t remember which. Anyways, strapping young men have always served on the front lines. It’s a story that needs telling and I don’t mind the violence.
But can we add a little humor, please? I don’t care if it’s slapstick, knee-jerk, ironic, witty banter, or what–can we add at least one character who isn’t so darn grim? When there’s humor, there’s hope.
The Red Dawn 1984 version is pretty psycho. Like Hunger Games. Anytime someone’s willing to kill their friend or ally over war I have to stop trusting them, and stop rooting for them. I don’t like those stories. They’re good and possibly great–but I don’t like them.
I loved a Red Dawn remake from Australia called Tomorrow When the War Began. In it the teens actually deal with the fact they’re ending someone else’s life … even if it’s just in self-defense. And I really appreciated the fact that the film spend at least 25 minutes of character development before anything bad happened to them … because then I cared about what happened to them. It’s a solid, entertaining film and I think it’s a well done kid-meets-war story. And it has humorous characters in it.
But if there’s any movie that handles kids meeting violence well it’s THE WAR. Holy moley mop buckets! Elijah Wood, Kevin Costner, and it deals with violence, race, war, hurt, and love in a profound way.