Why "Red Tails" should not be turned into a Political Event

Why "Red Tails" should not be turned into a Political Event

After George Lucas, director of "Red Tails," theorized last week that his movie on the Tuskeegee Airman was not supported in Hollywood because it lacked white actors, the film has sort of become a vehicle for social protest against whitewashed Hollywood.

Some groups have been calling for an "Occupy Red Tails" movement where people flood the theaters to demonstrate that black movements can sell tickets and wield green power. Tyler Perry, the black director who ranked #1 when it came to Hollywood profit last year, sent out a newsletter to fans, telling them to go see the movie.

This is all too much for a movie that seems poorly made and, quite frankly, boring.

I love the Tuskeegee Airmen's story as much as anyone. In fact, I've spoken in the past to an actual Tuskeegen Airman who lives in the Chicago area.  That group of 3,000 segregated pilots were incredible men who deserve to have their tale dramatized.

There are three problems though:

  • Poor casting
  • Poor script
  • A Mary Poppins veneer

I'm not sure why Cuba Gooding, Jr. or Terrance Howard were cast in this movie, since they are both given to overacting. I've seen clips of their scenes. I am not impressed. It's too much.

The plot seems quite generalized, without enough distinction between character plots. In steady of a hero to focus on, we get a nebulous montage of characters. In marketing, the movie sells history rather than a hero's struggle narrative. The dialogue sounds like a bad civil rights speech. It's so self-important and pompous. The men don't speak; they orate.

Finally, in trying to flatter these men and African-American history, Lucas glossing over their personas making them seem like perfect beings. No flaws, no internal struggle. Yet, the complex hero is what makes a movie so good.