Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cinematic Advent Calendar - Day 17

Die Hard (1988) - Dir. John McTiernan

The Internet is riddled with articles and lists arguing the many ways in which Die Hard (1988) should be considered the greatest Christmas movie of all time. They tend to focus on exaggerated themes of good vs. evil, battling commercialism and greed, the importance of family, and even theological comparisons of the main character, John McClane (Bruce Willis) to Jesus Christ. However, the thing that people usually close with are the massive amounts of bullets and explosions, which lighten up the film in a festive, decorative manner. On top of that, the score, composed by Michael Kamen, also features several classical arrangements and holiday themes and cues, not to mention abundant references to classic and contemporary Christmas carols. Set during the holidays and taking place on Christmas Eve, the film doesn't need specific references to previous Christmas classics to be considered a holiday film. Die Hard is actually based on the 1979 novel by Roderick Thorp entitled, Nothing Lasts Forever, which itself is a sequel to his previous work, The Detective. Aside from a few small changes, Die Hard sticks very close to its source material, right down to the corporate Christmas party setting. At it's core the main theme of the story is the importance of family and reconciliation. Unlike other action oriented holiday films, like Lethal Weapon (1987), Die Hard takes place in one night, at one location, so the Christmas setting is always constant.

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