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Operation Christmas Drop: Superficially sweet

Taing Rinith / Khmer Times Share:
Erica (Kat Graham, left) and Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig) in Operation Christmas Drop. Netflix

Netflix has begun the Christmas season with “Operation Christmas Drop”, an American romantic-comedy that premiered over the weekend about a real-life military mission. Sound unique? Absolutely, except it is sweet, bland and nothing else.

The new Netflix original Christmas film centres on Erica (Kat Graham), a workaholic assistant to a congresswoman. Erica’s job takes a turn when she’s tasked with travelling to Guam to visit the Andersen Air Force Base. Her boss sends her as she is skeptical about the annual holiday tradition known as “Operation Christmas Drop”, where gifts are parachuted to people on neighbouring islands, after one of the pilots, Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig), posts a racy photo on social media.

Erica’s job is to shut down the operation. However, when she learns how important it is to the life of the local people and how hard Jantz has been working to collect donations, she changes her mind. This puts her in a bad position with her skeptical boss.

Operation Christmas Drop is a real-life military mission that’s been operational since 1952 when an American aircrew wanted to spread holiday cheer to the small island of Kapingamarangi.

The Vampire Diaries star Kat Graham is a successful female protagonist. However, she does not have great chemistry with Alexander Ludwig. Despite being a star of Vikings, Ludwig is not serious enough in his role of a military character.

The core message of the film is very sweet. The writer could have taken advantage of this unique theme and subject to come up with something extraordinary, but unfortunately, this was not acheived. The plot is too predictable, without any big twists or suspense.

On the bright side, the tropical island setting may make you feel good when you watch the film. However, the depiction of Guam presents a big flaw in this rom-com: its unfair depiction of its people and culture. It shows American people video-conferencing with their family on the island while local people are living in huts and women are wearing grass skirts. At one point, it even shows Erica giving stuff in her bag to a local girl, who accepts it politely. The film portrays white people as heroes and saviours, in a sickly sweet way.

Not a good way to start the Christmas season, Netflix!

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