Boycotting Exodus?

I had heard about this earlier, but with the release of Exodus: Gods and Kings I think it is coming out in the news a bit more and that is the boycott of the movie over the more egregious whitewashing in the movie. It is also in the news because Ridley Scott apparently has been blasting critics who have been saying that they will boycott the film. He also has been talking about how the casting for the film was motivated by economics. All of these reasons really seem like copouts.Then recently I read an article on The Mary Sue that reviews the movie and apparently the whitewashing is overshadowed by how bad it is. Whitewashing is mentioned in various movies, but I wonder if the reason it is getting so much attention now is because of the current political climate in the United States. At the same time it could be one of many points to judge the movie upon.

Boycotting

I think boycotting something that you disagree with is a completely legitimate action, but for those that are boycotting this movie I would hope that they would do the same in other instances as well. I personally am disappointed in the whitewashing because I can think of some amazing actors who probably could have played the various parts in the movie who would have been at least more accurate. It would be nice if we could go with whoever is best for the part and embodies the character because I think then the color of their skin does not matter. Sadly, that does not seem to be how the world works now a days. At the same time unless we boycott every movie with whitewashing of a similar vein it comes across as very superficial and based on the current environment versus a real issue that should be discussed.

The big thing that we need to remember to do whether you boycott the movie or not is to keep the discussion going about the issue of whitewashing. Again there are a lot of diverse actors that could play a wide variety of parts, but there are certain parts that could benefit from a more accurate portrayal.

Director ‘Splaining

Of course adding fuel to the whole fire is Director Ridley Scott being kind of an ass. He apparently has decided that everyone boycotting the movie is stupid and that people would not have paid to see the movie starring a no name actor. These just make people angry and really come across as crap answers. I understand name recognition, but there are plenty of actors with enough name recognition who are not white men or women who could have filled the roles. The other option is that you just need one person with name recognition and then you can choose some lesser known actors to play the other parts, it is not going to ruin the movie. I also think that we do not give our audience credit. If you make a movie that has the awesome special effects, epic fight scenes, and the preview draws them in to the story or the characters you can get people to want to go to the movies. I know actor recognition is important, but it has to be an actor that I love and not just anyone. I like Christian Bale, but I do not know that I would see a movie just because he was in it. Also, they put some other big names into pretty minor roles, which does not fit the theory.

A Bad Movie

I have not seen the movie yet, but after reading the review on The Mary Sue I don’t think I want to. Of course, I have to admit I was not that thrilled about the movie in the first place. I don’t know why, but it just never pulled me in. Which is funny because the Exodus story is one of the more well known Biblical stories and has some pretty great moments. It has plagues, wrath of God, burning bush, parting of the red sea, etc. It is an epic story from the Bible, but somehow they do not make it look interesting. I have to say the other part is that Prince of Egypt  was actually a great movie and told the story really well. This movie seems to lack some of the heart of the story. Even if you did it as a non-religious story, it is still a great story about slaves being freed. At the same time if you do take God out of Exodus that would most likely make a lot more people mad. The sad part is that this movie could have been good because it is a good story.

See The Movie or Not?

After everything I have heard I think I am going to save this movie for a rental. Between the whitewashing, the general lack of interest in the movie, and the really bad review, it just does not seem worth my time to go see. I think I would rather wait until it comes out on rental to watch it where I can be in the comfort of my own home instead of the quite uncomfortable local movie theatre.

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6 responses to “Boycotting Exodus?

  1. I’ve seen most of Ridley Scott’s movies, and save for a few, I loved them. His name is normally enough for me to go see a movie, regardless of the cast. Yet, this one made me think of Kingdom of Heaven, which I haven’t seen in its entirety so far, because it didn’t pull me in (I prefer Scott’s genre movies rather than the more low key contemporary ones, save for Thelma & Louise).

    I’m disappointed in the white washing of the cast, but it wouldn’t prevent me from seeing the movie (as I’d sadly miss on a lot of movies/TV shows if I decided not to watch anything until the industry gets its act together about diversity and representation). It is the same as if I boycotted movies that don’t have the feminine representation I hope for.

    Watching movies which have problematic representation can help continuing the discussion and bring attention to the issue at hand. The more we discuss it, the more we might hope to get things moving in the right direction.

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    • I agree with you. I hear Ridley Scott and I think good things. The Mart Sue is only one opinion and I don’t always agree with them but their review does give me pause. My sister actually shared this article with me that really has a balanced view of this controversy. http://thegrio.com/2014/12/09/exodus-white-cast-diversity/

      I really think it has been brought to light due to the current political climate more than anything else. At the same time I do not think you can truly judge a film unless you have seen it and can confirm the issues being presented. Also, I think it is okay to like something and still be able to take a critical look at what might be problematic moments there in. Then you can have a discussion of the merits and faults instead of throwing it all out. Rotten Tomatoes has critics at about 43% currently which is not great and not the worst I have seen. It is also a 2 and a half hour movie, which is fine for a movie that I am excited about but for one that I am kind of meh on it is a bit harder to swallow.

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      • Given how I am still watching my money, I’ll check Exodus once it comes out on DVD. I am picking the last Hobbit over this, but I will still watch Exodus because it is Ridley Scott who directed it.

        Thank you for sharing the link to the article. I think that one thing about Sigourney Weaver being included in the cast can also be explained because as far as I know she remained good friends with both Scott (and also James Cameron) since the Alien franchise days. Regardless of cast and stories, it isn’t uncommon for directors and actors to go hand in hand at least on a semi regular basis. Does that mean that I’ll think that Weaver’s character could have been portrayed by an actress of color? Very possible, but in Weaver’s case, I don’t think it was pure economics.

        I am expecting to still have issues with the movie, especially in terms of cast, after I see it, but I reserve some of my judgement until after I do see it.

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  2. Ridley Scott has pretty good name recognition on his own, he really ought to be able to get by with one or two big-name actors at the most. That would also make the “best actor for the job” argument hold more water, if some of the “best actors” were a bit more diverse.

    I generally watch everything Christian Bale is in. He may be crazy, but I love his work. He’s probably the only reason this movie even blipped my radar at first. So, sure, it probably helps to have big-name actors. That said, if Exodus was being promoted as accurate, an unwhitewashed version, etc., it probably would’ve shown up in all my newsfeeds. Instead, it’s showing up there for the opposite reason.

    Beyond representation, it just looks really boring. I can’t discern much of a story or angle from the trailers, and it’s coming off as just a strained, overhyped, overbudgeted version of a story we’ve all heard before. I’ll overlook representation problems if you give me something else, but this is giving me nothing.

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    • So as of this reply Exodus has a 28% from critics and a 40% from users on Rotten Tomatoes. That is a pretty bad combo. I am someone who loves Christian Bale, I remember a young Christian Bale from Newsies. I also think Ridley Scott is usually good.

      One thing that is interesting as a comparison is Arronofsky’s Noah. That one was also blamed with whitewashing but i think it still worked because he bery obviously had a vision for the story he wanted to tell and he told it. It did not strictly follow the story but i still enjoyed the movie for the story being told. I feel like with Exodus i dont see the motivation behind why this story is some of it. I will admit my husband David brought that to my attention.

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      • I still need to see Noah, but yeah, there’s an immediate comparison. Noah was controversial and a lot of people didn’t think it was well made, but it was a pretty successful venture with a distinct idea. Exodus might seem more interesting if it wasn’t coming after Noah.

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