Criticism of Olympus Has Fallen
Olympus Has Fallen is an American film released in the year twenty thirteen. Written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, the movie, which runs for a total of one hundred and twenty minutes, was highly anticipated by movie fanatics. The movie stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman and is directed by Hollywood film guru Antoine Fuqua. Olympus Has Fallen is about an attack of the Whitehouse by North Korean terrorists who also capture the president (played by Aaron Eckhart). A secret service agent (Gerard Butler) saves the president. Butler engages the terrorists in a game of wit and brawn until he defeats them single handedly. The movie underscores the fact that no matter what Americans go through they will always remain strong and will defeat their enemies at the end of the day. The theme of patriotism with undertones of political propaganda is obvious in the film. Olympus Has Fallen is an Action film. Violence is part of Action films hence the characters often involve force to achieve their targeted goals. This movie falls in the same category as movies like GI Joe: Retaliation and Red Dawn, which are among some of the sensational action movies in the market. The movie targets an adult audience who can enjoy as well as critically understand the underlying tones of the movie. More so, viewership is not limited to a female or male audience although males are bound to enjoy it more because of its violent scenes. From a personal point of view, the movie has a number of loopholes. The director of the movie could have done more to make the movie appear more practical and authentic. However, it is still a commendable production compared to other productions in this genre.
Olympus Has Fallen begins with the first family at Camp David over the Christmas holidays. The president’s son is enthusiastic about the secret service and enjoys learning simple Intel from secret service agent Mike Bunning (played by Gerard Butler). It is obvious that Mike has a special connection with the president’s son since he opts to travel with the secret service instead of travelling with his parents. As fate would have it, the presidential motorcade is involved in an accident on a bridge. Mike Bunning managed to save the president but could not save the president’s wife (played by Ashley Jude). After the accident, Mike Banning is demoted from his position and is given a job in the office. This job bores him and he hardly shows enthusiasm for monotonous paper work. A break comes through for him to get back into action after the white house, which goes by the code name ‘Olympus’ is attacked by North Korean Terrorists. Mike Banning rushes to the white house where he sets on a mission to save the president. Meanwhile, the North Koreans have sent fighter jets to bomb their way into the white house. They also use suicide bombers and heavy military ammunition to bring down ‘Olympus’. At the end, they make their way into the White House and kill all the security detail. By this time, the terrorist leader Kang (played by Rick Yune) had already captured the president and had lock him up in the Bunker together with some members of the cabinet. Mike Banning finds his way around the white house, gets into the oval office, communicates with the speaker now acting president (Morgan Freeman), rescues the president’s son, stops the terrorist, Kang, from setting of the nuclear warheads, rescues the president and emerges wounded but Heroic.
Peter Bradshaw, an entertainment writer with The Guardian, describes Olympus as a movie that is ‘an unfortunate decent’ (Bradshaw).He argues that the movie has a shallow and unbelievable plot. In his opinion, the writing of the movie script is poor and does not meet the demands of the modern film industry. Bradshaw is of the opinion that the movie is not as captivating as other movies in the same genre. He compares Olympus Has Fallen to the movie Independence Day. In his comparison, he notes that the movie Independence Day has an allure and twist that is absent in Olympus (Bradshaw). Brian A. Feldman of the Harvard Crimson is of a different opinion altogether. In his review, Feldman describes Olympus as a gift to modern cinema (Feldman). He cites that the movie is an adventure in its own right. He also acknowledges that the movie exposes rare talent in the making of action thrillers. Feldman remarks that the best part of the movie is its unpredictable twists and the convincing execution of events. A.O. Scott of the New York Times is quick to refute the colorful review given by Feldman. Scott describes the movie as a letdown to movie lovers. In addition, he uses the term ‘terrible’ in describing the movie to emphasize his disappointment over the same (Scott).His greatest issue, according to his review, is the poor quality of its production. The movie, he says is an underbred version of diehard cinema (Scott). Glenn Kenny of MSN Entertainment terms the movie Olympus as an average production. He notes that action lovers had expected more from the movie in terms of the plot and themes. However, he commends the writers for trying to make the movie more adventurous than political. Kenny concludes that the movie brings nothing new to the domain of action thrillers. In spite of this, he recommends movie lovers to watch it since there are ‘a few things to enjoy’ in the movie (Kenny). Personally, Olympus as a movie is not as bad as the critics term it. There are many admirable qualities about it. Although it is not the production of the century, it is certainly not the worst either. The movie has an incredibly written plot that only needed proper execution to become an award-winning movie.
The actors in the movie have also received their fair share of criticism. Cammila Collar of televison guide notes in her review, that that the actors give a poor performance. She describes Gerard Butler as a highly incompetent actor who does not show much action compared to other actors like Bruce Willis. In fact, the writer remarks that in this movie, Gerard Butler is a poor imitation of Bruce Willis (Collar). Collar also notes that Butler does nothing to add to the humor in the movie. He says that the only simple acting that Butler demonstrates is smirking at every line that the opponent makes. He smiles or rather smirks at the terrorist’s threats. This is supposed to make him appear super-confident and reassured. However, Collar insists that this depiction makes him look like a sorry depiction of comedy (Collar). Zwecker Bill, an online movie reviewer appreciates the acting of most of the cast. He notes that the minister of defense (played by Mellissa Leo) plays a convincing role after her capture. For example, Mellissa convinces the audience of her allegiance to the nation when she walks out of the white house chanting the national creed in gibberish. Zwecker also agrees that an actor like Angela Basset also fits into her role as the head of the secret service. In addition, Morgan Freeman, in Zwecker’s opinion fits the role of the speaker and later as the acting president (Zwecker). However, Feldman feels that Morgan Freeman could have played a better role instead of sitting in a boardroom making abstract decisions.
The movie moves at a slow pace and events are given time to develop at their own rate. This is ensures that the audience is not lost in a rush of events. The plot unfolds slowly and deliberately, as the director is careful to show the audience only glimpses of the final action as it unfolds. Feldman notes that the plot of the movie is sequential making it easy for anyone to follow (Feldman). However, Scott renders the directorship of the movie amateurish, saying that some elements of the plot are confusing and unbelievable. For instance, the ease in which the terrorists penetrate the White House is unbelievable (Feldman). Despite these flaws the camera shots in the movie are exceptional. The camera captures the action in distinct ways. Perhaps the best use of the camera is the close up shoot of the minister of defense walking out of the White House. Another commendable shot is that of the president and secret service agent Mike Bunning (Gerard Butler) walking out of the White House after the rescue mission.
Olympus Has Fallen has been acted in a white house setting, which is also the centre of action in the movie. The movie uses daylight as opposed to artificial lighting. This creates a general laidback atmosphere before the action begins. The costumes fit perfectly with the roles assigned to the characters. The president is always in well cut blue suits while the secret service hangs around in their black suits. The terrorists are also suitable dressed in distressing suits meant to intimidate. The brief depiction of Camp David at the beginning of the movie, Mike Bunning’s home, and the hospital scene renders credibility to the movie. Other than these three brief diversions form the White House as center of action, the other set is in the boardroom where the acting president and the security team sit all day trying to find a solution to the crisis in the White House.
Notably, critics of the film have put forward various sentiments regarding the movie. Some critics have expressed dissatisfaction with some features of the film starting with the selection of the title, the plot of the movie not to mention the themes of the movie. Few critics have something nice to say about the movie apart from the fact that it depicts America’s solidarity and principle of patriotism. However, from a personal viewpoint, the movie exhibits professional directorship and acting. Although the plot is not entirely believable, the actors are convincing in their roles. The brief role of the president’s son, the brief appearance of the first lady, and the snapshots of Gerard’s anxious wife makes the audience connect with the movie since they bring out the family appeal to the movie. The movie might not be the best action movie but it is worth watching because although the plot is painfully predictable, the actors will keep you interested.
Bradshaw, Peter. “Olympus Has Fallen – review.” The Guardian (2013): n.p.
Collar, Cammila. “Olympus Has Fallen: Review.” International Television Guide (2013): n.p.
Feldman, Brian. “”Olympus” Unforgivably Forgettable.” The Havard Crimson (2013): n.p.
Kenny, Glenn. “Olympus Has Fallen’: ‘Die Hard’ with a Butler.” MSN Entertainment (2013).
Scott, Arnold. “Olympus Has Fallen (2013).” The New York Times (2013).
Zwecker, Bill. “Olympus has Fallen: Review.” rogerebert.com (2013).