Again, I’m not talking about the freedom of speech stuff here. Nobody seems particularly interested in abrogating that. I’m talking about where do you get a fucking tank. Low-level problems. It’s not an accident that in the military, they call what they do “logistics.” So much of it is just the process of moving and manipulating machinery and infrastructure - the guns and soldiers and MREs are the minor, inconsequential figures in all this, the replaceable parts, the consumables. You want to make a movie with a realistic-looking gun, it can be done. Go to the dollar store and see for yourself. Get a black non-Sharpie-brand Sharpie if you don’t like the orange barrel.
But if you want an aircraft carrier?
This is a REALLY GOOD post about (broadly) logistics and the potential chilling effects of authenticity. Read it all!
It got me thinking about 2 minor things:
- Old DOCTOR WHO story The Sea Devils, which is the one where the Royal Navy gets to fight the monsters and there are lots of close-ups of Navy destroyers, diving bells etc. From the perspective of early 70s Who this creates something of a break from the norm because the Navy have to be shown as a competent fighting force instead of the usual “bullets won’t stop them!” crew. (To balance things out there is a REALLY awful Man From The Ministry - another DW cliche) But the gap in presentation between the actual naval equipment and standard BBC effects makes the whole thing seem a bit ridiculous too.
- I wonder if there’s a role for GAMES - and CGI in general - to counteract the chilling effect described, since obviously the “how do you get an Aircraft Carrier?” question is fairly moot there. (How do you get permission for this bunch of polygons to look like a real US Aircraft Carrier? is also a question but not necessarily that pressing a one?? IDK all the games I actually PLAY are about charming cartoon monsters) Obviously at the moment games have their own narrative and tonal and thematic straitjackets but these at least aren’t straitjackets put on them by the necessity of having to go and ask the army “Can we borrow a plane please?”
Another way to get around this is doing stories that aren’t rooted in realism—science fiction and the more fantastic end of the superhero genre. Like, you don’t need to ask SHIELD for permission to use the Helicarrier. (On the other hand, as far as the Marvel movies go, there’s also the related issue of being vetted by the Chinese government to film in China, one of the reasons I’m uneasy about Iron Man 3.)
Really this is just one of the many reasons why realism is a terrible idea. And also why comics is the best medium, since you don’t need to worry about those issues there.