Pitch Perfect 3 slammed as ‘blatant war propaganda’
PITCH Perfect 3 has received its fair share of bad reviews from critics, but one writer has gone even further and suggested the movie is "ninety minutes of Pentagon propaganda".
Writing for Medium, Caitlin Johnstone said she "wasn't expecting a masterpiece, but I also wasn't expecting to be blasted in the face with ninety minutes of blatant war propaganda from the United States Department of Defence".
If you haven't seen Pitch Perfect 3 yet, the Bellas get back together and travel across Europe to entertain American troops stationed abroad.
There are several other bands on the tour and whichever group is deemed the best at the end wins the chance to open for DJ Khaled at one of his shows.
In her scathing review, Ms. Johnstone argued there was "no reason whatsoever" for parts of the film to be set on US military bases.
"There was nothing about the plot of Pitch Perfect 3 that required this; any music tour of any kind would have worked just as well," she wrote.
"The antagonist had nothing to do with the military, the protagonists were a civilian acapella singing group, and the general conflicts and resolutions of the film were entirely uninvolved with anything related to the armed forces of any nation."
Johnstone wrote that the military was glorified in Pitch Perfect 3 which was filled with "handsome, sexy servicemen ... non-stop saluting, flag-waving and patriotic 'thank you for your service' lines".
"You could not possibly pack more glorification of the US war machine into a movie if you tried," she wrote.
"From top to bottom, a sequel to a popular movie about an all-female singing group was built to normalise the globe-spanning war machine that is closely approaching a trillion dollar budget and recruit teenage girls into its ranks to be used for slaughter and destruction."
Now before you write Johnstone off as a conspiracy theorist, there is some truth to her claims that the film was "propagandistic".
The makers of Pitch Perfect 3, like any movie makers who wish to use toys from the military or film on actual military bases, had to get permission from the US Department of Defence.
Journalist David Robb detailed the approval process in his book, Operation Hollywood.
"The first thing you have to do is send in a request for assistance, telling them what you want pretty specifically - ships, tanks, planes, bases, forts, submarines, troops - and when you want this material available," Robb told Mother Jones.
"Then you wait and see if they like your script or not. If they like it, they'll help you; if they don't, they won't. Almost always, they'll make you make changes to the military depictions. "And you have to make the changes that they ask for, or negotiate some kind of compromise, or you don't get the stuff.
"Then when you go to shoot the film, you have to have what I call a 'military minder' ... someone from the military on the set to make sure you shoot the film the way you agreed to."
And finally, once the movie is finished it has to be screened for and approved by the Pentagon bosses.
Filmmakers can make movies without military approval but they'll have to pay through the nose for access to equipment and bases.
"A lot of the studio heads tell their producers: 'We're not going to make this film unless we get military assistance, because it would be too expensive, so you'd better make sure the script conforms to what they want'," Robb explained to Mother Jones.
From the military's point of view, they claim they just want films to represent what life is really like in the army/navy/air force.
Philip Strub, who is the director of entertainment media at the US Department of Defence, told The Guardian in 2009, "our desire is that the military are portrayed as good people trying to do the right thing the right way".
"That's probably our single most important imperative. We want the equipment to be operated in a way that's more or less the way it would be; and for servicemen to act towards each other and towards others as they would in real life."
But Johnstone clearly feels the makers of Pitch Perfect 3 went too far to appease the military.
"I love Pitch Perfect," she wrote. "To take that and twist it into another advertisement for the bloodthirsty, child-killing, empire building war machine was all kinds of heartbreaking to me."