Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Olympus Has Fallen

I originally wrote this a little over a month ago in response to a number of people claiming that, of this year's two White House destruction movies, not only was Olympus Has Fallen the better movie, but that it was the more believable one at that. However, I held off on posting this rebuttal at the time since I figured that nobody really gave a crap. But then, in the past week, a few more people have popped up making similar claims again, so now seems about as appropriate a time as any to go ahead and post my little rant, so here goes.

So I keep seeing reactions comparing White House Down to Olympus Has Fallen where people are claiming the latter to be the more believable movie, which I find to be unbelievable. As I mentioned in my White House Down review, neither movie exactly has the most believable of premises, but of the two, White House Down's is far easier to buy and requires nowhere near as much suspension of disbelief as that other movie. Now, I'm about to go into some major spoiler territory on both of these movies, so watch out for that as I get into why White House Down had a far more believable takeover than Olympus Has Fallen.

So both movies deal with the premise of the White House being overtaken, right? However, the way in which those takeovers go down is pretty different in both movies. Olympus Has Fallen has an international takeover, while White House Down is an inside job. Also, another big difference is that, unlike the local terrorists in White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen's international terrorists' poorly planned attack relied heavily on characters doing very specific things that they wouldn't normally do. Meanwhile, the guys on the inside in White House Down required no such thing, meaning that if they failed, it was ultimately on them.

The main bad guy's plot to take over the White House in Olympus Has Fallen relies pretty much entirely on the President going against protocol in order to allow his international guests to stay locked up in his bunker alongside him. And not only that, but it also relied on the President's Secret Service actually allowing for such a break in protocol to take place under these particular circumstances. Now, I don't know whether or not this is actual protocol, but the film establishes these rules to us, and then also establishes that the President and his staff have absolutely no regard for these protocols whatsoever. And if these two completely unplannable and convenient lapses in judgement never took place, then the entire hostage aspect of the terrorists' plan is instantly nullified. So, literally, the only reason their big plans even began to get underway was because the President and his staff proved themselves to be entirely incompetent at their jobs. I must say, that is some brilliant planning, guys.

And the word incompetent doesn't even begin to truly describe how pathetic his Secret Service was when it took to dealing with the battle on the White House lawn. They literally ran into bullets. No attempt was ever made by these highly trained professionals to take cover, they just kept piling on out right into open fire. Um, yeah, these guys shoulda been fired a long time ago. It's like they were going out of their way trying their damnedest to die.

And then there's the John McClane of the bunch, played by Gerard Butler, the sole survivor who makes his way through the White House and single-handedly takes out the terrorist threat. Except, he's formerly Secret Service, and hasn't been involved in about a year or so. And yet, despite his being relieved of his duties so long ago, he still just happens to know all the codes to get into every hidden vault in the building in order to acquire the tools that help him along the way. Now, I'm not saying that this is the case, but I would like to believe that such codes would get changed after such changes in staff, for obvious reasons, but hey, maybe I'm wrong there. And if I am, then by all means, ignore this point!

But amongst all of the idiocy, what I couldn't take the most was how the terrorists actually succeeded in fulfilling their endgame. The idea was that the President and two other high ranking officials have codes that are all needed in order to destroy all of America's nukes in their silos, thus leaving the country a wasteland. All three codes are needed to pull off the plan, and so the terrorists go to work, torturing each of them for the codes. At first, the two officials refuse profusely. However, our nation's leader orders both of them to give up their codes, adding that they needn't worry, because there's no way that they'll get his.

Cut to the end, where they not only succeed in getting the President's last code, but they somehow manage to do so without the President suffering so much as a scratch or a bruise. So there you have it, folks. The President may have saved his own ass, as well as those two government officials, but guess what? The whole country's about to be fucked anyways, so what the hell was the point? The portrayal of the President was that of a selfish, worthless, cowardly piece of trash, and yet the movie still tries to make him a likeable character who we should get behind anyways. Bullshit.

I've heard some people claim that the idea of the White House being taken over as portrayed in Olympus Has Fallen to be a scary thought. Yet, to me, the scariest aspects of the movie all came down not to the terrorists' actions, but rather, to the actions taken by the President in response. And after this mess, after literally condemning the country in which he has sworn to do anything within his power to protect, his ass deserves to rot in a fucking prison cell for the rest of his days. If this is the kind of President that Harvey Dent was gonna make, then it's just as well that his two-faced ass turned to villainy before he ever made it to office.

"You want those codes that determine the entire fate of the United States of America? Let's flip on it!"

Meanwhile, on the precise opposite end of the spectrum, when actually put to the test to negotiate with the terrorists over the life of a little girl in White House Down, that movie's President actually does his fucking job and calmly explains to the understanding girl that the needs of the country as a whole are at stake, and he can't initiate the strike that would leave the country in ruins just to save her life. And I was thrilled by this decision from the movie. In that one swift stroke, President Foxx proved himself a far more viable movie President than President Dent ever was.

And as for the takeover itself, by making it an inside job, White House Down also avoids needing to tackle any such convolutions or conveniences that may or may not come their way by having it run by people already completely in the know. And the Secret Service being taken out is also more believable as well due to the resulting confusion that this causes.

So yeah, while these aren't even the only comparable aspects that show White House Down to be the more believable movie of the two, they're the ones that stood out the most to me. In fact, that only aspect that Olympus Has Fallen has over White House Down is the fact that an international attack itself does seem like a more believable scenario, if not necessarily as portrayed in this movie at least. But needless to say, I'm a bit baffled by the reactions that Olympus Has Fallen is somehow better than White House Down, and wonder just how much people actually remember of that forgettable movie. White House Down is so much simpler, and makes so much more sense, all the while making our own guys look far less incompetent than they're portrayed to be in Olympus Has Fallen. Not to mention that it's a more fun and charming movie that's far more aware of its ridiculous concept, and with much more likeable characters that I could actually get behind, but hey, that's just how I see it!

And yes, it may seem like I'm putting way too much thought into these two movies that mostly ask of us not to think about them too much. But where as I had no problem accepting the situations as they played out in White House Down, the huge, gaping flaws in Olympus Has Fallen were a constant nag that never escaped me throughout the duration of the movie, to the point where they really couldn't be ignored.


  1. You make some good points Chris. None of these movies are really believable but I gotta go with Olympus Has Fallen as the most believable and better action of the two. I was surprised at the overall comedic approach in White House Down but after awhile it got too cheesy for me.

    The villains in OHF were much more believable, however I do prefer president Jamie Foxx over President Eckhart.

    1. Heh, outside of my friend who I saw these movies with, I'm having a hard time finding anyone who agrees with me here, lol. :P But it was WHD's more comedic approach that allowed me to forgive any of its idiotic moments, in comparison to OHF's more serious take. OHF just didn't seem nearly as aware of how ridiculous a movie it was, but I can see how WHD's cheese could be off-putting.

      At least we agree on President Foxx, however. B)

    2. I can add my agreement and add a couple more problems with the movie. Morgan Freeman was the Acting President. Which means Aaron Eckhart was no longer in charge. As such, when the terrorist was threatening to kill the President, Freeman should have said, "You don't have the President. I'm the President. And the US does not negotiate with terrorists."

      The same for the Admiral and the Defense Secretary. They should have ignored his orders to give up the codes. "With all due respect, sir, [Freeman] is the current POTUS, so I can't obey that order."

    3. Nice! Didn't even consider those myself, but good catches there. Thanks for the contribution. :)

  2. Since I haven't watched White House Down, I can't say anything. If I have to choose, I'll choose Scandal over those two. Great show, btw. You need to watch.

    1. You should definitely watch WHD if you get the chance. As for Scandal, I've heard good things about it, so I may need to look into it. :)