In preparation for the debut of the new film Act of Valor, there have been screenings across NYC, including one that we attended a couple of weeks ago on the Intrepid. Among those in the audience: Montel Williams, Stephen Baldwin, and many of the stars of the film, who are actual Navy SEALs.
“Inspired by true events,” the story focuses on the a group of SEALs and their mission to thwart a terrorist attack. According to The New York Times, the Navy is using the film to reach potential recruits.
“For the Navy and the SEAL community it was, ‘Hey, you need 500 more SEALs’ and that launched a series of initiatives to try to attract more people. This film was one of those initiatives,” Rear Adm. Denny Moynihan from the Navy’s Office of Information in Washington, tells the paper.
According to the story, the military has a long history of working with the entertainment industry on projects, including the first Oscar-winning film Wings. With this movie, not only did the Navy hope to increase efforts to bring in new SEALs, it’s looking to capitalize on the attention it has received from recent missions, such as the killing of Osama bin Laden.
We saw the trailer for the film a couple of times before the screening and thought repeatedly that it was an ad for the military. The whole movie plays out similarly.
While you can guess at the military involvement in the making of the movie, a quick glance at the movie’s website and Facebook page make no mention of it. We talk about transparency with brands and companies, and the same should apply here. That relationship really should be spelled out more pointedly in promotional materials for the film, especially when you have articles like this and this and this being published that scrutinize the way the military and its stories are being used to reach citizens.