I enjoyed 3rd entry in the Transformers movie series very much (I know, I also feel guilty but I did enjoyed); dubbed as “Dark side of the Moon”. Though tone of the entire series allow ample space for the viewers for suspension of disbelief, one thought pierced my mind and has been nagging me from that point onward whenever I try to entertain myself with fictional account which involves history. How grave impact popular media is having on the audience, especially juvenile or ignorant or uneducated in influencing their knowledge base which has been so partially, and in some cases completely dependent on entertaining media. I can understand the liberty of showing Dark side of moon playing key role in Transformers, but having shown forged video with then American president Nixon and proposing large-scale global conspiracies is definitely not correct way to get informed firsthand about moon voyage.
In the same track there was slapped on X-man story on true key historical event of Cuban missile crisis in X-men: First Class. Why so much bickering, you may ask. For me, movie is much powerful and influential medium as compared to books and games. There is limited fan base to books and other media. It is not “exposed” to all types of people. So if such maligned data be presented in book format one can also assume that people who got affected by it are readers in themselves and hence me very well be aware of the factual history. Similarly Gaming medium itself has never taken such liberty to account the presented story as facts or conspiracies. On the contrary, Games are evolving as most sought education medium when done correctly. True, Movies have disclaimers but who actually knows what is there.
Consider a case here in India with Bollywood (Indian movie industry) where nowadays the trend is to make movies “inspired” by true historical Indian events; Jodha-Akbar, Bajirao Mastani and now upcoming Mohenjo Daro. Producers somehow took unprecedented advantage of words “Inspired from true events” and presented the history in different light. Was Bajirao such an invalid to go gaga over Mastani with entire kingdom and his wife on hand? Is really Akbar in “true love” with Jodha as presented? Akbar had 13 wives in total. Even though in ideal case, he had “truly loved” each one than also Jodha would have to contend with 1/13th of True Love or should I say “divided love”.
New upcoming trailer of Mohenjo Daro has surpassed things in terms of historical fiction. This part of Harappan civilization had been excavated in 1924-26 when due to its excavated situation named as Mohenjo Daro; translated in dialect Sindhi as “Mound of Dead”. Why the hell than actors in movie still call it the same when all of them are quite well and alive? This is blasphemy. One can easily search the Google for degree of discrepancies these so called historical movies spreading. And that brings us all to same question. Why so much bickering? Because how many of us really care to crosscheck the facts. Movies is accessible to all kind of people here in India and most of which are not keen on sharpening their historical know-how. My concern is what blasphemy they can spread further on with such tainted knowledge. Time will come when the curious child will have to fight hard just to contemplate what is true and what fiction is.
PS: I can understand that there is never easy way when you are taking reference of some historical events. There are always disputes. Much more views and counter-views. And that’s because if history is not documented well enough than there is no way to ascertain the factual events. Movies need not be historical documentaries for sure nor are directors and producers history teachers. Duty lies with audiences and viewers to gobble down such movies with pinch of salt and pepper; satiating the curiosity of mind (if there are) with proper dose of “knowledge-pill”.
PPS: I love both Transformers and X-men series.