On November 4, two days before the election, National Geographic will air a made-for-TV movie, SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden, that prominently features President Obama’s role in the operation. Prominent Democratic supporter and Hollywood royalty Harvey Weinstein backs the project and maintains that scenes of Obama in the film give it a greater sense of realism and the project is not politically motivated. I maintain that this movie is politically motivated, but don’t mind.
This is not the first time a movie released close to an election caused a stir. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone still laugh about Sean Penn’s outrage in the fall of 2004 when they released Team America: World Police. Penn feared they might swing the election in Bush’s favor. He did win four more years, didn’t he?
So if a puppet movie got Bush re-elected, a made-for-TV National Geographic movie will have to get Obama re-elected, right? Evidently, the few million undecided voters in the few swing states are also the most likely to watch politically charged movies right before the election and then vote accordingly. This is, of course, absurd. If winning an election were that simple, Hollywood would decide each president. They only wish they were that powerful.
The truth is most films have some sort of political message. The FBI thought It’s A Wonderful Life was communist propaganda, and so what if it was? As artists, filmmakers often make political statements with their work and may even try to influence elections, but that doesn’t mean that they do.
This is the nation where a Hollywood actor becomes one of the most beloved presidents of the 20th century, and a former political satirist currently serves as the junior senator for Minnesota. Entertainment and politics are so thoroughly mingled they’re sometimes indistinguishable, and I seriously doubt this movie will be half as entertaining as this election has been.