Live Action Movies

Captain Phillips

Time for another super realistic story. This one’s about a boat that was attacked by pirates and the Captain of the crew was able to ultimately stall them long enough for the heroes to make it to safety. It’s naturally a gruesome battle between both factions, but not a whole lot of actual fighting since it’s more general action or in fighting among the pirates. Definitely not my kind of film and I’d argue that it could have been a much better adaption as well. You’ll be glancing at your watch quite a lot as this one goes on.

An interesting angle is the fact that the film gives the pirates a lot of scenes. I suppose that this is for development, but it comes off as more annoying than anything else. Let’s fact it, you don’t care about the villains because they’re just here to try and get rich as they shoot and injure the unsuspecting crew members. They have their reasons of course, but there’s no way that you’ll be able to generate any sympathy for these guys. None of the villains are likable as you might expect and there is definitely a lot of in-fighting among their members the whole time. One of them even bits the big one during one of the skirmishes.

Meanwhile, Phillips and his crew didn’t do the greatest job of stopping the pirates, but it may be more due to bad ship design than anything else. They’re going through waters where pirates aren’t just a random chance, but are actually expected. Why are there no guns or any defenses that are better than water turrets? Granted, water turrets aren’t a terrible idea, but the way that they were implemented is. Once you turn them on, you can’t turn them off so they just use up water as the pirates stay away until they are down for the count. This is where proper turrets would come in handy or at least a few rifles. It’s definitely annoying to see 3-4 guys take down a group of 20 or more.

On the flip side, it was great to see the government get involved towards the end. They came across as super professional and high-tech next to the other players. They got the good music and the best scenes. It’s a little iffy that they’re immediately reminded a lot that the hostage isn’t really their concern, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things you have to worry about the big picture. The person did sound super unsympathetic to the plight though. The government also looked unprepared in one scene as Phillips made a break for it and swam for a while, but the government’s budget cuts really hurt and they didn’t have any good flash lights. It was dark out so we can’t blame the government for slipping up…right?

The film is definitely pretty violent and over the top though. I’m almost surprised that it wasn’t R and expected it to be, but I suppose that it just made it. At least the pirates speak another language or else we probably would have been bombarded with language throughout the film. As this did not happen, I’ll give the film some mild props for that.

If you’re not too knowledgeable on what happened during this event, then this film should be very informative. Of course, if you don’t want to use up a lot of time watching all of the extra subplots and details in the film, then your best bet is probably just digging up some news articles. You’ll get more of the facts that way and you can do it in a much shorter period of time. It’s a win-win situation isn’t it? I believe that the film could have handled the adaption much better if it had followed 2 pieces of advice. One, they can definitely tone the film down quite a bit. That one’s pretty self explanatory. The other is that the villains should get less screen time. The pirates are not going to be sympathetic villains and no amount of screen time will really be able to alter that. The film could have used the extra moments to focus on the government or the film could have just been made a little shorter. That certainly wouldn’t have hurt the film in the long run.

On a final note, I also agree with the crew over Captain Phillips on not getting into the boat. See, one common mistake that people make is that they listen to demands when a gun is pointed at them, but just think about it. The classic situation of you and a villain pointing guns at each other and the villain says “Put the gun down” If you do…he’ll shoot you anyway. You may as well go for the sudden death. If it’s 5 vs 1, just rush the guy. He can’t take you all down, although if the other 4 chicken out then the gunman will win that round. The last example is the one in the film, don’t get into the boat because then you are outnumbered and defenseless. Nobody will typically be able to rescue you at that point so you should just accept your fate and make a break for it. At least try to escape instead of getting in the boat. When you think about it, that’s definitely your best move. Deciding to write a will when the villains told you to stop moving is another thing that I could really get into as the move made no sense and just resulted in another beating, but I think it’s clear why you wouldn’t make such a move. It’s not as if anyone would ever see the will anyway once you’re underwater and in enemy territory. A somber thought, but one worth thinking about before making such a move. Captain Phillips did save the day though and I’m sure that the situation was very different in real life. He did his country proud.

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