Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Long walk...and a mild jog to freedom.  People forget about the jog.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – 4 out of 5

Bio-pics are a genre that I’m simultaneously interesting in but very leery of. On one hand, they can be fun, entertaining and interesting and, on the other hand, they can be sloppy or heavy-handed and very obvious propaganda…or worse, they can just be boring. Even if I’m interested in the person the film is about, I try to reserve any expectations because it is really easy to screw up a bio-pic. However, I didn’t really see any screw ups in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Also, the movie gives you Mandela holding up a pair of HUGE panties.
That's automatic points in its favor.

You know who Nelson Mandela is, right? If not, then the public schools are failing us as bad as the Tea Baggers with their signs filled with poor grammar and spelling errors are claiming they are failing. Anyway, Mandela (Idris Elba) was a lawyer in South Africa that fought against the racial inequality established by the European settlers. The film followings his involvement in the movement and how he went from non-violent protests to blowing shit up with home made bombs in order to get his point across. Mandela eventually is arrested and is put in prison for 27 years and, upon his release, preaches non-violence to the oppressed and eventually becomes President and ends up becoming history’s most beloved political figure.

No one talks about when Mandela orchestrated the bombing of Axis Chemicals.

Some criticisms about this film is that it is less of a historical film about Nelson Mandela and more of an adaptation of Mandela’s words and his account of his life from his autobiography and this could very well be the case. I’m not a Mandel historian and I sure as hell wasn’t hanging out with him when most of the events in the film take place—I was hindered by the fact I’m not from Africa and wasn’t born until he had already served almost 20 years in prison (still, I guess that’s not a good enough reason for not going over and joining his cause…)—however, these facts aside, I still really enjoyed Long Walk to Freedom and whether or not they are historically accurate didn’t really matter. It didn’t hurt my enjoyment of Captain Phillips to know that the real captain ignored warnings that, if heeded, could have saved him from what happened.

I'm not a Mandela historian, but I'm disappointed they overlooked his time on Asgard
and when he teamed with Jax to kill giant aliens.

The events in the story are interesting and paint a great picture of the politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Add in the fact that Idris Elba was fantastic as the man (of course, it would be silly to expect anything less than awesome from Elba) and the movie really became an inspirational affair. The only real complaint I have is the film doesn’t have much of a replay value to it (it’s definitely not a film I would picture myself watching more than 2 or 3 times in my life) and I didn’t like how the film didn’t focus on Mandela’s early days in his movement. While we get a sense of his action through public displays of protest and speeches, I felt like they sped over this fact to get to his more violence-embraced days and his time in prison. However, this is just a minor complaint and really didn’t take away from the film.

All joking aside, Elba was awesome in this movie.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom tells a great story about a great man from history. There was nothing overtly flashy or slick to the film, it was just a simple presentation of a man who changed the world and was played by a very talented actor. The film does a tremendous job of showing the strength of Mandela’s resolve and how, after all the years of his oppressors trying to break him, he never faltered and that’s what really makes this a great and interesting film.  It's nice to actually experience this through a film and not just read it in a history book.  It also puts into perspective all the first world problems we face.  After watching this film, complaining because the internet is slightly slower today than it was yesterday really doesn't seem that important and when you realize Mandela fought for decades for a cause and we can't even stay dedicated to a cause if it means doing anything more than sharing a link on Facebook, you are able to really get an insight into what the real man went through.

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