I hate when I leave a movie wishing it had been different. Especially when it was decent, just if more thought had been given to X it could have been almost perfect.
Overlord bothered me from the previews.
Mainly because it reminded me of a video game I played once.
I was introduced to Castle Wolfenstein by a roommate just before my Junior year of college, what? Maybe, 2003ish?
I think it was an old game then.
It’s a World War II first-person horror shooter. Not really my forte. At that time I was an Ever Quest and Civilization III fanatic, and I have always had some concerns about showing an actual historic battle in a video game, I have since lightened up, but still, those images are depicting actual casualties. Right?
Needless to say, Wolfenstein did not impress. I only played for a tiny sliver of a summer afternoon, once, but the gist was NAZIs invented werewolves or something similar. My biggest issue with the game was I suck at shooters.
So I see a preview for Overlord and my first thought is, it’s a video game movie based on Wolfenstein out of the J.J. Abrams-verse.
J.J. Abrahms immediately makes things controversial and a little less stupid, but never satisfying. Regardless, needing to get out of the house one rainy Saturday with nothing else playing, I went.
The other thing about the previews that bothered me was, well, basically its how the movie starts.
The movie opens with an amazing scene of the Normandy Invasion fleet in transit over the English Channel.
Old abe is highlighted on Private Boyce’s shoulder. Then pull out to reveal he is African American.
Totally out of the movie now because I can’t stop wondering if there were any African American soldiers in the 101st during World War II.
I did not think there were, because the army was segregated and I vaguely remember there being an actual black paratrooper battalion. I looked it up as soon as the movie ended, found out yes there was. They were called the 555.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the beginning of the movie does a good job of providing scope to this incredibly important historical event but then retcons history to fit the production.
That made me want to vomit.
I think failing to note the Army wasn’t integrated does a disservice to the struggles of civil rights movement.
I may be over thinking it, but honestly, I just know this would have been a better movie set within the restrictions of an all-black unit, with Wyatt Russel tagging along, fighting zombies.
It’s not a film claiming to be aiming for historical center mass, yet no apologies are made for this inaccuracy either. I think I heard they wished away this error by saying the movie takes place in a better reality, or some such thing. I guess I could also quibble there were no zombies in WWII, but really my main irritation stems from a missed opportunity.
First, the actor playing Private Boyce, Jovan Adepo, is amazing. Reminds me of the dude from Psyche, Dule Hill or the actor Daniel Kaluuya from Get Out. I am a fan of all three, and Adepo really shines here.
Now that’s out of the way, how I would fix this movie is simple: change the 101st to the 555.
The 555 was an airborne battalion in North Carolina comprised of only African American soldiers. They were unused during the war and ended up being shipped to California before being disbanded.
That would mean the rest of the unit gets recast, all accept Wyatt Russell, who I hope has a long and distinguished career to rival his Dad’s. his war-hardened noncom easily slides into the fledgling unit.
Then we cast some new actors and let John Magaro play an Italian Army officer and then the movie plays out the same.