KURT SCHLICHTER: That Civil War Movie Is a Symptom of Hollywood’s Problems.

I know a little about Second Civil War fiction since I’ve written a best-selling series of novels about it. And you know what I focused on? How America gets into a Second Civil War and what happens when it does. How do things change? What expectations are upended? How would things work out in that situation? That’s what’s interesting about the concept. That’s what we want to know. And frankly, that’s what teaches us what to avoid so we never get into that situation again no matter how much the Democrats try to provoke Round Two.

But this movie ignores the civil war stuff and is all about journalists on a road trip. Despite the fact that most journalists today are loathsome communists, that’s not necessarily a bad way to show us around the Second Civil War. You could get lots of perspectives, and you can see and learn what happens and why through reporter characters. But the only perspectives we get are about the reporters themselves, and they’re annoying people – which is at least a taste of realism. But they never talk about the war itself. There’s no context to all the mayhem.

Remember, it’s the world-building that’s interesting to us, not these characters. I don’t care about the characters. You have a jaded war correspondent. And another jaded war correspondent. And a third jaded war correspondent. And a fourth war correspondent who’s young and isn’t quite jaded yet but who gets jaded at the end. That’s not interesting, and that’s not what I’m trying to buy when I throw down nearly 20 bucks for a ticket to a movie called “Civil War.”

Look, the actors are competent. They’re just playing boring people. And the movie is boring. That’s the crime. The lesson Andrew Breitbart always taught about political movies is to be good first. Be interesting. Make a good movie. Then you can get your message across. He didn’t object to the idea of a left-wing viewpoint. “JFK” is a left-wing movie with an idiotic message, but it was interesting. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, even though it was unbelievably stupid. I barely kept my eyes open here.

Alex Garland is not an untalented filmmaker. The Englishman has made a few vaguely interesting movies. The problem is he shoots this one like a movie-of-the-week. It is very workmanlike. What he wants to do is set up really interesting shots like helicopters flying around the Washington monument. That’s a pretty cool image. A gun battle at the White House? Yeah, that’s an interesting concept. But not the way he does it. You can see this was not a big-budget movie. All the battles have like 10 people.

John Podhoretz dubs Civil War “an MSNBC zombie movie:”

America has collapsed. When you leave New York to drive to Washington on a circuitous route that takes you through Pittsburgh, everything is empty but there are a lot of cars burned out on the highways—a completely familiar trope by now, and understandable as a directorial choice since showing millions of corpses would be expensive.

Instead, it appears the entire Eastern seaboard has been depopulated, which would be quite the feat. We follow our crew of journalists as they wend their way south. They pass a gas station where gun-toting yahoos have strung up a couple of people they hated in high school for being looters. Later, they end up in a shootout in an office park and then in some kind of refugee camp in a high-school football stadium where people are warming their hands over a garbage-can fire and smile at each other pacifically. Then they’re in the middle of a gun battle between two warring forces. Who are they? We don’t know.

The movie seared the conscience of Manohla Dargis of the New York Times and made her profoundly uncomfortable. You’d think a movie critic who’s seen horror movies and war movies for decades wouldn’t be so seared and uncomfortable. I think she’s seared and uncomfortable because she wanted to be—wanted to find this depiction of an America literally at war a ripped-from-the-headlines unnerving thing. It’s fine, I guess, but rest assured (spoilers follow here) the only reason the movie exists is that, in the final moments, we see the Donald Trump stand-in pumped full of bullets.

That scene alone will so thrill Molly Jong-Fast that she might even dye her hair a normal color. You can stay home and watch a Walking Dead rerun.

John Nolte describes it as a “Ridiculously Dopey, Anti-Trump Snuff Film:”

Anyway, I promised to spoil the entire plot, so here it is…

First off, why are only two states fighting to remove President GreatHairRedTie after he basically declared himself dictator with an unelected third term? This makes zero sense, including historical sense. People from all over the country would form battalions and join a side. Then, we learn that the remaining 48 states broke apart into the Florida Alliance, the New People’s Army, and the Loyalist States. Okay, but what are they doing?

There are over two dozen Loyalist States, so why does it look like only 11 people are protecting the president at the White House?

There are over two dozen Loyalist States on the president’s side and only two states in the Western Forces against the president. Why is the president losing?

Why did that guy admit to the redneck he was from Hong Kong? Darwin demanded that the idiot get shot.

What happened to the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force?

Why doesn’t the president use low-level nukes to wipe out the Western Forces?

Why is there no air war or no one in command of the air?

Why is President GreatHairRedTie sitting in the Oval Office waiting to be killed instead of hiding deep in a bunker with the nuclear codes?

Finally, the Critical Drinker notes that Civil War is “a movie that says nothing, does nothing and ultimately accomplishes nothing. It’s a film so deathly afraid of sparking controversy and division that it remains neutral to the point of neutering itself.” Yet another reminder that the film isn’t the second coming of Dr. Strangelove, The Manchurian Candidate or the aforementioned JFK, each full of leftist agitprop, that are all simultaneously extremely controversial — and great movies.

UPDATE: Christian Toto: Civil War – Raw, Original and Utterly Pointless. “[Nick] Offerman’s President isn’t a certain real estate mogul. In fact, he’s barely on screen. That’s another massive mistake, especially given how the story’s third act makes him such a monumental figure. Plus, casting Ron Swanson as a fascist leader is such a juicy idea why not follow through with it? Make no mistake. He’s the film’s villain. So why can’t we get to know him, at least a little?”