On Wednesday, reports emerged that the makers of the upcoming “Red Dawn” remake were digitally altering the villains of the film to be North Koreans rather than Chinese forces which is how it was shot in production.
The reasons for the change were the most obvious – economic. China has a lucrative box office for American movies and MGM would like that money, plus “Dawn” cost a considerable $70 million to produce. By changing the antagonists though, significant story elements of the movie have been altered as well including much of the reason behind the invasion.
The change has not yielded good PR for the movie and today Producer Tripp Vinson went on the defensive in an interview with AICN. Initially, he explains that the changes were not done lightly and some high-profile consultation took place:
“The changes made to Red Dawn in the last few weeks were made in consultation with military think tanks and people that specialize in game theory. Really smart people that spend their days constructing doomsday scenarios for our military and government. The type of people that know the limitations of the North Korean military. The type of people that can project a series of events that could lead to some very scary things happening to our Country. I can assure you, we listened well to those people, especially with regards to the capability of the North Korean military.”
A commendable answer and one that on its own might satisfy a lot of people. However he went on a paragraph or two longer than he probably should have as immediately after came this rant:
“Red Dawn isn’t for everyone. So, if you are interested in seeing a movie filled with preachy political discussions – Red Dawn ain’t for you. If you love movies in which Americans are the bad guys – Red Dawn ain’t for you. If you get emotional watching daytime television – Red Dawn ain’t for you. If you’re a vegetarian – Red Dawn probably ain’t for you.
But! If you like meat with your potatoes, muscle cars that roar, tanks, guns and things blowing the fuck up by American’s kicking some Commie ass – then we have something special coming your way. WOLVERINES!”
That isn’t the end of the story. In fact Libertas Film Magazine, a conservative film blog, saw an early screening of the unaltered film and had planned to hold their review. Now however, with the film “being politically censored due to pressures coming from potential distributors”, they’ve posted a spoiler-heavy review of the film. Here’s some select quotes:
“The film opens with a series of title cards explaining how the United States has over-extended itself both militarily and financially, and put itself in deep economic debt. The upshot is that the Communist Chinese, eying America and its financial weakness, are ready to collect on this debt.”
“The film is much less philosophically or ideologically oriented than John Milius’ original film, as [Director Dan] Bradley keeps the emphasis on action and a brisk pace.”
“This is an important subtext of the film: specifically, that America has stretched itself too thin, and neglected to take care of its ‘home base,’ so to speak.”
“There are also some delicious – albeit indirect – references to how resistance to the Chinese invasion seems stronger in the Red States, especially in the Heartland and in border states like Arizona and Texas”
“At no point does the new Red Dawn descend to racist stereotypes. The Chinese are depicted essentially as cool-headed professionals on a mission.”
For now, the ball is in the court of the filmmakers – will they proceed with the changes and if so, how will that affect the film itself and its marketing campaign?