I’ve been thinking about all the articles and comments that are penned to boycott director Ridley Scott’s biblical epic Exodus: Gods And Kings. I literally grabbed my head with two hands of mine in distress. At first, I thought they were funny, but then I gave them a little more thinking. They are not actually penned as jests. I say this, of course, with respect to the writers. The authors behind the articles such as this one here and many others like it are not being facetious at all. - First of all, here is why I thought some of these articles were funny: In this 21st Century, we the humans are still dealing with racism. How racism still is a problem and will continue to be a problem as long as this Earth dodges dangerous asteroids.
[Exodus: Gods and Kings](movie:44617), an interpretation of the exodus of the Hebrews, starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley, is written by Steve Zaillian, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage. In the film, Academy Award winner Christian Bale limns the character of Moses; Joel Edgerton is Rhamses II and Sigourney Weaver is queen Tuya. They are the characters that are the highlight of the teaser trailer which you can view below.
Director Ridley Scott, as some may know, plays it big whether it is the science fiction genre, Thriller, Action and War or period epics like Gladiator; Kingdom of Heaven and this one, Exodus: Gods And Kings, which is due to hit the big screens on December 12, 2014.
It is the casting of white actors in nonwhite roles being protested; and as some articles are pointing, based on just the "teaser trailer," the thieves, assassins and servants in the film are limned by Africans. Is this racist? – Now, that depends on who you ask. First things first, I wish that Twentieth Century Fox, the studio that is releasing the film, would've gone for the unknown actors to portray the lead roles. With a director like Ridley Scott even without famous white actors, a great film can still be made. Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto is a perfect example. Its production budget was $40 million and the film went on to gross $120 million worldwide.
But, the fact is that Exodus: Gods And Kings is not Apocalypto. Its production budget, which is yet to be divulged, I am sure is five times larger than Mel Gibson’s powerful film. But here we must consider the main issue, especially when it comes to casting a big budget film like this. When your project is a big budget movie, no matter how big of a star the story of it is, it won’t make money or get the attention if you don’t have a big movie star involved in it. Yes, this notion actually still exists. It’s natural for studios to think like this that's why we still have films like Transcendence and Edge of Tomorrow. Studios, as much as they love making films, adore new characters, in order to keep doing what they love, they must think of making a profit first. Though, this doesn’t mean that Will Smith and Denzel Washington are not big movie stars. From the business point of view the studios think differently for different projects. And, Exodus: God And Kings is no different.
Let’s go back to the racism issue as some are now even calling a film racist. But, I don’t blame them. See, as humans, we have to think differently than the rest when something happens. If we can’t, we must then force ourselves. I completed my middle school years outside of United States without even knowing anything about racism. I am serious. And then when I continued my education once I started high school in the U.S., I became aware of the term racism. I understand that racism, the subject of slavery is part of the American history, which was one of my favorite subjects. But, the way I see it, teaching or even mentioning the incidents of the past written in pages of American History, in the contemporary society of ours, is an indirect promotion of racism. Here is an interesting article I came across, which I think everyone must read: We Teach Racism, Sexism and Discrimination in Schools.
It is one of the most fragile, sensitive subjects, which is why it is an issue. The very articles written against Exodus: Gods And Kings, to boycott the picture, for Africans are portrayed as thieves and assassins and white actors are portrayed as kings and leaders, is a promotion of racism, for we’re providing racism the value and time it does not deserve. We think of an act as a racist act and it’s possible that such act or some acts are not intended to be racist. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen and heard that acts of racism are committed in secrets and at times even openly. I’m not denying those. But, the question is: Why a film, which is an art form, is now being called a racist?
Art knows no boundaries. We must treat the art form as an art form, for it is just an art form. An art form can capture any individual, any fact and any subject freely, for it has that audacity. Why are we dragging the race factor towards the art form? This itself is the promotion of racism. To kill racism, we must cease thinking about it. And, we must not teach it or learn it either.
So, should we boycott the film or not? — I say, no, for it’s an art form, which is made by passionate artists. As audience we must debate at a later time, though after seeing the result of the art form. If we boycott the film, racism will still continue. It is the racism out of the art form we must boycott, not the art form. And, in order to achieve such goal, we must all come up with a solution together as a society.