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 The Character of Hook, in the Film Zulu.. a deeper understanding

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MadDrDevo

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PostSubject: The Character of Hook, in the Film Zulu.. a deeper understanding   Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:13 pm

Ok first i dont want to hear anything about how the movie is inaccurate, i dont care and that is not the point. I know it is, and i know that the portrayal of hook in the film is incorrect and i know all about welsh conspiracies to steal englands honor.. if that is what you want to contribute do it else where.

I want to help you all understand the character in the framework of the film and in film making because frankly The character of Hook is the most well rounded character in the film and the only that has a discernible development and arc.

A good character will have a struggle to undergo outside the main struggle of the film, in Zulu the shared struggle is obviously the battle, but Hook struggles with his soul.
Now look at a film like the godfather. the #1 movie on the AFI top 100 movies. The character of micheal corleone(al pacino) he struggles with the family in the main struggle but also has his inner demons to work on, he doenst want to be the leader but he must, he tries to distance himself but cannot. that is what makes him a great character. how dull would the movie have been had he been like sonny(james caan) and gung ho about everything, .. well you get scar face i guess. Point is a good character changes and grows through the course of the movies events or he is just a stuffed shirt and a stereotype

The theme they are attmepting to show with hook is redemption through heroism. Of all the characters in the film he is the only one who is changed for the better by the events in the film, indeed he is the only one that really changes. The "tomorrow" that will come will find everyone but hook doing the same things he did "yesterday" Hook goes from being a poor soldier to being a hero.


There are several points that bear this out and it is in his defense of the hospital that hooks character undergoes his change. It is also here that hook goes through the only wardrobe change in the whole film, he puts on his tunic.
In film there are often symbolic changes made to the appearance of character to show the internal changes. The film the royal tennabaums shows this a lot as the characters dress in rather silly clothing the whole movie, their outfits are generally impractical. In that film Luke wilsons character has a break down, it includes him shaving off his trademark hair and beard and finally taking off his tennis outfit(he was a champion tennis player) and at that point he never puts in on and his character is changed.. The same type of symbolism is used here.

This happens just after the whole "Im excused duty" "well i havent excused you" exchange. He takes his rifle, saves his friend and says something like"well youve done it know" hops off the bunk and begins to act like the hero

From this moment on he ceases to be the malingering hector surgeon reynolds calls him. He starts acting like a hero, killing the zulu that break in, he leads the men out, he is the one that notices that the zulu broke in the hallway and they need to go through the walls. He is shown as the last man through the wall and then Maxfield.

Maxfield is a real turning point, he is going to leave him, he is about to back through the hole in the wall, he is about to fall back to his old behaviour.. however he doesnt. he goes back for maxfield. During the fight in the room with just maxfield and hook, maxfield is shouting postiive things at hook. And he is the one who offers hook his redemption. He says "ive made a soldier of you now" and he has. Even though hook fails to save maxfield, maxfield has given hook his shot at redemption.
After that we see him kill a lot more zulus at the hole and back out. Then he does the most (in)famous thing in the whole film. He breaks into the liquor and drinks it.
This is probably the most beautiful scene in the whole movie and certainly the best acted.
if you look closely you see that hook is crying. He isnt drinking because he is a drunk, he is drinking to maxfield. He is drinking a farewell to the man that redeemed him.
The last time we see hook is when he is watching at night for the zulu to come. He is still then mourning maxfield and wondering if "that was the way he wanted it" he is haunted by this

He is a changed man after the events of the film. Yes many are dead and maimed(and certainly that would count as a drastic change) however they are not changed as characters.

Chard- possibly negativly effected by the outcome of the battle, certainly being called "butcher" by reynolds is his big aha moment in the film, but he doesnt change much, he is still the capable soldier he was when he got to Rorkes drift

Bromhead.. also changes, but since his character is a caricature his change is rather cartoonish. Obviously he is a foppish privileged officer, spoiled rich, that sort of thing. all the things wrong with the purchase system. he is like this to help the theme that an educated man is better than the privileged man. So at the end of the movie his foppish ideals of war and his victorian daydream is shattered. But he will still go on and fight

Bourne.. also a caraciture of the RSM. if this were a movie filmed about american marines he would have been played by R Lee Ermy. though i have to say Nigel Green as Hercules in Jason and Argonaughts was pretty slick

Other characters like hitch and allen have a combined arc where they need each other and to a lesser degree the redemtiion theme is played out here. you see hitch the "slovenly soldier" become the helpful soldier. his change is not as extreme as hooks as hook starts and ends at opposite ends of the spectrum, Hitch tends to stay pretty steady (hook is the man with no interest in the army who becomes the super soldier, and hitch is the regular soldier who struggles on despite his wounds.. similar but different stories)



So while the hook character is the most maligned because of his divergence from the real man, i say that the charcter is the best written and acted in the film. he is certainly the character that i was most interested in as a young person and as i mentioned else where if it werent for this portrayal capturing the popular imagination Hooks name would be like any of the other people who won a VC and you cant name with out looking at a list, and even if you can you have nothing for your imagination to latch onto to make him stand out.

Here we are 120+ uears after the battle and we are talkling about HOOK and not allen, or hitch or any of the others. and that should be remembered too.



Thanks for listening i hope that this will help you understand the film industry and how it works and why sometimes for the sake of the story things have to change.

I can also say that none of you knew hook or his family or friends. I have seen Black Hawk done and get to watch a person i went to high school with die everytime. They combined him with another person because they needed to. and i wasnt as offended as you guys get about hooks portrayal. someone needs to explain that to me
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: The Character of Hook, in the Film Zulu.. a deeper understanding   Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:22 pm

The problem is in how he was portrayed in the film. Perhaps they should have done some research first on his real character. But I know what you mean about it just being a film. But it did cause some up- set to his familey members.
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PostSubject: Re: The Character of Hook, in the Film Zulu.. a deeper understanding   Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:27 pm

impi wrote:
The problem is in how he was portrayed in the film. Perhaps they should have done some research first on his real character. But I know what you mean about it just being a film. But it did cause some up- set to his familey members.

there is no problem with how he is portrayed in the film as this is not billed as a biopic of henry hook.
this is just like with movies like the alamo, or any movie about general custer.. its about telling an OVERALL story that doesnt really have a basis in fact.. does that make more sense?

and i mentioned that, and i also mentioned it was totally irrelevant to what i am discussing. there is NOTHING wrong with the way they handled that character they have every right, when creating historical fiction, to use those parts they want and leave out those they do not, that get in the way of the story.. why is the only movie you guys have this problem with?
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PostSubject: Re: The Character of Hook, in the Film Zulu.. a deeper understanding   Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:53 pm

Sorry don't agree. There is a problem and that's why there has been many a discussion on this subject.
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PostSubject: Re: The Character of Hook, in the Film Zulu.. a deeper understanding   Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:02 pm

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PostSubject: Re: The Character of Hook, in the Film Zulu.. a deeper understanding   Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:56 pm

impi wrote:
Sorry don't agree. There is a problem and that's why there has been many a discussion on this subject.

its not for you to agree or disagree its not a matter open to discussion, you understand that. .there is no character assassination(nice spelling in that article, i generally dont post ones with obvious spelling errors in the title though)
you have to actually be ging out to tell people the story of the REAL MAN, and no one was doing that. that was never the intent, the intent was to tell a story.

if we followed what you believe we can have NO historical fiction EVER. because as soon as you fictionalize ANYTHING, even if its just dialogue (which is tough since rarely do we have transcripts of peoples conversations) will fall under this thinking..
so historical movies can only be 100% accurate with dialogue that was actually spoken? we will have a LOT of silent movies since we in the few cases we know what people said on a battle field it was not what everyone was thinking.

people who wish to be willfully ignorant can claim that we have no right to do that, but we do, and its a fact of life.


If you would like please find me the names of movies that are 100% accurate and portray everyone in the bestmost accurate light.. please do.. i will wait while you all look, i wont hold my breath though.

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PostSubject: Re: The Character of Hook, in the Film Zulu.. a deeper understanding   Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:02 pm

MadDrDevo wrote:
impi wrote:
Sorry don't agree. There is a problem and that's why there has been many a discussion on this subject.

its not for you to agree or disagree its not a matter open to discussion, you understand that. .




that sound much more harsh than it should. i mean its not like we can debate it and make an effective change to it. this is how the industry works and it works in books too.
i mean have you guys ever read the Flashman series of books? everyone in those books is a dirty messed up version of what they were in real life. those books, while very accurate on some things, play VERY fast and loose, especially with the morality of those people.. why because it makes a more compelling story
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