December 15, 2013
Casablanca and This Means War
The movies, Casablanca and This Means War, have many similarities and differences. The old time classic, Casablanca is about an owner, Rick Blaine, of a nightclub in Casablanca during World War II times. He helps refugees escape to America. He is encountered by a famed rebel, Victor Lazlo, and his wife, Ilsa, who happens to be Rick’s past love. Isla is forced to make the decision to stay with Rick in Casablanca or go to America with Victor. The recently released romantic comedy, This Means War, is about two CIA agents and best friends, Tuck and FDR, who end up dating the same woman, Lauren. They decide to let her choose which man she wants to be with, but they attempt to use their CIA skills to sabotage each other. Although the movies, Casablanca and This Means War, were filmed 70 years apart, they can be considered similar due to their genre, plot and characters, as well as different because of the time differences.
The film, Casablanca, is considered one of the best romance movies ever created. It incorporates themes of love and sacrifice that depict the romance genre. The “screenplay sparkles with memorable lines” that make the romance in this movie so influential (Casablanca). The love triangle between Ilsa, Rick and Victor represents the romantic nature of this movie. Rick is forced to sacrifice his love for Ilsa in order to do the right thing. Not only is it a romance movie, but it also includes many other themes as well. It is a story of political and romantic espionage set during wartime conflict (“Casablanca 1942”). It’s considered an espionage film because the police are searching to find refugees trying to escape to America. The police were after Lazlo because he was against Nazism. It is also considered a propaganda film because it incorporates elements of the war. It was known as one of the best war-related films of its time in addition to being a romance film (Heiney). It was produced with the goal of being propaganda (Floratis). Casablanca also includes themes found in film noir such as the gun Ilsa pulls out and Rick’s trench coat. It challenges traditional romance films because Ilsa and Rick do not end up together in the end. This is different than most romances where the two main characters end up happily together. Casablanca is known for being a romance film, but it is also known for being a mash up of several different genres.
This Means War is a Romantic Comedy. This means that it includes elements found in the romance genre as well as the comedic genre. The relationships between Lauren and the two men have a romantic aspect. Tuck and FDR both want her to fall in love with them. She has to make the decision of whom she loves. This movie is also a comedy because it includes many elements and scripting that is considered funny. When the two men fight over Lauren, some scenes are meant to cause laughter. The two men attempt to sabotage each other, which is a humorous aspect. This Means War is also an action movie. It involves many chase scenes as well as fighting. It includes shootings and car crashes. It is suspenseful at times and filled with action. It also is a spy movie because both men are CIA agents and all of the action that takes place is because of their jobs.
Casablanca and This Means War are similar for many reasons as well as different. They are both a mash up of genres, meaning they both include multiple genres. This provides for a more interesting film. They both have romance involved. Also, in both movies, there is a love triangle. In Casablanca, Rick is in love with Ilsa who is married to Victor. Victor and Rick both love Ilsa, and Ilsa has loved them both. In This Means War, Tuck and Frank both want Lauren to fall in love with them. She is interested in both men and has to make the decision on whom to love. Another reason that they are similar is that the women are left to decide whom she wants to be with. In the end, Ilsa decides to leave with Victor in order to make the correct moral choice (Heiney). Lauren decides she loves FDR. They are also both espionage films in which someone is chasing someone else for justice purposes. Although these movies are very similar, they also have many differences. This Means War is more action packed than Casablanca. There are exciting car crashes, chases and highly developed technology. Casablanca doesn’t include the action found in This Means War. Also, This Means War is a comedy. There are parts of the film that the audience is supposed to laugh at. This is very different from Casablanca’s serious nature. This Means War also has the typical “happy ending” found in most romantic comedies. FDR ends up with Lauren, and Tuck ends up back together with his ex wife. In Casablanca, Rick does not end up with anyone. He had to sacrifice love in order to do what is right. It challenges the traditional genre of romance more than This Means War does. These films were filmed half a century apart, so the editing and special effects are quite different. This Means War was filmed less than ten years ago and, therefore, shows trends in current commercial filmmaking. This Means War has special effects that make car crashes possible while Casablanca does not use any of these effects. During the paintball scene in This Means War, the camera cycles around the main character to provide suspense. The suspenseful moments in Casablanca are portrayed with shots back and fourth between characters. This is very dull and not as exciting. There is also the use of the single continuous shot during the scene in Lauren’s house where she is dancing in This Means War. Casablanca does not feature the same type of filming as This Means War. These movies were filmed 70 years apart so it is not surprising that they have differences, but it is amazing how similar they are in relation to genres.
Despite the fact that these two movies were filmed so far apart, they include many similarities in their themes as well as the obvious differences in film technology. This Means War and Casablanca are similar in that they are genre mash ups and include similar genres such as romance. They are different in film techniques because they were filmed so far apart. Both movies include similar plot lines and focuses on similar themes. They are easy to relate to each other because they have the similar plot of a love triangle.
Heiney, James J. “Casablanca.” Salem History (n.d.): n. pag. Salem History. Salem History. Web.
“Casablanca.” BFI. Film Forever, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
“Casablanca (1942).” Casablanca (1942). Filmsite, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
Floratis, Matthew. “Casablanca as Propaganda? The Romance’s Wartime Messaging.” – Screened. Screened, 3 July 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.