Controversy before entertainment in movies

John Manalang

Movies have been a fragile form of art entertainment lately. Judging from past controversial movies such as “Passion of the Christ”, “Borat” and even the latest box office hit “300”, movies seem to have delivered one sole purpose: To piss off as many people as possible. Here are some conclusions that some have derived from the mentioned movies. Keep in mind that the following statements do not promote any truth so you may put your torches and stones down:

“Jews are to blame for Christ’s death and they promote anti-Semitism. Greeks are far superior to Persians. And Kazakhstan reeks of bizarre behaviors and incest? very niiice!”

Those words have fueled so much propaganda and social cynicism with people that they find no room for entertainment.

We have become smarter as viewers. We can no longer neglect the social values of movies and influences they may have on people’s perceptions on race, politics and religion. We can’t help but play a closer attention to details that may offend the person next to us.

Who can blame people for deriving negative observations? It may be the fact that movie companies surge offensive products through theatres yearly. Religious advocates have clearly stood their ground against them. Gibson’s Christ tale in 2004 portrayed a very explicit, graphic and visceral approach to Jesus Christ’s agonizing trial. After seeing the movie, I was simply disturbed, especially having a religious background myself.

Political influence can also be a big cause in movie controversies. Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie “Borat” in 2006 tied in with anti-Semitism. Cohen’s character traveled through America, crudely mocking feminists, southerners, and of course, Jews. The movie infuriated the Kazakhstan government because of the movie’s disassociation from the real Kazakhstan. President Bush even hosted a White House talk regarding Cohen’s movie. The satirical comedy was hilarious, but I’m sure Cohen was aware of the risks, especially in politics.

Perhaps movie controversies come from people themselves, as they may cultivate a false reality simply from a movie. “300” is a movie based on a fiction novel which itself is loosely-based on a historical battle that occurred 2600 years ago. I expected the amount of gore and violence in the movie would anger a lot of anti-violence protesters. Two days after its release, it angered a lot more people than I thought. The Iranian community protested against the movie’s misrepresentation of ancient Persians, stating that it depicted them as “dumb savages.”

I believe there is no question that the entertainment value has taken a backseat in movies, thanks to the slew of controversies derived from them. Movies are specific pieces of art that some may love but others will absolutely loathe. Behind all the conspiracies and controversies, I think producers still churn out movies just for the sake of entertainment.