Windtalkers Part 2

Disregard for Navajo Intelligence: As a result of the historically erroneous orders given to Sergeants Enders in the beginning of the movie (protect the code at all costs), the Navajos are depicted as the babies and Enders is depicted as the babysitter. Throughout the majority of the movie, the Navajos are represented as helpless characters that can barely do their job of code talking, let alone fighting in a war. Especially in war scenes, the Navajos are absolutely clueless. The sergeants are constantly pulling them along and covering them all the time. Even when at gunpoint or relaying messages over the radio, they are hesitant and let their emotions interfere with their duty – hardly the characteristics of soldiers. When Ben Yahzee has a gun in his face, Enders is forced to come to the rescue and kill the enemy, which Yahzee does not have the backbone to do himself. He watches Enders slit the enemy’s throat and his eyes are filled with terror.  When Yahzee and Enders hide in the trenches, Yahzee crawls away from gunfire like he is deathly afraid and has no idea what he signed up for. At one point, Yahzee is told to put pressure on the wound of a dying comrade and he looks as if he is going to faint from the site of blood. Instead of representing the Navajos as strong Native Americans, who sacrificed their lives for our flag and were an essential part of the war effort, they were illustrated as wimpy boys who the audience believes are more likely to go AWOL than anything else. Instead of showing them as an asset, Navajos were shown as superfluous liabilities.

Neglect for the Code: There was no depiction of the Japanese efforts to decode the Navajo messages. The only 10 second segment that was dedicated to the complexity of the code was one baffled Japanese face. The film would have been much better if it had focused more on the coding, the central novelty that was foreshadowed by the title. In World War II, the Japanese were expert code breakers and it would have been beneficial to show their scrutiny and analysis of the Navajo messages with no success. The producer needed to relay the importance of the code, which is ultimately the reason why the U.S. was so effective in the Pacific Theater. The code allowed the U.S. troops to evade the interception of intelligence by the Japanese and aided in rectifying the strategic setbacks that previously occurred before it was created. In essence, Windtalkers neglected and devalued the Navajo Code Talkers along with everything they stood for.

Battle Setting: The Pacific Theater was one of the toughest places to battle in. Especially in the Battle of Saipan, soldiers were confronted with an overwhelming array of geographical obstacles to overcome. “Place names given the rugged Saipan terrain such as Death Valley, Purple Heart Ridge and Harakiri Gulch testify to the bitter fighting” (The Battle of Saipan). It was at these points where Americans troops suffered huge amounts of casualties. However, one might be fooled by the way that the terrain of Saipan is portrayed in Windtalkers. Truthfully, there were some wide-open hilly areas, but there was no depiction of the dense forests, mountains, steep ridges, or jungles of Saipan. Hollywood should have done a better job of showing the actual terrain rather than depicting what looked more like war games in someone’s backyard.

Additionally, Windtalkers showed very little evidence that the movie took place during World War II. Trench warfare was a characteristic of the Great War, not World War II. The Japanese were shown in trenches at the top of the hills as the American troops rushed toward them, even though, static defenses were not a huge part of the War of Attrition. Static defenses were quickly penetrated by large tank formations, which discouraged their use. The only justification that identified the battle in the movie as part of World War 2 was the use of enhanced technology, including radar, flamethrowers, and strategic airstrikes.

Battle Scenes: Windtalkers featured some of the most unrealistic battle scenes ever shot in American film. Every single scene looked fabricated and unauthentic. One of the most obvious impracticalities was the shoot to kill ratio for both the Japanese and Americans. Every time the Americans shot at the Japanese, the Japanese fell. Yet, the Japanese could not hit the broadside of a barn. Even at close range, the Japanese fell to our American troops. Perhaps, this aspect of the film was a rendering of American heroism because it lacked any connection to reality. The film glorified the Americans at every chance it got and belittled the Japanese.

Windtalkers made every attempt to illustrate how the Americans were superior. Throughout the movie, the Japanese soldiers were represented as senseless dolts, not at all worthy to even battle the American troops. There were various scenes where they were shown shooting each other, blowing each other up, or running out in the open and giving away their position. Even when charging the Americans, half the time they did not have their guns up and ready to shoot. For example, in the opening battle scene, the Japanese gave up a strong, fortified uphill position to run down and charge toward the Americans, who had just settled behind cover and were shooting. Who, in his or her right mind, would ever give up that position? They clearly had the strategic advantage in positions where the Americans could barely hit them, but they chose to run down the middle of wide-open terrain and get shot.  Even when the Americans were in the open, they would rather charge them than go prone and shoot to kill.