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Jungle University

To End All Wars (2001) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Scotsman Ernest Gordon (Ciarán McMenamim) answers the call to arms in the second world war, enlisting in the reputable Argyle & Suther­land High­landers. He is answerable to the redoubt­able Lt. Col. Stuart McLean (James Cosmo) and his second in command Maj. Ian Campbell (Robert Carlyle.) But “When you sur­render in war,” Capt. Gordon complains, “you're stripped of your dignity as a soldier. And all you've got left is your fellow comrades.”

old bookTo fight despair Gordon the former education student teaches an impromptu class from an old book on Plato obtained from the villagers on the black market. Word spreads. Their ad hoc university's teaching staff is augmented by Platoon Sgt. Roger Primrose (Greg Ellis) who'd been trained in the Fine Arts and Lt. Foxworth (Pip Torrens) a Shakespeare scholar. Maj. Campbell, though, rats them out when he perceives this educational endeavor of theirs is siphoning off men from his planned escape.

apple and booksCapt. Gordon pleads their cause to the camp commander saying, “We read these books and we become better slaves for the emperor.” No dice. When their work out­put does in fact improve, their books are graciously returned. That still leaves the escape in the works as well as a looming end to the war.


The title “To End All Wars” seems to intimate a new chapter for man­kind. The movie itself is weirdly reminiscent of the story of Noah and the Ark: It opens with the camera panning wild­life on the Scottish country­side, to alight on a schooner under way with Ernest Gordon at the helm. Then we're shown some war stills and we end up in P.O.W. Camp Kan­chan­a­buri, Thailand, where the prisoners' sorry life is alleviated one day when a cow wanders in. They get some beef in their diet. In the Bible Noah takes a herd of animals aboard an ark. After a rocky voyage they end up on Mt. Ararat where their sorry state is enhanced when God allows that, (Gen. 9:3) “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”

In the camp they painfully discover (“This man has rights!”) that the Japanese were not signatories to the Geneva Convention or the Hague Convention. Instead they follow the code of Bushido that puts the group above the individual, honors the imperial emperor, and involves a lot of bowing or beating. If you think about it, Noah didn't have any Geneva convention either. The world God flooded didn't have any­one worthy of rights, except for Noah whom God spared with his family on an ark. They better respect that guy, and God starts to deal with them as group(s.)

Noah had three sons: (Gen. 9:18-19) “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth over­spread.” God is looking at the group(s) over­spreading the Earth. Ham being an odd man out was paired with his youngest son Canaan in the biblical narrative. Shem & Japheth were what remained of the three bros.

In the prison camp they'd brewed some rice wine that had quite a kick to it. Noah's wine also seemed to be especially potent fermenting in the new world's climate. Sgt. Primrose told the newly arrived officers to, “try to keep your shirt on. It'll distinguish you from the grunts, which is about the only thing that's keeping us from degenerating into a bloody anarchy.” Noah had to retain respect if he didn't want the newly washed world to degenerate into a violent one like the last.

(Gen. 9:20-23) “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the naked­ness of his father, and told his two brethren with­out. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went back­ward, and covered the naked­ness of their father; and their faces were back­ward, and they saw not their father's naked­ness.” Bushido embodies “loyalty, politeness and soldier's duty.” It is evident which sons lived up to it.

(Gen. 9:24-27) “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son [Ham] had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Japheth was to be integrated with (to dwell in the tents of) Shem. From Shem come the Semites, of course. Writer Bodie Hodge holds forth that: “Generally, from the Middle East in the land of Shinar (modern-day Iraq, where Babel was), Japheth's descendants went north toward Europe and Asia, Ham's went toward Africa, and Shem's remained in the Middle East” (183). The servitude of Ham as passing to his youngest son Canaan also encompassed his eldest son Cush, see Gen. 10:6. Cush is Hebrew for black, whose descendants settled mostly in Africa. Canaan is the youngest son of Ham carrying the curse on the whole family as we see Bushido working in our movie where one disgraced party brings shame on his whole family. Like­wise, (Jasher 73:35) “For the Lord our God gave Ham the son of Noah, and his children and all his seed, as slaves to the children of Shem and to the children of Japheth, and unto their seed after them for slaves, forever.”

crucified ChristJesus is a Semite seen in an illustrated Bible and whose teaching seems to be at the head of all the creeds of good scholars and philosophers taught in camp. They were thus in a manner of speaking “dwelling in the tents of Shem.” Ham's line of servitude seems to be the goal of the Thailand-Burma rail­road the prisoners are constructing, which would launch the Japanese invasion into India. Hodge writes, “one tribe that comes from Cush is ‘Seba’ or ‘Sabah’. Perhaps it is this same Sebah who gave rise to the Hindu Kush and the Gangen (Cush) region of India” (186). It turns out to be a moot point as the war is over before that particular invasion is launched.

The Scotsmen (& the Yank) and the Japanese were all descended from the expansive line of Japheth. Their codes all end up merging in the accommodating tent of Jesus who integrates them into one big happy family (discounting an escape attempt) by the end of the movie. It's amazing and seemingly the point “To End All Wars.”

Production Values

” (2001) was directed by David L. Cunningham. Its screenplay was written by Brian Godawa based on the book by Ernest Gordon, It stars Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland, and Ciarán McMenamin. The actors seemed to be up to the job not heavy on positive emotions. They must have starved them­selves for the emaciated look that still looked relatively buff compared to prisoners in the archival pics.

MPAA rated it R for war violence and brutality, and for some language. It was filmed at Kaua'i, Hawaii, USA.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

“To End All Wars” is a real gem of a war movie, Not the regular fare. It was well shot and well acted. The characters seemed real to life and able to touch us on many levels. It was based on a true story.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

The Book of Jasher. Trans­lated from the Hebrew into English (1840). Photo litho­graphic reprint of exact edition published by J.H. Parry & Co., Salt Lake City: 1887. Muskogee, OK: Artisan Pub., 1988. Print, WEB.

Hodge, Bodie. Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Pub., 2013. Print.