As any good soldier will tell you, it’s important to be prepared before entering a field of battle or dangerously hostile territory. Similarly, entering the film Green Zone, about the early stages of the Iraq War following the 9/11 attacks and the search for weapons of mass destruction, requires an equal amount of advanced preparation.
So, as a service to those who may enter Green Zone, here is a Politi-Flix instruction guide that should be read and mastered to prepare one for what lurks within:
Politi-Flix Audience Green Zone Survival Guide
a. This pamphlet provides information needed for any member of the public intending to enter and view Green Zone. It does not replace other publications that may provide similar assistance; rather, it takes the applicable guidance regulations and provides a single “go-to” reference for Green Zone preparation guidance recommendations.
a. This pamphlet applies to all audience members except —
(1) Those intending to see other Iraq-themed movies (see The Hurt Locker and others in this series).
(2) Those who choose to wear 3-D glasses throughout the film (even though this is not technically a 3-D film (although given its style it could be confused for one), but very well could become such in the very near future as all films are headed in that direction, especially war-themed films); wearing such glasses for this film is not advised, but nevertheless cannot be restricted and may even help ameliorate some side-effects of this film (see Chapters 2 and 3 below).
(3) Nonstandard viewers who plan to wait for this film to be available on DVD or other media that is locally purchased or otherwise acquired and has not been type-classified or assigned a copyright stock number (CSN). However, any non-tactical (commercial) versions displayed on a large screen are covered by this pamphlet.
b. The guidance found in this pamphlet can be applied to any field theater operation, regardless of the density of seating and equipment type, or whether field theater maintenance support is rudimentary, operational control (OPCON) from an IMAX support company (ISC), or viewed on an area support basis at echelons above multiplex (MUL) level.
a. This publication updates policies due to the prevalent the use of the “queasy-cam” (QC) by Action Movie Makers (AMM). The transition by AMM to QC and, in some cases 3-D, into the theaters of viewing has changed the movie-going experience from a steady-focused depiction to a free-floating, herky-jerky force. Prior to this conversion, AMM divisions had absorbing yet solid structures including tripods, framing shots, dollys, cranes, as well as the long-take and unedited designs.
2-2. Green Zone survival kit
At a minimum, the following equipment, material and preparation should be followed before entering any Green Zone theater:
a. The following items and material should be administered prior to the screening.
(1) Dramamine (or any substance that will help reduce or ameliorate motion sickness).
(2) Alcohol (not enough to impair function to get safely to and from the theater, but enough to help with item (1) above and other phenomena inherent in this film (see Chapter 3 below)).
(3) Conditioning and training to develop a high tolerance for and ability to withstand simplistic dialogue, obvious plot developments, clichéd struggles between ideological superiors and on-the-ground soldiers, renegade military personnel that seemingly cannot be controlled, seemingly superfluous indigenous characters who clearly have ulterior motives that the main characters fail to grasp until it’s too late, and nefarious double-dealing among troops who are ostensibly on the same side and yet operate under conflicting and competing orders and who fight with each other instead of attempting to understand and resolve the situation.
b. The following items should be brought to the screening.
(1) More Dramamine (in case the persistent use of the QC counteracts the per-viewing dose administered before entering).
(2) A sickness bag (in the event that the stereotypically polarized characterizations become too much and the doses of Dramamine are ineffective).
(3) Earplugs (in the event that the thunderous soundtrack, in combination with the QC and the simplistic dialogue, exacerbates the feeling of nausea).
(4) Aspirin (to help with all of the above).
3-1. Political considerations
a. Given the clear political slant depicted in this film, it is imperative that anyone viewing it stow any pre-established political ideology in receptacles available by the door to the theater. Although Green Zone employs the requisite thrills and chills by any AMM, that does not cover its biases about the basis, justification, and execution of the war, which might make some theater viewers uncomfortable — a discomfort akin to QC. As Dramamine or other items listed in Chapter 2 cannot address these non-physical discomforts, it is recommended that the following be reviewed and studied prior to experiencing Green Zone.
(1) A copy of Karl Rove’s recently released book, Courage and Consequences: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight. This reference work will need to be consulted as a counter-point to the positions taken in the Green Zone theater about the Iraq War, the search for weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the failure to find WMDs, the relevance of the existence or non-existence of WMDs in terms of the war’s execution, and who was to blame for the non-existence of WMDs in Iraq.
(2) A copy of Frank Rich’s 2007 book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth in Bush’s America. This reference will need to be consulted to counter the counter-points made by item (1) above.
3-2. Iraq War for Dummies
a. If the items in 3-1 above are not available to be reviewed in advance or are too weighty to carry into the theater, the following will suffice.
(1) A copy of The Iraq War for Dummies.
(2) If item (1) above cannot be secured, then Green Zone itself will suffice: its pat dialogue and simplistic depictions of the complex nature of this engagement, its internal squabbles among the intelligence agencies and the military, and the non-credible whistle-blowing of the lead character will spell it all out for you.
(3) Don’t forget the popcorn! (post-Dramamine.)
Doug Young is the film critic for The Colorado Statesman. He will be covering the Cannes Film Festival in May for the third year in a row.