I haven’t seen “Red Tails” yet, so this isn’t a call to action to support a film that I haven’t personally viewed. And sadly, despite the significance of the story “Red Tails” chooses to tell, the reviews have been less than kind.
TIME magazine, for example, has a review for “Red Tails” with a headline that reads “Red Tails: So Square It Can Barely Fly.” Other sites like the Boston Globe applaud the movie for its efforts, but feel the film tries so hard to please everybody that it fails to dig deep enough to satisfy anyone.
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But here’s why you should ignore the critics and movie reviews and go check out “Red Tails” for yourself.
Last week, I wrote briefly about how “Red Tails” made its way to the big screen. Mr. Star Wars himself, George Lucas, held a screening for the film and many of the major movers and shakers in Hollywood remained unwilling to lend their support to the movie.
Lucas was repeatedly told that a film like “Red Tails,” which features a virtually all-black cast, is a drama that’s so grand in scope (and so black on screen), that it would be nearly impossible to sell to American audiences.
That’s Hollywood exec speak for “if I invest millions into this black film, I doubt I’ll get my money back.”
Out of financial options, George Lucas decided to pay the nearly $60 million it took to bring “Red Tails” to screens across the nation today. And that’s a big deal.
Not so much because of the money—George Lucas is very financially comfortable thanks to Han Solo and Chewbacca. But the expectation among many in Hollywood is that “Red Tails” won’t be successful. It’s deemed a “black movie,” so unless it features Tyler Perry’s Madea shooting down Nazi’s in a fighter jet, there’s no way it can recoup its production costs.
- Story: Should we start expecting more from Tyler Perry?
It’s a sad fact that blacks still need to “prove themselves” in Hollywood circles, but that’s certainly still the case. But like as the popular cliché goes, “money talks.” If “Red Tails” is a financial success, it’s possible that executives in Tinseltown will start to care less about how black a film is as long as it ultimately makes a lot of green.
But “Red Tails” is also making an attempt to shatter certain film perceptions when it comes to African American actors, too. Movies that are deemed as “black films” are usually comedies. Rarely are ones of significant note dramas (with “Precious” and “Pariah” being recent exceptions), and it’s almost entirely unheard of that a “black film” be an epic action production with impressive computer generated images.
So in many ways, “Red Tails” is breaking new ground for “black films.”
I can’t endorse “Red Tails” because I haven’t seen the film yet. But I’ll just leave you with this: if a powerful heavyweight in Hollywood like George Lucas can’t get support for a film like “Red Tails,” nobody can.
Still, George Lucas has put his money where his mouth is–he bankrolled the entire production.
Now, the onus is on the viewing public. Ultimately, it comes down to whether you’re interested in seeing more movies like “Red Tails” made in Hollywood. Or, if you’re content with “black films” being largely perceived as lower budget comedies.
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