Tuesday, December 2, 2014


The impossibility for Angelina Jolie's Unbroken

The story has floated for decades, and it took the wattage of Angelina Jolie to finally bring the incredible story of Louis Zamperini to the big screen. On December 25, the eagerly anticipated Unbroken will be released.
MV5BMTY3ODg2OTgyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk1OTAwMzE@._V1_SX214_AL_This is one of the most amazing and inspirational stories you will ever read, or watch. Let us just get this out of the way right now - there is no way this film can do justice to the bio written by Laura Hillenbrand and carved by the man himself. There is so much to this man's life that it feels like it could be a triology.
Producers had hoped to release the movie before Zamperini died, but he passed on July 2, 2014. He was 97. Yes, they wanted to release it so badly they sat on it until December 25. I'm sure waiting to generate Oscar buzz had nothing to do with the release.
Zamperini's story has been chronicled before, by Hillenbrand, and other news organizations but like many scripts and concepts it had never been made into a movie until Jolie's weight and pull aligned moons and planets.
Like any film that attempts to adapt a beloved or best-selling book, there are numerous challenges for the viewer familiar with the initial impressions by the first release. The problem for the film Unbroken will not be that as much as the chronicling the sheer number of incomprehensible events this man endured in a standard feature length film. The film is 137 minutes, and that feels about three hours too short to properly do this man's life justice.
This man's life is too much for one movie.
In the 1930s, Zamperini was a distance runner and on his way to becoming one of the best in the world. He competed in the '36 Olympics in Berlin. When World War II broke out, he joined the Air Force.
On a mission over the South Pacific, his plane crashed and he and two men were adrift at sea for about two months. The survived shark attacks, no water, enemy fire, etc. This story of survival could be a movie.
Angelina-jolie-600He was captured by the Japanese, and for the next 16 months endured a level of hell beyond that of the ordinary POW. As a POW, Zamperini became a target of one especially cruel and mean Japanese soldier, known only as The Bird who would haunt him for years. This part of Zamperini's life could have been a movie.
When he returned after the war, he went through a long depression that nearly ended his marriage, and then his life. He didn't begin his climb back until his wife drug him to a spirtual gathering led by a then very young Billy Graham in Los Angeles.
Zamperini would eventually return to Japan, and personally tried to forgive all of those Japanese soldiers who abused him, and his friends, for so long. He would never find The Bird, whose life itself could have been a movie.
This story and this life are so incredible there is no way Jolie can screw this up. All they have to do is get out of the way.
Despite the inherent limitations of a Hollywood movie, and some of the tough editing cuts that must happen, it is better that Louis Zamperini's life finally made it to the big screen so more people can learn, and be inpsired, by such an amazing man and life.

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