Wonder Woman has been banned in Lebanon

(Note: This article is correct at time of writing- 31/05/17)

Wonder Woman has been subject to some of the most pathetic ‘controversies’ I’ve ever had the misfortune to glare at over my morning cornflakes. They include the ‘expected’ controversy over whether or not her costume is too sexy (which according to the director it isn’t.)

To an actual controversy about whether or not the Amazons would have shaved their armpits or not (I told you the ‘controversies’ were pathetic.)

Then the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater received some negative responses for announcing a series of women’s only screenings of the film now, they are taking place after the premier of the film and for charity but I still have mixed feelings on the subject.

But the award for most astonishing and in some ways most pathetic controversy belongs to the country of Lebanon. Which has banned the film completely. Not for moral or ethical reasons or because their still scarred from Suicide Squad and Batman Vs Superman: Dawn. It’s not even really for religious reasons.

Rather it’s because Gal Gadot is an Israeli.
Lebanon, which has been officially at war with Israel for decades, has a law that encourages boycotts of Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling to Israel or having contacts with Israelis.

And this has been a seriously last minute ban- allegedly coming into effect a mere 2 hours before projectors started rolling.

The ban was prompted by a group called Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel – Lebanon, which pressured the government in Beirut to block the movie. On its Facebook page, the group said it is advocating a ban because Gadot was a soldier in the Israeli army, and has expressed support for Israel’s military policies against the Gaza Strip, a coastal Palestinian territory run by the militant Hamas group.

In a widely shared posting on her Facebook page, Gadot had praised Israel’s military during the Gaza-Israel 2014 war, sending prayers to Israeli soldiers “who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas.”

Even though Lebanon enjoys a greater margin of freedom of expression than other countries in the region, prior censorship remains in place, particularly with content relating to Israel, religion and homosexuality.

Ironcially, the same council that decided to ban Wonder Woman failed to get Batman v Superman: Dawn of Migraines banned in the country. And other Gadot films (like the Fast & Furious installments she starred in and Tom Cruise vehicle Knight & Day) were also shown in the country.

And despite the ban in Lebanon, Wonder Woman is set to open as scheduled during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan across theatres in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait on Thursday. It is scheduled for release June 22 in Oman and June 29 in Bahrain. Although this may change at any time.

Interestingly, In 2013, the Lebanese government heeded a call by the Arab League to ban Lebanese-born filmmaker Ziad Doueiri’s “The Attack” because it was shot in Israel. As a result, the film was “massively pirated across Lebanon where the DVD was prominently showcased and sold in all major pirate DVD stores there,” says the film’s Middle East distributor Gianluca Chakra, head of Dubai-based Front Row Entertainment.

“Did they actually stop people from watching the film? Absolutely not,” he said.

And I figure the same will happen here.


Wonder Woman Now Works For The UN

I’m beginning to wonder if the UN has lost the plot.

Because that’s the only thing that makes sense.

Let me explain.

Violence against women is a horrific stain on our planet and I find it shameful that in 2016 women are denied the same chances to even something as basic as an education in many places is indefensible.

And so I should be championing the fact that the United Nations, an organisation with a global reach and responsibilities, a budget of 5.4 billion with 193 member states, with the motto

The sons of Adam are limbs of each other, Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others
Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a human. ((Persian) Iranian poet Saadi)

And the person that it picked- bearing in mind it had the the whole world (population 7.4 billion so assuming a 50/50 gender split that’s roughly 3.7 billion women) to chose from, they gave the position of an Honorary Ambassador with the explicit role to promote messages about women’s empowerment and gender-based violence… to Wonder Woman.

A fictional character.

Now, I don’t want to get into debates about whether or not they picked the right fictional character- that’s what the comment section is for. My complaint is that they picked a fictional character at all. With over 3.5 billion women to choose from, could the UN not find a real woman? A Chibook Schoolgirl? Malala Yousafazi? Jennifer Laurence?

Whilst I accept that we could do with more female leads in entertainment, this smacks less of accomplishing a serious need than of a corporation or uncle trying desperately  to be hip and cool with the kids. I mean hell, Emma Watson has done incredible work for the UN in her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador since being appointed in July 2014. Why not just have her reprise her role as Hermione Granger?

And I would like to point out that The UN has itself come under some criticism for having a lack of gender parity in senior roles. Despite campaigns there has never been a female Secretary General and one analysis found that in 2015 nine of 10 senior leadership jobs went to men.

Comics site The Mary Sue welcomed the announcement  “Wonder Woman is a great, easily-recognisable symbol of what women can become once freed from a patriarchal society”, it said.

But the UK Women’s Equality Party (membership 65’000, founded 2015) said it was “fittingly comic that the UN could not think of a single human woman who could take on this role”.

Party leader Sophie Walker said: “I meet extraordinary women every day: women who have survived violence, or defied gender norms to ascend to the top of a hostile industry, or blazed a trail in the arts or media or sport or health.”

“These women are truly superheroes. They don’t wear hotpants, they don’t have the power to wield Thor’s hammer – they change lives, and they are the role models our young people need to see.”

DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson will accept the role for her company’s comic book, TV and film character at a ceremony on 21 October.

And whilst I agree that the character can be seen as a role model, I can’t help but feel that by picking a fake person over a real one and not but putting it up for a vote so womany McWomanface can win the role a chance to engage people has been lost. I mean next month will I be typing that Superman has been picked as the fictional ambassador to promote messages about tolerance and empowerment for refugees?

I agree that we need to do something about this situation. Men and women should be equal, with the same chances as each other in life with their success being defined only by their talent and not their gender.

But until then, what do you guys think of the whole thing?


Batman V Superman Teaser Trailer Review

So the new trailer for Batman V Superman / Man of Steel Sequel has dropped and…

It’s awesome!

And it’s a grey depressing mess which shows that Warner Brothers and DC have learnt nothing from Man of Steel.

And yes, I can hold both of those thoughts in my head at the same time. Lets me try and explain why.

To look at, the trailer is impressive, it ties in directly with Man of Steel and shows the world asking itself what to do with Superman? After all, he’s basically a God and whats to stop him when if he goes bad? And even when he was trying to help he flattened a city.

It shows Bruce Wayne realizing that he needs to become Batman again, as he is the only one who could stand before Superman. It even shows Wonder Woman for half a second.

The cast look good, (except for Lex Luthor) and its clear that there’s going to be a ton of stunts. But here’s where the issues start to creep in for me.

Allegedly, after Green Lantern sank faster than the Titanic, DC decidd that it was purely down to the level of ‘jokes’ in the script and decreed that there was to never again be a joke in one of their films.

Leaving aside the fact that Green Lantern failed in every way imaginable, this means that most DC films are very hard to watch. Grim and gritty works for Batman, he’s a rich guy with issues. But Superman is meant to be about hope and there was very little of that in Man of Steel.

Truth be told, I found that film grim, hard to watch owing to it’s grey tone and fac that no-body seemed to talk like a human being, the constant CGI action became annoying and I just wanted a joke, a one liner, hell, even a DAD joke and it looks like the same is happening in this film.

I’m still looking forward to it, but I can already tell that it’s going to be action heavy, no-body is going to talk like a human and i’m going to leave with a splitting headache.