WARNING: VIDEO GAME AND MOVIE SPOLIERS AHEAD
Being a Fallout fan since the first game came out a over a decade ago, I’ve been working on Fallout: New Vegas, the western themed stand alone sequel to the lauded Fallout 3. When I play these games, I brush up on the lore, getting a feel for the world I’m playing in, instead of diving in and just ignoring the history. Like a good movie, a good game sucks you in and makes you believe its all true. While scouring the history of the “Great War”, a worldwide nuclear war, I came across this interesting tidbit.
According to the script of the Fallout movie, neither China, India, nor North Korea launched the first bomb. It was in fact Vault-Tec’s executive of the vaults. He launched the first bomb to fulfill his own prophecy of nuclear annihilation.
Sounds like a typical madman story, except that in the history of Fallout, including the lore set down from the games since its inception, China was the first to fire. It was losing the oil war it had started with the US. Alaska was lost, its pipeline back in the hands if the USA. Its mainland was being invaded by unstoppable mechanized Marines. As a last resort it attacked, sending its planes up in the air and its subs to the coasts before firing its missiles to ensure total annihilation. It didn’t work. When the death cloud of missiles were launched, everyone else fired as well. America, Russia, the Europeans, the Arabs, everyone recognized what was happening and decided that if they were going to go, so would their enemies.
China’s suicidal launch makes sense. Its technology was far behind the US and Europe. While the US had created the portable fusion battery, its hope to end its dependence on the last drops of oil, China had nothing of the sort. The Resource Wars had drained it of materials, people, prestige and, of course, resources. Its army was being mowed down by the nearly-invincible Power Armor units of the US. It saw the end. The end of the Communist state and the Chinese nation, most likely. What choice, other than surrender, did it have?
But, no, Hollywood had to go fuck it up, and thank God the movie has not been made yet, if at all, with that script. The story wouldn’t be as original as it is with the game canon. It would be slid in with every other evil corporate white man movie like Sum of All Fears. In the book, the terrorists were communist Arabs who dug out a lost Israeli nuke, fixed it up and, despite the fission fizzling, killed thousands of Americans. Their reason was to start a nuclear war that would punish the USA and Russians for thinking of peace. In the movie, it was pro-corproate Neo-Nazis looking to revive the Nazi state through nuclear war. In The Constant Gardner, a British corporation was experimenting with a drug on poor Africans and killing off whistleblowers. In State of Play, the corporate baddy isn’t even the main antagonist, but its still put in the worst possible light. Even in the amazing District 9, corrupt officials working with a weapons corporation were experimenting with alien technology, torturing and dissecting the creatures, who were stand-ins for South Africa’s black population during Apartheid. We get it, corporations are full of evil people.
Large corporations, like any other government created/supported entity, are power hungry. That’s not in dispute. They are monopolies, given power over entire markets because of regulation, backroom deals and open political connections. But governments, especially tyrannical governments like Communist China, are the ones had have been behind the worst atrocities of human history. Hitler’s wars killed tens of millions. Stalin killed 20 million plus of his own people, at least. Mao killed nearly 60 million in China alone, the leaders afterward have killed millions more through their policies and through violent enforcement of their rule. It makes much more sense for a defeated Communist China, unwilling to surrender to the capitalist and resource hungry US,to be the reason the world ended, not some apocalyptic CEO with a manic vision of the future. Especially when there is no evidence in the game world (the games, books, comic books, and fictional world history book) of anything of the sort.
The insular nature of Hollywood and its writers, directors and creative personnel destroy what originally are great ideas and filter them through how can we make this simple, how can we make this stupid, how can we make this sell. Its sad to say that comic book movies like Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot have much more complexity and creativity than most of the Oscar winners and nominees of late. Avatar? Beautiful, but so simple that it could have been written by a retarded slug. The Hurt Locker? A balanced movie on the Iraq War, but entirely fantastic in its depiction of the realities of war. Black Swan? Dark, surreal, but still a repeat of many other mindfuck movies we’ve seen time and again, and done much better than the winner. Even Inception, while mindblowing and entertaining, plays to many of the same points as most action movies, like The Matrix and its sequels. Vague enough to get people talking, but once looked at objectively, holes appear, big ones.
This has gone on for so long that simple historical plot points, like China starting the war, must be changed so we stupid viewers “get” the movie. Maybe it was changed because, like the Red Dawn remake, some pantywaist thought the Chinese would cause an international uproar if China, the world’s largest military, invaded its rival, the United States, like Iran did with 300’s depiction of Persians, except that it was explained by the filmmakers and by writer Frank Miller himself that the story is told through the eyes of the Spartans and isn’t supposed to be taken as fact. But, don’t tell that to a entertainment culture happy to put out movie after military movie that paints white males as evil, weak or, in the case of Avatar, the saviors of every ethnic group except their own.
Hollywood needs a good kick in the head. By the jackboots of the governments they cover for in their copy and paste scripts and by audiences across the Western world. Maybe then they’ll pop-in a few new ideas, make movies with some interesting history and quit bending over for every whiny-ass puckerhole that thinks we audience is too stupid to get the plot.