21 November 2010

War, What Is It Good For?

Let's get one thing straight: war can be beautiful, touching, moving, exciting, even inspiring, if it is done right. And doing it right obviously means, among other things, doing it in fiction.

I could hardly imagine a life without stories involving war in one form or other. So just for fun I'll try to list a few of the most memorable war scenes in fiction that I know, some epic and exciting, others tragic and thought-provoking:

  • The battles of Helm's Deep and Pelennor Fields in The Lord of the Rings, both the book and the film versions. I have to say I actually prefer Bakshi's vision of Helm's Deep to that of Jackson's and find it even more epic.
  • The siege of Sapata (I think, I haven't got the book handy just now) and many other scenes in Hayao Miyazaki's NausicaƤ of the Valley of Wind (manga version).
  • Both Death Star battles in the Star Wars trilogy, naturally.
  • The finale in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, although I'm not sure it quite qualifies, since they never really get to all out war, but fight it out with just a couple of ships.
  • The battle for the bridge in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. One of the most moving depictions of the tragedy of war that I know.
  • The charge of the Hawkmen in Flash Gordon (the film version).
  • On the TV side, several episodes in Battlestar Galactica (the remake) definitely qualify, as well as some parts of the Shadow war in Babylon 5. And Xena: Warrior Princess goes without saying, of course, particularly some of the battles against Romans.
  • Surprisingly, I'm finding it hard to think of many examples from video games, as they (the games I play, anyway) tend to focus more on individuals and small groups than all out war. Metal Gear Solid 4 is of course one of the best, not just a war game but a game about war, its opening sequence being perhaps one of the most memorable war scenes from it.

I'm sure there are many others, in all mediums, but these will do for now. And they do say much about the type of stories I enjoy, as well.

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