“Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden” is an action feature film scheduled for broadcast on the National Geographic Channel Nov. 4. No matter how it figures into the bitter pre-election debates in the political blogosphere, NGC’s decision to air the movie just two days before the election is ingenious from a marketing viewpoint. Announcement of the film’s showing has set off a flurry of self-fueled controversy that virtually guarantees to heighten the work’s viewership next Sunday.
Is the air date politically motivated? Freddy Rodriguez, who plays a Navy SEAL in the film, dismissed such charges when interviewed by the Associated Press.
“I think people who are in the opposing party are going to say that, of course … It’s almost expected,” he said.
Undaunted by criticism, NGC has waged a “media blitz hauling out its cast and crew to defend the film’s impartiality” according to the Atlantic Wire.
Director John Stockwell has blasted other criticisms of the film as “nonsensical” and asserts plainly, “This film is dedicated to the men and women of the armed forces and intelligence community who sacrifice, for us, everyday. We have tried to portray them accurately and with respect.”
Behind most of the controversy is the fact that Harvey Weinstein, the film’s principal financial backer, a longtime Democrat, has been an aggressive fundraiser for President Obama’s re-election campaign. If politics did enter into the film’s final production and rollout however, political pundits are pointing to editing decisions concerning the president’s prominence in ordering the strike that killed bin Laden, and the appearance of Mitt Romney opposing the raid in the film’s uncut version.
Coming to the film’s defense, the production team denies any recutting of the film for purposes of giving the president a starring role. In fact, NGC’s CEO David Lyle points out that the recutting done actually resulted in showing less footage of the president. People that haven’t seen the movie have decided that it’s a political event.
“Believe me, in 85 million homes, a movie from National Geographic is not going to change the outcome of the election in a country of 300 million,” Lyle said. “I think the end titles run longer than Obama’s time on screen,” Lyle also commented.
“While some aspects of the characterizations have been dramatized for creative reasons, the core story is an accurate portrayal of an event that ended the longest manhunt in American history,” according to NGC.
The film stars Cam Gigandet, Anson Mount, Freddy Rodriquez, Kathleen Robertson, Eddie Kay Thomas, Kenneth Miller and American rapper Xzibit. It is expected to be available on Netflix in the United States starting the day after its TV premiere.