One of my friends doesn't watch mainstream movies because the representations there are so lame sometimes. Thin characters, easy plots, base stereotypes and social roles. For example, while describing to him my affinty for Bollywood films, he claimed that he really wasn't into those types of films, because they drip in social messages about beauty, class, sexuality, gender and so on. For example, "you won't see any dark characters dancing around trees."
A fair, but easy point. One common amongst today's "critical" left. Its not that this point isn't true, for it usually is. But its more that this point isn't enough for anyone except the person doing the pointing out.
Getting past this point is one of the reasons why the study of ideology seems so important nowadays. Ideology is what helps us know what we are supposed to see. What in our lives we are supposed to be attentive to. So for example, in film consumption or viewing, there are different ideologies for different types of films. What is supposedly our natural reaction to things is dependent upon film ideologies. Think for example, about the ways in which you would discuss a subtitled film, or an action film, or a drama, or a porno movie. The things you draw from a film, depend on the things which you expected to look for. We are always actively viewing a film, however what are the things in it which we are actively engaging with?
This brings me to the film I saw earlier today, Stealth. An interesting film, because for those who follow a less common ideology for viewing it, the thing is a bonanza for complex social messages.
For example, pay close attention to the distribution of technology in the film, and see how the carrying of a certain weapon or the occupying of a certain vehicle is as much about race or nation as it is about plot. Characters are marked even before the are actually inserted into intelligability or the plot. As Bush is fond of referring to them, "the bad guys" are already known to us, but not just through the plot, but also by their skin color, their dress, and the types of weapons they use.
There is also something interesting if you were to think about vulnerability in movies such as this, or even in the real life situations this movie is meant to cite. If we take into account the technology rift, where the United States forces use the most high tech equipment, whereas its enemies use cow carts to carry nuclear warheads, then in terms of outright military strength, the United States is invulnerable. But invulnerable only from that could hurt it. This is an important but confusing point.
In the film, the United States forms a special Naval Air squad which can respond quickly and take out an trouble spot on earth very very fast and surgically. Those fighting against these forces can do little, their rifles no match against the most advanced fighters in the world. But the United States can nonetheless be hurt, as shown with the introduction of the AI fighter who goes haywire thus causing the death of one of Jamie Fox's character. But never from without, always from within.
Thus a crafty negation can always quickly and quietly take place to maintain the US nation. If ever an attack does take place against the United States, it can always be dismissed as something which the United States itself caused, by allowing it. Such was the radical (neo)conservative mantra common after 9/11. The greatest weapons our enemies have, is our freedoms. Thus ensuring that whoever these enemies are, they are not considering to be either powerful or human, and the invulnerability of the United States can be maintained, but those fearful of living life without it.