Military censorship in films paints unrealistic image of military life


Censorship is increasingly common in films that involve the military. Many times, anything negative referenced about the military is cut and is generally glamorized instead.

For example, in the first “Iron Man,” director Jon Favreau wanted a military character to say, “People would kill themselves for the opportunities that I have,” but the line was cut by the Department of Defense’s chief Hollywood liaison, Phil Strub. Many have speculated that Strub cut this line because of the potential allusion to military suicide. In fact, more servicemen have died by suicide than in combat. That’s pretty alarming.

In “The Hulk,” the U.S. Marines removed, “All those boys, guinea pigs, dying from radiation and germ warfare,” because it alludes to military testing on human subjects. They also changed the name of the operation to capture the Hulk from “Ranch Hand” to “Angry Man” because Ranch Hand was a real Air Force operation in the Vietnam War that involved poisoning Vietnamese farmland.

Every branch of the military has an office in L.A. that specializes in collaborations with movies and video games.

Additionally, the military has a $200-million-per-year budget of taxpayer money for advertising, which can also be in collaboration with the media.

Take “Independence Day: Resurgence” as an example. An online campaign about joining the fictional Earth Space Defense in the movie was linked to a real-life Army recruiting campaign. To complete the Earth Space Defense games, players must sign in with Facebook and allow access to their data, which is also sent to the military. The site is also subtly redirected to the official Army recruitment website.

Often, films that have access to equipment and personnel from the military trade-off final script approval in order to have that military access. “Jurassic Park” and “Transformers” are both guilty of this, which is referred to as “militainment.” It reinforces positive feelings toward both the military and warfare.

“Pitch Perfect 3” is another heavily propagandized movie. In this movie, The Bellas do a USO tour. Throughout the movie, they constantly drool over how attractive the soldiers are. The token lesbian remarks about how the Bellas want to enlist now that gay people are allowed seem a bit off from the first two flicks in the trilogy.

There’s several problems with this. A truly democratic government shouldn’t be censoring the media to look more favorable in the eyes of the people. In fact, government censorship is one of the warning signs on fascism. Besides that, it’s not glamorous to join the military. People from our country and other countries suffer because of it.

I believe that it’s time the government stops censoring movies and creating propaganda. Instead, they should allow the people to paint an accurate picture of their country and military life.