– Bombers in Hollywood: The Price of Military Tech Assistance in Movies (Vice, May 22, 2012):
Last weekend, a depressing irony flew under the cultural radar.
At Camp David, President Obama met up with fellow NATO leaders to discuss the road ahead in Afghanistan. Although no one there used the language of defeat, the implicit message was clear: the war has gone nowhere in the past few years and it’s time to start packing up. Meanwhile, what raked in $25.5 million at the box office? Battleship. And who provided director Peter Berg with the war technology that beats the aliens? The U.S. military.
He’s not the only one: the past few years have seen an explosion of high-profile cooperation between the armed forces and the movie industry. If the most powerful armed force in history isn’t winning in reality, it certainly is on the big screen. And like so many problematic aspects of late capitalism, the military-Hollywood complex has a grimly understandable logic.
Matthew Alford, film researcher and author of Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy, is even harsher in his critique. “The Pentagon has a manual. Basically, it will only provide full cooperation to propaganda pieces,” he said in an interview.