HOLLYWOOD: Use of History

There are different moments in history that Hollywood re-creates (ex: Pearl Harbor, Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot, Gladiator, Stalingrad, Braveheart, etc). But I’d like to focus on two movies in particular that uses history for their own storyline or portraying the actual event itself

1. Titanic (1997)

This movie is an example of how hollywood uses a point in history and embellishes it with a story of their own (Leonardo and Kate’s love story). It uses the tragic event in 1912 to paint the background picture of the main story-line of Leonardo and Kate. The main point isn’t the historical event rather, the fictional love story. When watching the director’s commentary on this movie, focus was greatly on portraying the couples battle in being together during the tragic event (which they made the audience feel as if they were on the Titanic). They do a very good job in presenting fictional information in such a way that it could imply it is factual and actually happened on the Titanic.

On the other hand…

2. The Passion of Christ

In this film, it depicts the crucifixion of Jesus and walks one through the whole process of His death and resurrection. Although there are possible fictional interaction between Mary (mother of Jesus) and Jesus, and other personal interpretations of what Satan could be or look like, the fictional parts isn’t the main storyline but the historical account of the crucifixion of Jesus. When I watched the directors commentary on this, they focused on how to best portray the actual event and kind of reminded me of when we watched the Saving Private Ryan commentary and how they tried to recreate the actual event. it’s cool that they go even as far as making the whole movie in the original language that was spoken at the time (Aramaic) and even the clothing and architecture was made to accuracy.

it’s interesting to see the way hollywood uses historical events and either make a movie on it or use the event itself to paint the background picture of their own created plot within the event. It’s cool to see the creativity that one can have using past events and creating their own story from history. And it’s also neat to see hollywood make a historical even look more vivid and real, rather than a mundane and boring school-like educational film.

How do you think history should be used in movies?

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3 Responses to “HOLLYWOOD: Use of History”

  1. hawaii808 Says:

    Well you have to remember that the people in Hollywood’s number one priority is to make money. And the only way to do that is by selling a product they know people will want to buy into. Imagine watching titanic just about titanic, and how the ship inevitably goes down, it would seem more like a docu-pick rather than a movie. the added conflict created by the two lovers trying to be-together and survive this horrid ordeal, makes us as the audience evoke emotions of sympathy and compassion towards these two because we want them to survive grow old together (mushy mushy stuff). If this bond between the two was not created Titanic would not have gotten th reviews or awards it received.

  2. hawaii808 Says:

    Well you have to remember that the people in Hollywood’s number one priority is to make money. And the only way to do that is by selling a product they know people will want to buy into. Imagine watching titanic just about titanic, and how the ship inevitably goes down, it would seem more like a docu-pick rather than a movie. the added conflict created by the two lovers trying to be-together and survive this horrid ordeal, makes us as the audience evoke emotions of sympathy and compassion towards these two because we want them to survive grow old together (mushy mushy stuff). If this bond between the two was not created Titanic would not have gotten the reviews or awards it received.
    In the Passion for example it is some much more intense than previous films that show the chastisement of Jesus. It was more graphic and made for a more gripping and heart felt movie. Thats why so many people watched these two films because they were more than just a sinking ship or a Jesus being crucified. Now is this a bad thing for Hollywood capitalizing on these historic events Hell No and thats because in doing this they make the audience more involved and actually care about what happens and keep us into the movie the full time. And they are worth the money to see. And hardly ever are they bad films.

  3. This makes me think of the movie pearl harbor. Just like titanic it involves a fictional love story in a historical event but the big difference is that most people liked titanic and most people didn’t like pearl harbor. Whats the difference? Does it really matter how “history” is used?

    I think that Hollywood’s use of history is just one of their many methods to tell a story. They put the same story line in front of it. Passion of the Christ stands out as unique in my mind because its different and yet successful. Maybe it only did well because there are so many Christians in the world.

    But then again I think that in the end it really doesn’t matter. Hollywood just wants to make money.

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