Olympus Has Fallen

Don’t tell anyone the code words!


Like writing about cheeseburgers, there is not much to be gained or imparted beyond 'Mmmmmm cheeseburger'.
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Reported on 17th of May, 2013

(Editor’s note: Please welcome Richard as guest writer.) 

(Additional note: Not actually being an editor, I simply included all three of Richard’s pieces on this film, without making him incorporate them. He is busy with a ‘job’ or ‘family’ or something.)

Olympus Has Fallen

21 April 2013 @ The Brighton Odeon


$21.99 or, if one must be quotidian, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Everything you need to know about Olympus Has Fallen is contained in the first paragraph of a review I accidentally read about it in a serious newspaper. The critic referred to it as a return to the simplistic nineties action thriller tropes. Only get this; he was acting as if that was bad thing.

How it does this without coming on like a shitty cutscene I don't know, but I can report that the overall effect was to make me reach for the crouch button. That's a good thing.

This is not the place for a detailed treatise on the golden age of action cinema (actually it is, but I’ll refrain) so let me say in summary only this: an enormous number of highly watchable films were produced in the years 1990 – 2000. I wouldn’t make high-falluting claims for their art, any more than I would propose a cheeseburger joint for a Michelin star.

They’ve started selling tickets at the popcorn counter. What do all the commercials pay for anyway?

But here’s the thing: I like cheeseburgers. And they don’t make enough of them any more. At some point – let’s say between Matrix and Matrix 2 – they forgot how to do it simple and good. Blame CGI, TV, the internets, whatever, the fire went out and the snappy, quality junk stopped getting made. There were and are exceptions of course, but they seem to these jaded eyes to be precious few and far between. And that’s why I am crying out for a piece of shit like this one: a stupid, brilliant waste of time.

There is only one other observation about Olympus that I would bother to make (like writing about cheeseburger, there is not much to be gained or imparted beyond ‘mmmmmm cheeseburger’) and it is this: for years, video games have had a deleterious effect on films, and vice versae, as each slavishly ape the other and forget the virtues of their own mediums.

OHF is a post C of D product, and all the better for it. It borrows from the language of gaming to create tension and suspense in modes familiar from First Person Shooters, sniping levels, stealth attacks, and more. How it does this without coming on like a shitty cutscene I don’t know, but I can report that the overall effect was to make me reach for the crouch button (). That’s a good thing.

The Take

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Profits!
Stupid Entertainment.
$7.00
The number of times I’ll ‘accidentally’ watch it on TV when it comes on (5 @ $3.00 per)
$15.00
Total Profits
$22.00
Losses!
The amount I care that it’s stupid.
$0.01
Total Losses
$0.01

$21.99

To give the reader the full experience, Richard gives us the story from both perspectives. No one ever said we weren’t Rashomon.

Well, that one guy did.

From the archives of one of our henchmen:

Dear Diary,

Well, that was a classic day. Phew! Where to start?

So we took the White House. Finally! It was awesome. I was really nervous at first but as soon as I saw the aerial attack on the innocent civilians and the Washington Monument I just got pumped. We really went for it with the ground attack. Of course it didn’t hurt that all the secret service guys came running out the one door. This is going to sound weird, but the whole thing totally reminded me of Call of Duty. Except with really stupid enemy AI!

No one really said anything about how I did but I’m feeling pretty positive. Jun said he saw the leader look my way when I shot that guy that was already mostly dead and I think that’s got to be good. Right? Anyway I know I did good, because guess who got to go out on the actual roof of the actual White House and take down the tattered, bullet riddled Stars and Stripes?

That’s right, yours truly! Eat that, Kim.

That was one bummer. Kim and his asshole buddies were all giving me shit about not keeping the flag. Like it was some super special memento of the capture of the Commander in Chief and the subsequent fall of America. I was all, ‘So what? It’s just a stupid flag.’ I made out like I totally meant to chuck it disdainfully from the roof and turn away unmoved as it fluttered to the ground like a discarded dishcloth. But honestly I don’t know now. I didn’t really think it through. Maybe I should have kept it, made more of a big deal of it? Jun said that I would have made a fortune on eBay. Or I could have presented it to the leader? I think he would have liked that, although the last guy that sucked up to him did get pretty badly killed, so I don’t know. It’s too late now, I know, but I do feel like I should probably have done something more, you know, cinematic or something.

Fuck you Kim, you’ve totally spoiled an awesome day. I guess the only thing left to do is put a bag on my head, and wear heavy clothing, get on a helicopter and get blowed up. It’s brilliant! How can they not think I’m the President! It’s the only possible explanation! Take that, Kim!

Except for the fact that I’ll be dead, of course.

And, since movies are simply depictions of actual events, let’s go behind the scenes at the security planning meeting that led to the events of the film. Sorry. Of the reality.

Government Drone One
Hey. You know when we launch a full scale nuclear attack right?
Government Drone TWO
Yeah?
Government Drone One
Ok. Imagine this. We’ve pushed the button, the nukes are en route, and suddenly…
Government Drone Two
What?
Government Drone One
We change our minds.
Government Drone two
OK…
Government Drone One
We’ve changed our minds and we want to cancel it. What do we do? We can’t bring them home, but we need to get rid. What’s the answer?
Government Drone two
Government Drone One
We blow them up!
Government Drone two
Ok. I’m with you. How does that work?
Government Drone One
Oh that’s easy. Basically you key in some codes and the nukes blow up.
Government Drone two
Go on.
Government Drone One
That’s it.
Government Drone two
Really? That’s it?
Government Drone One
Yep. What do you think?
Government Drone two
I think we got a green light!
Government Drone One
That’s awesome, thanks man.
Government Drone two
No problemo. I’ll get the paperwork done Monday.
Government Drone One
Awesome.
Government Drone two
Uh….
Government Drone One
Yeah?
Government Drone two
Did you do a, you know, a risk assessment?
Government Drone One
A what now?
Government Drone two
I know, pain in my ass, but paperwork, you know? I don’t want to look stupid at the comms board meeting.
Government Drone One
Oh no, it’s cool. A very slight, slight, slight risk of the total destruction of North America. Otherwise nothing really.
Government Drone two
Sorry to give you a hard time, but you know how it is right?
Government Drone One
No sweat.
Government Drone two
Hey, have a good weekend yeah?
Government Drone One
You, too. Thanks Barry.
Government Drone two
Hey, I forgot to ask. What’s it called?
Government Drone One
What?
Government Drone two
The thing.
Government Drone One
Oh, yeah. I left out the best part. ‘Cerberus’.
Government Drone two
Sir Bus?
Government Drone One
‘Cerberus’.
Government Drone two
Oh ok. That’s kind of cool. What is that actually?
Government Drone One
Cerberus? It’s like a three headed dog that stands at the gates of hell.
Government Drone two
Oh, so like a gatekeeper to the inferno?
Government Drone One
Yeah, that’s it.
Government Drone two
Dude that is such a cool name. How did you even come up with that?
Government Drone One
I don’t know, it’s weird; I was thinking of just calling it like option z or something, but that’s just so dated, you know? So yeah, I thought something more punchy, more apocalyptic, make you think, you know?
Government Drone two
Yeah, yeah I get it. Good one. Anyway, take it easy man. Say hi to Michelle and the kids. How old is Beelzebub now?
Government Drone One
Almost ten.
Government Drone two
Hell, time sure flies.
Government Drone One
It sure does. See you soon man.
Government Drone two
Yeah, you, too.
Government Drone One
Oh, hey. Don’t tell anyone the code words!
Government Drone two
I won’t!

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