We Were Soldiers vs. Platoon Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 8 March 2016

We Were Soldiers vs. Platoon

After watching both of these films I noticed how combat was portrayed in the movie Platoon was different from the movie we were soldiers In the movie we were soldiers it was portrayed around several different officers it was focused on them and how they carried out their mission and how they took care of their men also they showed how on a platoon level and squad level were able to follow the battalion commander on the battlefield some example of the officers such as Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore, Sergeant Major Basil L. Plumley EST. However you tend to lose track of the different officers such as Lt. Herrick that charged up the hill and leads his platoon after a scout and then got himself shoot and his platoon sergeant shoot also and then it focuses the action around Sergeant Ernie Savage how assumes command of what’s left of his platoon after almost being slaughtered and calls in artillery and uses the cover of night to keep the Vietnamese from over-running their small defensive position.

In the movie Platoon the movie really centered on the enlisted man the officers were not seen in the movie a lot like we were soldiers and the officers did not to be take care of their men and in the movie as much as we were soldiers it mainly focused on that one platoon or the squad of soldiers, the interaction between the members of the squad, the squad leader and the platoon sergeant within just that squad I believe that one of the most important differents I have noticed is the era of the movies where made in.

The movie we were soldiers was made in the era of 1965 the Battle of Ia Drang . In 1965 it was the beginning of the war for the United States of America and also begins in America and lets us see the characters with their families, their wives and children, instantly granting them greater depth and therefore heightening the impact when some of them inevitably are killed.

However for the movie platoon, the movie was made in the era of 1967 after the United States of America had been in Vietnam for two year and have settled there, conducted several operations and you do not see any of their family of any soldier in the we were soldiers it focused on the soldier over all it was all most like a world war 2 movie were it did not focuses on the individual soldier other the battalion commander, the platoon sergeant, newspaper journalist some Lieutenant and they were spread all over the battlefield around the landing zone also in we were soldiers they were in and out they had a mission to land in the “Valley of Death” with his 400 men after the enemy and eliminate the Vietnamese attackers, then return back too base.

However in the movie Platoon the focuses on the individual soldier We Were Soldiers begins in America and lets us see the characters with their families, their wives and children, instantly granting them greater depth and therefore heightening the impact when some of them inevitably are killed. The central character is their commander, Colonel Hal Moore (Mel Gibson in a solid and authoritative performance), a well-educated, devoutly religious officer who scarcely bats an eye as bullets whiz past his head but cares deeply for the young men under his command. Moore, a Korean veteran, has studied the errors of the French military which led to their massacre by the North Vietnamese years earlier, and is determined not to lead his soldiers to the same fate, but is none too pleased to learn his regiment has the same name as that of the ill-fated General Custer.

Also figuring prominently is Moore’s hardened second-in-command Sergeant Plumley (Sam Elliott), veteran of airborne operations in WWII and Korea, young and idealistic Lieutenant Geoghan (Chris Klein), daredevil helicopter pilot Crandall (Greg Kinnear), Vietnamese commander, Colonel Ahn (Vietnamese actor Don Duong), the same man who masterminded the defeat of the French a decade before. Ahn is every bit as quick-thinking as Moore and shares his ability to anticipate the other sides actions. Pepper’s character is particularly important; he mirrors many of those in the audience as he enters bright-eyed but is quickly shocked and horrified by the carnage he witnesses first-hand and ultimately feels too overwhelmed to believe he can ever do justice to Moore and his men. It is also significant that Colonel Ahn is never demonized; we see both he and Moore praying, we see both murmuring encouragement to their wounded and weary men, and in one scene they both gaze thoughtfully up at the moon.

In the movie Platoon there are three principal characters are Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), the young college dropout, who’s the film’s hesitant mouthpiece, and the two sergeants who have effectively split the platoon between them. They are Barnes (Tom Berenger), a seriously out-of-control, life-sized, clay-footed version of the ”fighting machine” Sylvester Stallone glorifies in ”Rambo,” and Elias (Willem Dafoe), a man no less tough than Barnes, but whose tours of duty have transformed him into a soft-spoken, almost embarrassed prophet of doom.

Platoon is semi-autobiographical. Stone, who served as an infantryman in Vietnam, has grafted many of his experiences into the film, and the primary characters are based on individuals Stone served with. The lead, Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), represents the filmmaker. One could reasonably argue that the reason Platoon is so good is because it has such a deeply personal meaning for Stone. Consequently, his tendencies to over-direct and show off, which have marred some of his other efforts, are not in evidence here. There’s no razzle-dazzle – just basic, powerful storytelling. Platoon is not primarily a political film. The politics are all in the background. The movie isn’t concerned about the rights or wrongs of being in Vietnam. Those things are abstract, and this is about the concrete: surviving to see another fight, counting down the days until a tour of duty is over, and living each moment with the Angel of Death hovering close. The Viet Cong are the enemy – not because they’re Communists, but because they are shooting to kill. Platoon offers the point-of-view of the grunt, not of the officer or the strategist or the politician.

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  • Date: 8 March 2016

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