Friday, March 18, 2011

Homefront and Red Dawn: Because North Korea Doesn't Go to the Movies

MGM is changing the Chinese villains to North Koreans in the Red Dawn remake.

Why is this so damn funny to me?

Maybe it’s because a remake of Red Dawn is so very unnecessary. It was a mediocre movie that makes the most sense as a product of the Cold War. If they’re going to remake it, shouldn’t it at least reflect current events? North Korea could, if she were so inclined, probably set in motion a chain of events that would lead to World War III. But lead an invasion of the United States? Come on.

Or maybe it’s because the exact same thing happened to the game Homefront (just released on Tuesday and next up on my playlist). That makes perfect sense, since the game and the movie have the exact same plot.* For extra irony points, Homefront was scripted by John Milius, who also wrote the script for the 1984 Red Dawn.

Milius was obliged to invent a future chain of unlikely events to explain the Korean invasion force in Homefront. Because Red Dawn is already in the can, I wonder if they'll try to explain it at all.

Having said that, I should also concede that it all comes down to execution. Homefront is probably the type of game where the action matters more than the story. I suspect Red Dawn is also that type of movie.

So what can these incidents teach us? As my friend Eric suggested, creative choices that alienate 1.1 billion potential customers are not necessarily savvy business choices. But if a story is contingent on such a choice, undoing it can twist logic into knots as you attempt to explain it.

Also, it’s a good thing no one in Korea plays video games or goes to the movies. That's South Korea, of course, but don’t forget that they’re along for the invasion in Homefront!

* * *
*Well, maybe not in the particulars. But each sets the stage with a Korean invasion of America that presumably is beaten back by our heroes, whether they be Marines or “Wolverines!”

Check out the Shame Pile Homefront review.

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