So last night I decided to watch Windtalkers. And boy do I wish I hadn’t.
I’ve seen a lot of good movies lately that I’ve been meaning to mention here at some point; maybe I’ll get around to all of them eventually, but this one was so bad that it requires my immediate attention.
I remember being interested in Windtalkers when it first debuted, but I decided not to see it after hearing the less than stellar reviews. I should have stuck with that gut instinct, but there it was on television last night, and really, I thought, how bad could it be?
Having just finished reading a book about the Navajo code talkers (a topic of its own for another time), I was curious about how they were portrayed in this film. But this movie was so bad, that it doesn’t even matter. Seriously.
The screenplay is horrible. It’s filled with every cliché under the sun, including the “Nobody else is dying today!” cry of the hero as he becomes a maniac enemy-killing machine; apparently all Navajos live in Monument Valley; and the story barely even touches on the experience of the code talkers. It’s just a vehicle for Nicolas Cage’s feeling-guilty-he’s-still-alive, post-traumatic-stress-afflicted marine.
Everything is so contrived and ridiculous. The explosions are greatly exaggerated; Nicolas Cage has about 8000 lives; and it contains the worst usage of stock footage that I’ve seen in any movie made in the last twenty years. It’s like they weren’t even trying.
It’s such a shame, because the story of the code talkers has so much potential. I think the right people could have made a wonderful film about the code, and the men who, by many accounts, were responsible for our victory in the Pacific.
Once the memory of this stinker has faded, I hope someone tries to tell this story again, the right way.