Olympus Has Fallen
Would be fascinated to hear of an American who has watched the film, and what they thought of it and why.
I dont want to spoil it for those who havent seen it, because it is very good, and an early contender for my Film of The Year Award...but I do do a Symbological Breakdown of the film, which doesnt contain any spoilers and have included it below.
In 2007 I made my first trip to The United States of America, and sitting with my host one night we decided to watch a film called 28 Weeks Later. For those of you who dont know, its a Horror film set in the Centre of London, Specifically the Square Mile and Docklands area, which are highly familiar to me as I used to live nearby. To cut a long story short, when the Virus gets out the American Production portrays a fascinating scene. The destruction of the Centre of the British Capitol via firebombing from the United States Army and Airforce. Vividly for a good two minuits you have footage, dramatically, and accurately processed by a computer, of the destruction of places I know, Love, and down streets I have walked. The footage is extremely realistic, and whilst it never happened in reality, the symbolism is none the less very real. The saddness is that for almost all of the Britons who watch the film, the significance of this short bit of film is completely lost. There is no attachement to London, and so no real distress by the symbolism of its demise.
Ironically, you wont find a British Production that shows, even in fiction, the firebombing of Central Washington DC by British Forces...even though, as Olympus Has Fallen reminds us clearly, in the not to distant past that outcome actually took place during the war of 1812. There are two reasons you wont see this. Firstly, its considered distasteful, even in jest, to someone considered a friend. Secondly, the Americans viewing the film are not likely to find it acceptable viewing, because, unlike the majority of the British, they care so deeply about their society that even the fictionalized distruction of their historic landmarks by a foreign company, would be seen, in many ways as an invasion of the Soverignty.
Infact, excluding dramatizations about natural disastors, like, 2012, or the earlier Volcano, and excluding dramatizations about war time, like The Patriot, or Pearl Harbour, only one film springs to mind as portraying Terrorism against the United States that involves real loss for the Americans, outside of the two films that act pretty much as Memorials to the 9/11 WTC attack. That film is Independance Day, Where whole American Cities are graphically shown to be demolished.
In 2009 I returned to the United States of America on my second Tour, and I visited Washington DC, where Olympus Has Fallen, is set. Very strange to see, then, as you will no doubt have seen the trailors, so vivid, they are marked at the top right hand corner "This is an Advertisment", the destruction of The Washington Monument, or indeed The White House itself. This film can be considered Brave for its portrayal of true loss in a fictional attack upon the American Capitol.
The film uses two Code Names. The first is Olympus, used to describe the President of The United States...please note, as will become important later. It DOES NOT INCLUDE Reference to The Federal Government of The United States of America. Olympus not only a very real mountain in Greece (and infact the largest Volcano in the solar system located on the Planet Mars) it is also a Reference to the Heavenly Realm of the Greek Pantheon of Gods. Interestingly, they also refer to a mechanism known as Cereberus. Which is an interesting twist in the film, which I wont spoil, except to say it references using the power of the United States Administration against itself to aid its attackers. Interesting also because Cereberus in Greek is also a mythological figure, who is very opposite to Olympus. Whilst Cereberus can be thought of as a force for Good (for example, Cereberus protects the enterance to Hades) Cereberus is also a force for bad...Its the Enterance to Hades that he gaurds. Those incharge of Cereberus are The Federal Government of the United States of America.
A fascinating implication occures, therefore with the praising of the US President, but the caution against His Administration. To understand why that might be, one must delve back to the Early Presidents of the United States. It is an important point to make, that on the whole most of those guys were INDEPENDANTS in terms of party politics. This changed during the American Civil War, when in order to put a united front on against the Rebellious South, the Federal Government had to evolve from a collection of representatives and a figure head. To the most important man in the world, and a Super Government.
At the very end of the film is a moving tribute the urges in light of the films contents, that the American people be, essentially born again. But I wonder how many Americans who watch the film, and read the symbolism will recognise that call to change, or, more appropriately, if one is to follow the ethos of the film, to see a return to a Constitutionalistic America, where party politics play second fiddle to the needs and wants of Individual States (fancy fighting for the rights of your State, rather then the rights of an international party, that PREVENTS State Unity, but keeps the Federal Government in place.)
Some will thus believe that this film, in many ways, is Anti-American therefore, in calling for devolved powers from a Union inflated well beyond its design brief, and some may be stirred to think, that if they truely are so moved by the films portrayal of their beloveds destructions, maybe they should challenge the credibility divide between that ideological identity, and the reality of the Republic as it stands today. Maybe, it is yet possible to stop what appears to be the inevitable slide of America towards the desensitized, unconcerned, and unmoved Europeans. Perhaps America can be rebuilt afterall.
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