Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

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Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:22 pm

I feel it is my duty to defend the second half of FMJ. i ussed to feel the same way that Clark does but after a few viewings and some thinking I've come to a different conclusion. Yes the first half is more memorable and visceral, but that,s the point. The trauma they lived through during boot camp has hardened their shell against the war and against the world. The second half doesn't feel like the ''same old, same old'' Vietnam movie for different reasons. 1. It takes place in the city instead of the jungle 2. There's more waiting around and general restlessness than in most Vietnam movies; this could be about the Iraq wars. That's what makes it a great film IMHO, it's really about war in general, not just Vietnam. The second half possesses its shares of virtuoso filmmaking and the last monolgue Joker has is a classic.

Sorry about the rant, Kubrick fanboy.
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Re: Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby Steve T Power » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:59 pm

I'm actually with you on that one. Clark's feeling is typically the more prominent one, but after revisiting FMJ on Blu-Ray a while back, I honestly think the first half of the film, while visceral, memorable, and captivating, just doesn't work without the payoff of the second half. Without seeing HOW the training affected these draftees, and how they acclimated to the theatre of war because of said training, we're left with a series of uncomfortable and unpleasant events that really don't amount to much from a narrative standpoint. As a treatise on human psyche and how soldiers were forged, it's riveting, if simplistic, but as a war film, it really NEEDS that second half to succeed as a movie.

I still say Platoon trounces it though... :)
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Re: Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:09 pm

Steve T Power wrote: I still say Apocalypse Now trounces it though... :)


Fixed
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Re: Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby Steve T Power » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:33 pm

Gabriel Girard wrote:
Steve T Power wrote: I still say Apocalypse Now trounces it though... :)


Fixed


Apocalypse Now kills em both!
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Re: Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby cdouglas » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:44 am

Gabriel Girard wrote: The second half doesn't feel like the ''same old, same old'' Vietnam movie for different reasons. 1. It takes place in the city instead of the jungle 2. There's more waiting around and general restlessness than in most Vietnam movies; this could be about the Iraq wars. That's what makes it a great film IMHO, it's really about war in general, not just Vietnam. The second half possesses its shares of virtuoso filmmaking and the last monolgue Joker has is a classic.


First of all, thanks for the feedback. Always appreciate hearing what others think, regardless of whether it's positive or negative.

See, to me the second half of Full Metal Jacket largely DOES feel like the same old, same old Vietnam movie; just not as deep or involving as the aforementioned Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter or even - God have mercy on me - Platoon. The waiting around and restlessness is intriguing in theory, but not in execution (as contrast, I'd point to Sam Mendes' Jarhead - a film which certainly has its flaws, can be too on-the-nose and admittedly owes a debt to FMJ - but which did a brilliant job of capturing the crushing boredom of war). Again, maybe it would work better for me if it weren't preceded by the first half, but almost anything would seem limp in comparison after that tour de force. I'd like to come around to your point of view, but repeat viewings of the film have made the weaknesses of the second half seem more prominent rather than less.

Steve - I think you're right that the first half needs a second half to reach its full potential, but I do think the first half works on its own terms because the second half simply is telling us things we already know. The implications are already there. That wouldn't be a problem if Kubrick had found a way to make the material in the second half engaging or had at least populated it with compelling characters (Adam Baldwin is really the only actor in the second half who leaves any kind of lasting impression), but he doesn't. Then again, I'm one of the few who thinks Eyes Wide Shut is a masterpiece, so you may want to take my opinion with a grain of salt.
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Re: Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby Daryl Loomis » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:15 am

cdouglas wrote:I'm one of the few who thinks Eyes Wide Shut is a masterpiece, so you may want to take my opinion with a grain of salt.


Cheers to that...I'm right there with you.
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Re: Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby Gabriel Girard » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:08 pm

Daryl Loomis wrote:
cdouglas wrote:I'm one of the few who thinks Eyes Wide Shut is a masterpiece, so you may want to take my opinion with a grain of salt.


Cheers to that...I'm right there with you.


Hear , hear. On the other hand that, outside of three films, Kubrick only made masterpieces. So I'm not the most objective person either.
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Re: Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby Steve T Power » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:59 pm

cdouglas wrote:
Steve - I think you're right that the first half needs a second half to reach its full potential, but I do think the first half works on its own terms because the second half simply is telling us things we already know. The implications are already there. That wouldn't be a problem if Kubrick had found a way to make the material in the second half engaging or had at least populated it with compelling characters (Adam Baldwin is really the only actor in the second half who leaves any kind of lasting impression), but he doesn't. Then again, I'm one of the few who thinks Eyes Wide Shut is a masterpiece, so you may want to take my opinion with a grain of salt.


Oh there's no doubt that FMJ is rather, shall we say, less than subtle with its message. And I agree 110% with what you're saying re: the implications on how these kids are dehumanized in training. I just don't think the flick would have worked as well as a "movie" without taking us to Southeast Asia. So it's not so much that I'm saying the flick was more effective because of it, just that the first half alone wouldn't have made much of a movie (your comparison to Jarhead is dead on) without the emotional payoff of the second half. With regards to the characters, you're right again, and I think that's definitely a failing of the film, and Kubrick in general - he's just so damn cold. Say what you will about Platoon, Stone "gets" the mentality of a soldier, he gets that human element. Kubrick has this more scholarly detachment to the emotional core of FMJ, it's like he's studying soldiers under glass.
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Re: Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby Gabriel Girard » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:57 pm

But is any war movie subtle about its message? I love Platoon, but man Sheen's final monologue is so painfully obvious. Apocalypse Now isn't much subtler. To mee those three flicks succeed in their own manner and give you a different P.O.V. on the Vietnam War. I should see more of those. Don't really care for The Deer Hunter beyond the Vietnam part, LOVE Born On The Fourth Of July because it shows both the war and the post-war trauma.
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Re: Judge Douglas' Full Metal Jacket review

Postby Steve T Power » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:34 pm

Gabriel Girard wrote:But is any war movie subtle about its message? I love Platoon, but man Sheen's final monologue is so painfully obvious. Apocalypse Now isn't much subtler. To mee those three flicks succeed in their own manner and give you a different P.O.V. on the Vietnam War. I should see more of those. Don't really care for The Deer Hunter beyond the Vietnam part, LOVE Born On The Fourth Of July because it shows both the war and the post-war trauma.


Subtle, no, not really. A failing of the genre as a whole for me, is often the audience will the message in the heat of shooty shooty boom boom! That's not really a problem with Full Metal Jacket in particular, but no, war flicks often can't afford to be subtle without the audience thinking they're just watching an action flick.
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