Sunday, October 5, 2008


First of all, I have to say this - I can’t believe that I actually did not watch the greatest war movie (in Hollywood that is) until now.

I’m talking about “Saving Private Ryan”, which I guess many of you guys out there had already watched it. Well to be honest, I’m never a fan of war films. Sorry, but they are kinda boring. I mean, guns, tanks, weapons and ammos (which are supposed to be bullets, right? Is that even the word?) are so not my thing. Haha…

I mean, what we see in war films are all the soldiers in war, and them bombing each other. But war films are usually very touching and inspirational, and that’s the only thing I like about war films. (Besides all the darn hot, macho and good-looking soldiers that is) So of course not being a war film fan just subdued my drive to watch "Saving Private Ryan".

When it was broadcasted on TV, I chose to go online and watch Youtube instead. But come on, it’s “Saving Private Ryan”, an Oscar-winning film! People talk about it and being a broadcast student, how can I not watch a movie like this, right? Plus it’s Steven Spielberg's, one of the greatest and most brilliant directors to ever grace our planet…

Okay, so no regrets watching, though yes, I still stand by my point of view that there were some really boring fighting and bombing sequences that I feel like fast-forwarding haha. Okay, so I’m a peaceful person, alright...but then again the storyline was brilliant and the war scenes were perfectly portrayed to mirror the real war situations.

I also watched the making of the movie and I can’t believe that all the actors actually went through a boot camp and was trained by a real Captain. Apparently, boot camp was hell! Yeah? (sounding sarcastic)...what a ‘shocker’!

Haha. But yeah…even Tom Hanks had to go through those training, when he can in fact pull out. I guess these actors are really committed. One thinks that being an actor/actress is all about glory and fame, but I guess there are some really brilliant and professional actors/actresses out there who take their professions seriously, unlike Paris Hilton...ahem…did I just say that out loud? Oops!

Anyway when I hear them describe boot camp, I know one thing - I can NEVER attend a boot camp! Imagine sleeping outdoors, even under the rain and eating whatever there is to be eaten and still have to undergo tremendous hardcore physical training, plus learning about weapons! Definitely not something I can imagine myself surviving through.

Then you think, last time, men were forced to undergo these training, whether they like it or not. All of them have to serve their nation, whether they are willing to or not. In war movies/films, there is always one character who is struggling because of their timidness. It’s like they are angry at themselves because they just can’t go out there and do great things like their mates. I guess I can somehow understand that feeling. I mean, how can you be one of them if you are not like them? You try to be brave but the truth is, how? Some people are just not born to fight.

The movie also almost accurately portrayed war because the director really did his research and the veteran soldiers actually helped with the description of war. The opening scene at the Omaha Beach was the highlight to many because of it’s intensity in depicting the real Omaha Beachhead assault which happened in June 1944.

Omaha Beach (1944)

Omaha Beach Scene from "Saving Private Ryan"

When I saw the making of the movie, they showed a clip of a documentary which showed the Omaha beach event, and it was so similar to how Spielberg made it. Spielberg then combined this incident with a true story about the Niland brothers, which in the movie, is altered to the Ryan brothers.

Briefly, the story is about how 3 Ryan brothers were killed in combat and the authority plans to save the 4th and last brother of the Ryan family so that the mother wouldn’t have to lose all her sons. The authority made this decision because prior to this case, there was a case of the Sullivan brothers, in which 5 brothers in battle were on a same ship, and when the ship sank, all 5 of them drowned and died. The grief bore by the Sullivan and the Americans were so deep that a rule was initiated to not allow brothers to serve under the same company or mission.

The Sullivan Brothers

The Niland Brothers

In the Ryan’s case, all 3 brothers in all 3 different companies died in 3 different battlefields. Therefore, the Army General orders that the 4th brother be brought home to the mother safely, if possible. It’s what they call a public relations mission – very aptly named.

I am a broadcast student but honestly haha, I’m not good with all those cinematographic aspects (yet, I hope). I prefer to explore the themes and meaning of one particular movie. The making of the movie however gave me an in-depth insight into the whole production of the "Saving Private Ryan" and I am truly awed. It is definitely a huge huge production, one I believe that is hard to find in Malaysia.

The largest one produced in Malaysia was Puteri Gunung Ledang, but still, I think nothing compared to this. I saw how there were so many extras involved, the costumes itself were all made especially for the movie; then there were the firearms which were a combination of real and rubber weapons, which looked real.

Then, there were also the explosive, stunts and wow! To ensure safety of every cast member, the crew were only able to take a few shots a day and I kinda understand how that felt. During internship, I always hope they can finish taking their shots so that I can go home early. I think working in a movie like “Saving Private Ryan” would be far more exhausting than “Duhai Si Pari-Pari” (the one I was training in). But I guess seeing how amazing the whole production was is so interesting that I guess I’d really wanna be part of some of these productions.

The great thing about this movie is that everything is so particular and precise.


These people really studied the sound of the firearms, the environment, and even how each *ping* sound of the gun matches the scene. Also they reference from documentaries and other movies to try and make it more surreal for the audience. It’s Crazy!

They actually went to France and select some buildings and built the models in England. Then they carve the shape of the ruins and stuff. I truly am amazed!

They have an original score composed for the movie.

Every single detail of the movie is done based on research, even the Abraham Lincoln letter. The preparation for the movie itself I think can take months or even a year. If I’m doing it, probably it can never be completed since I’m quite the “hangat-hangat tahi ayam” type haha. That means I am enthusiastic in the beginning, but the fire just mellows half way through haha.

The opening scene at the Normandy memorial in France was breathtaking!

Normandy Beach

Notice how the crosses are perfectly aligned and straight. That is actually my favourite scene because of the breathless view and the emotional delivery from the old man who plays the old Ryan. The look in his eyes is so significant and you can tell the pain and gratitude through the eyes. I think anyone who actually visits that place, whether or not they have relatives buried there, will shed a tear or two. Even I can’t hold back my emotions when watching the last scene. I hate to cry when watching movies. Sigh but had to.


"The Insanity of war" - War is insane? Any question on that?

"Sacrificing a hundred for ONE?" - Tom Hanks said in the movie: "When he kills an enemy, his rational is, he kills one to save 10 or 20 or maybe 20 times more. But when he sets out on the mission to save Private Ryan, he is sacrificing his team and himself for one." Of course saving this Ryan will earn him his rights to go home, but then again, as soldiers one cannot actually question the orders of the authority right?

Private Reiben played by Edward "HOTTIE" Burn also said is this private worth risking 8 men’s live for. Even Matt Damon who played Ryan was curious. Why does he deserve to go home and not any of his brothers? (meaning other soldiers) I guess he was partially right.

"What is right? What is wrong?" - It's difficult to determine right and wrong when it comes to saving the ONE and only Ryan. For one thing, the Army has to consider the private’s mum…the consequences if she loses all her sons. But then, did they consider James Ryan’s decision; he doesn’t want to go home yet. He feels he has responsibilities as a soldier and he wants to fulfill them. He cannot leave his remaining ‘brothers’.

"How to find decency & civilization in war?" - According to Steven Spielberg the main theme of the movie is how you find decency in war. I guess it’s true. It’s hard to be human when in the battlefield. If you don’t kill others, others might kill you. But to Tom Hanks who plays Capt. Miller and his rangers, maybe saving Private Ryan is one decent thing that they can do.

But I think the mini series "Band of Brotherhood" (which is also produced by Steven Spielberg, together with Tom Hanks) explores that theme even deeper. Everyone thinks it's cool to hold a gun, but I think it really takes guts to actually fire the gun at someone.

I can only imagine how it would be like to be in a situation in which you'd have to stay alive under desperate conditions, plan your next strategy to defeat ur enemy while having to carry a heavy load of weapons. When the time comes, you even have to shoot someone.

And when you think again, it's like, the person you shot could be just like you, desperate and afraid and want to survive. But, you have to shoot or die. War brings out the other side of human, I guess one that you, yourself don't know. I reckon that war is something that propels one to do things that they can never imagine themselves doing in a civilized's beyond civilization.

The HOT soldiers, perhaps? - Concentrate for a moment on hot guys in the movie. I recommend you girls to pay attention to Edward Burns. He is so cool in the movie...haha....I dislike him on "27 Dresses", well just because I prefer James Marsden. Anyway, Edward Burns is so stylish and he really has got attitude in this one.

Another must watch! ;P

p/s: THE MAKING OF "SAVING PRIVATE RYAN" - Visit this link: (You Won't Regret watching it)

TC-My Rating:

Take carezzz

With Lotsa Lurve,


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In-Sight MY-Movie

"I love movies for its subjectivity. A movie is debatable. A single scene can mean a million things and the fun part is talking about them."