“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity has a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.” Continental Congress Declaration, 1775
Film Analysis on the Patriot. Our life has always been surrounded by media; from advertisements to the major business of entertainment. Due to their constant presence, they have a large influence in every major aspect, especially, in the young generation’s life. During the teenage years, a person is on a course where they develop the skills of knowledge. One of the most important entertainment companies, Walt Disney, quoted, “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” This statement represents all media goals, to entertain people regardless of biases along the way. For this reason, a movie like The Patriot by Roland Emmerich about the American Revolution is a good example of the media lapse of influencing young minds.
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Nevertheless, young minds are still relying on media to expand their knowledge as it is a pleasant way of gaining knowledge. In view of the fact that there several accurate about the historical event. First of all, the American Revolution did take place in South and North Carolina where the movie is focusing its climax at. The way the war move throughout America is reliable and the characters are based differently but somehow accurate. Such as Benjamin Martin who is based on Francis ‘the swamp fox’ Marion and Thomas Sumter, General Tavington who is based on General ‘Bloody Banny’ Tarleton. Thirdly, the four wars shown in the movie are based on a correct history of five major wars that took place in the American Revolution; The Camden, Charleston, Cowpens, Yorktown wars.
In spite of this particular historical accuracy, portions of the movie storyline raised a predicament among the audience regarding the factual error of the true event. For instance, the war tactics used in the movie; militia. It seems that the British were held back claiming North Carolina due to the superiority of Ben Martin and ‘farmers with pitchforks.’ This isn’t true as the truth was that the continental army was able to push forward and defeat the British. Another example is weaponry. Although the guns are precise according to history, the canon is way off the exact history. Canon do exist in those times, but exploding cannons do not and the old canon function was to tore down the defence line/building by shooting big, fast canons. They don’t explode and burn people, however, they do roll on the ground at a scary speed that can break your bones. A third prove of inaccuracy is the rights of slaves.
George Washington has drawn a clear line to not include slaves in the war, yet the continental army is short of the candidate and bends the rules. The inaccuracies happen when Occam, a dark-skin slave is told that every slave that serves in the continental army for 12 months will get freedom and paid for the months they had served. There is no such offer given to slaves, however, the slave settlement where the slave are giving few freedom does exist until today. Studying all of these inaccuracies, you can consider its effect on the young mind learning fictionist information. As Sydney J. Harris quoted, “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” Watching this movie kept young people continuously reflect on the irony of the battle and its inaccuracies to their own selves. They should’ve moved forward and expanded their horizon by knowing the exact fact and detecting credible sources.
By analyzing the specific facts the movie had offered, we can detect various biases that lead us all to take sides instead of the main excuse always thrown by the producer, “It is mere entertainment, no actual harm done.” Young minds, and especially tenth grader who will study this topic, always grab the first idea or message a movie offer instead of taking a step back and reconsider if it is the real message the movie is trying to get across. The movie starts out with Benjamin Martin’s family (especially boys) who are really excited to fight in the war. As Gabriel similarly quoted, “I’m fighting for freedom, what are you fighting for Father? Oh wait, you don’t.” Its influences and drives the audience to see that this revolution is good and they have to do whatever it takes to win it. You will be a fool or coward if you don’t take sides with the rebels or patriots (quoted by Anne Howard, Gabriel’s to-be wife).
This leads us to another example of bias, viewing the British to be destructive in a very pessimistic way. General Tavington as an illustration kept on appearing in the scene where the British are trying to defeat the American army. When you follow the plot of the story, it is as if he was responsible for the British loss. If he didn’t arrest and plan to kill Gabriel, Thomas wouldn’t have died, if he didn’t burn the church with Gabriel’s wife, Gabriel wouldn’t have died, and if he didn’t commence brutal act, the British might have won and he would live contently because Ben Martin wouldn’t have avenge and will stay as a semi-Loyalist. As we can see, the implication you kept getting is the British troops are cruel, loyalists are foes, and patriots are always benevolent, never unfair. If truth be told, using a militia force is considered an unfair advantage. We can’t see the British point of view, therefore it would be unwise and very bias to support the patriots only according to these few facts the movie showed.
These biases are very explicit although the director seems to insert certain scenes to cover it up such as the talk Cornwallis had with Tavington or the ‘comedic’ scenes on how the militia uses tricks or in other words cheat to weaken and scare off the British. These biases support the inaccuracies of the facts the movie offers and the reason why it is impractical to show the young generation a movie that is focused on fiction that alters a very significant history. Referring back to the media, Hollywood always found a way to entertain a massive amount of audience and improvise the plot of entertainment media along the way disregarding the quality of authenticity. The Patriot movie was released during Independence Day, July 4 and was nominated for many awards and hit the box office, then again quickly faded as controversies of factual error rage in America.
Altering history for sake of a movie can be witnessed to happen continuously, one way or another is just to entertain the audience and gain business profits. The reason seems acceptable for entertainment, but not in favour of educational reason. Students attend school to learn and expand their knowledge, not to be entertained and hoped to understand the implicit meaning of the subject. We live the life of true knowledge, not fiction and imprecise idea. Ergo, the doubtable idea of varying actual facts from a course of history isn’t going to enlighten a student in their education. A movie that should’ve been shown to the young generation for educational purposes should only contain precise facts, such as Revolution (1985) Johnny Tremain (1957), John Paul Jones (1959), The Devil’s Disciple (1959) (Patriot Source – Other Films). These classics show the real fact not because they intend to, but the lack of modern technology. However, it shows that if the entertainment media want to show the real facts, they could. It is the modern-day trend that we’re able to handle countless inadequate cartoons and value sexual immorality, yet defeated by real facts of true events. Stay cautious against Hollywood standards.
- “17th Century Dress.” Dress up. 24 October 2009.
- “American Revolution.” History. 23 October 2009. <www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/revolution/.>
- “Historical Accuracy of The Patriot”. October 26, 2009. <http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2004/10/6/235152/779>.
- Cummings, Scott. “Facts or Fictions.” The Patriot. 26 October 2009. <www.thepatriotresource.com>
- “Historical Inaccuracies.” Journal. 27 October 2009. <http://www.historycooperative.org/cgi-bin/justtop.cgi?act=justtop&url=http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/105.4/mr_3.html>
- “Inaccurate and Bias.” The Patriot. 26 October 2009. <http://tfruge.wordpress.com/2007/09/25/no-2-the-patriot-inaccurate-bias/>
- “Movie Review.” The Patriot. 24 October 2009. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0187393/>
- Other Films.” Patriot Source. 26 October 2009. <http://www.patriotresource.com/resources/film/otherfilms.html>
- The Patriot. Produced by Dean Devlin, Mark Gordon, and Gary Levinsohn; directed by Roland
- Emmerich; written by Robert Rodat. 2000; colour, 160 min. Distributor: Columbia Pictures.
- “The Swamp Fox.” The Patriot. 23 October 2009. <http://www.awesomestories.com/flicks/the-patriot/the-swamp-fox>