THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Will Smith Is 'The Last Pharoah'

Ehhh... I don't think this is a good move for Will. I just can't see him in a proverbial sword-and-sandals epic. His dramatic skills leave much to be desired, and I just can't see him in this kind of historical action/drama. Maybe he'll prove me wrong when the film is eventually released. 

It's titled, The Last Pharaoh, a drama crafted as a vehicle for Smith to play Taharqa, a pharaoh of Egypt, and a member of the the empire's Twenty-fifth dynasty. His reign can be dated from 690 BC to 664 BC. The film will focus on his battles with Assyrian leader Esarhaddon starting in 677 B.C.

Yeah - the more I think about this, as images of what this could look like float around in my head, I really don't think this is a good move for Will. And no, I'm not "hating" on him. I admire his ambition here, but I'm just having a hard time picturing him in a film like this, and pulling it off admirably.

However, like I said, he could prove me entirely wrong! And for that we'll have to wait and see after this is produced and released - likely not for another 2 years at least.

8 comments:

  1. The Sujewa said...
     

    This might be interesting to check out. In general Hollywood has so far not portrayed ancient Egyptian rulers in a positive light. Also, even though Egypt has one of the oldest histories on Earth & many artifacts from it survive, not too much is known about it in the US & Europe & Asia (appears to me that way at least). So maybe that will be changing in the near future.

    One of my favorite Sci-Fi shows; Stargate SG1, unfortunately takes the position that ancient Egyptian culture on Earth is the product of alien reptilian/snake like creatures. Which, given the traditional use of the symbol of the snake in western culture (tool of the devil or the devil itself), is not at all a positive thing.

    Anyway, a Hollywood movie about ancient Egypt could stimulate the release of new educational items (History channel, Discovery, etc. programming, DVDs, books) that deal in greater detail with actual ancient egyptian history, including new discoveries. That would be very cool.

    What's up with all these ancient cultures in the Americas, Asia, etc. having giant pyramids? Are they related to Egypt? Would be interesting to find out. Also there seems to be similarities between ancient Indian (in India) religions & artifacts & Egyptian ones.

    - Sujewa

  2. The Obenson Report said...
     

    As long as Michael Bay isn't directing it, I'll remain hopeful!!

    I don't know if the film itself will be worthwhile, but I certainly agree that it could stimulate interest in Egypt, past, present and future. I can't say what kind of interest though.

    And speaking of Hollywood's portrayals of ancient Egypt... have you seen a documentary called "Reel Bad Arabs"? You should if you haven't. I don't think it's on SnagFilms though.

    As for other cultures having pyramids... I think it's safe to say that they were influenced by the ancient Egyptians, who built some of the earliest pyramids. They all seem to have had a similar intent - meant to house tombs. So, I don't know if they are specifically related to Egypt, as much as they were simply influenced by the Egyptians, made more evident by the fact that they all seemed to have an initial identical purpose, regardless of which part of the globe they reside on and which culture created them.

  3. The Sujewa said...
     

    Info. is vague & tinted with religious ideas & possibly historical re-visioning, BUT, there seems to be a lot of ideas linking Egyptians & Indians in India; check out this page:

    http://www.hinduwisdom.info/India_and_Egypt.htm

    From the page:

    "According to the Skandha Purana, Egypt (Africa) was known as Sancha-dvipa continent mentioned in Sir Willliams Jones' dissertation on Egypt. At Alexandria, in Egypt, Indian scholars were a common sight: they are mentioned both by Dio Chrysostom (c. 100 A.D.) and by Clement (c. 200 A.D.) Indirect contact between ancient India and Egypt through Mesopotamia is generally admitted, but evidence of a direct relationship between the two is at best fragmentary. Peter Von Bohlen (1796-1840) German Indologist, compared India with ancient Egypt. He thought there was a cultural connection between the two in ancient times. There are elements of folk art, language, and rural culture of Bengal which have an affinity with their Egyptian counterparts and which have not been explained satisfactorily in terms of Aryan, Mongolian, or Dravidian influences. There are similarities between place names in Bengal and Egypt and recently an Egyptian scholar, El Mansouri, has pointed out that in both Egypt and India the worship of cow, sun, snake, and river are common."

    The existence of "indian" - either people to be known to have come from India or people accidentaly recognized as Indian (in case of Native Americans) world wide - specially with huge similarities in art & religion (the mandala i believe is used by both religions from india & some native american religions) AND the existence of pyramids in the Americas & in Egypt could mean either at one point either Egypt was very influencial world wide at some point and also India, or both Indian civilization & Native American/the pyramid building ones (Aztecs? Mayans?) civilizations have direct links to Egypt (since humans have first been located in Africa, it probably happened that way as opposed to humans in the Americas or in India inventing stuff that seems Egyptian first.

    Maybe as we figure out better ways to decode the past, accurately map the events of the past, we'll find out exactly what went down.

    Modern humans are said to be 200,000 years old. For the most part, anything beyond 10,000 years ago is a big mystery (culture wise). Very interested in figuring out what we were up to (if anything - but judging by the interesting remnants of Egyptian & some Asian civilizations definitely looks interesting) from like years 0 (point in which Homo Sapiens/modern humans came on the scene) to 190,000 or 198,000 (from 1 AD or so to now - 2008 AD/CE we have a lil' bit better records).

    One of my wild theories re: this stuff is that all the technology & ideas that we are inventing & using now in the modern world is not new; if we were able to go from mostly illiterate, lacking science, etc. to being able to create & deal with nuclear weapons in less than 2,000 years, it is possible that this rapid creation is a part of a cycle; maybe in the past 198,000 years humans have gone from the wild to nuclear and back to wild several times over.
    Or that the new inventions are not new at all; just forgotten & kept deep in some kind of an ancestral memory (Jung's Collective Unconcious?) type situation - & gets dug up by some people when training & conditions present themselves.

    Of course I have no proof for this :)

    But, I have read that they found possible evidence of nuclear blasts in the ancient Indus Vallety city Mohenjo-Daro. Also, J. Oppenheimer, one of the inventors of the nuclear bomb (WWII era), apparently said that him & his team were the first people to use/test nuclear weapons in "modern time" or something like that. Curious.

    - Sujewa

  4. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    I've only skimmed through the above comments, but I can't help thinking... This is a Hollywood movie! Surely nobody really thinks that it'll have any firm historical base! I would imagine that it'll probably stimulate interest in Egypt pretty much like the epic 'Cleopatra' did in the 60s... In which case, I can very much see Will playing this role.

    Will Smith as the new Elizabeth Taylor... except with fewer marriages.

  5. Mabrook said...
     

    It sounds nice and interesting!!!
    It will be one more film in my list of movies that I'd like to watch!
    :-))

  6. The Obenson Report said...
     

    @ Sujewa

    One of my wild theories re: this stuff is that all the technology & ideas that we are inventing & using now in the modern world is not new; if we were able to go from mostly illiterate, lacking science, etc. to being able to create & deal with nuclear weapons in less than 2,000 years, it is possible that this rapid creation is a part of a cycle;

    Interesting observation and worth exploring. So, I suppose the idea, following Jung's Collective Unconscious, would be that this "reservoir of our collective experiences" can and will only be tapped into via some evolutionary process that requires some specific knowledge from within that reservoir, when most ideal? Or, in essence, we have all the answers to all our questions already, stored someone in our unconscious, but each question is answered when the time and conditions are right for them to be answered. Hmmm... intriguing concept. It presents several possibilities. It's almost a kind of fatalist stance on life and living... that everything is preordained. Piggy-backing Oppenheimer, one would then have to say that knowledge of his nuclear bomb came when it was supposed to... when the conditions were right... when they were necessary. Although I think those Japanese who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII would disagree.

    Also interesting, given our initial discussion about Indian connections, Oppenheimer quoted from the Sanskrit Bhagavad Gita ("I am become death the destroyer of worlds") after he and his team performed the first test of their nuclear bomb.

    Would all make for an interesting narrative. You should explore this on film, whether fiction or non.

  7. Tyler said...
     

    I agree - I actually think it would be hard because he's such a contemporary film presence that the film will feel unintentionally anacronistic (much the way Wild Wild West did, though in that case I think that was the misguided point).

  8. The Sujewa said...
     

    I think WWII forced scientists to try to develop the atomic bomb (in Germany, US, maybe other places too). Further, the funding & the clearance/support from gov since it (WWII) was close to an existential emergency for the country - came through & made the creation of the bomb possible (without that kind of urgency & support it may have taken a lot longer to create).

    I don't think things are predestined or preordained, but I think, let's say, if we try to create faster than light travel, first we will naturally pull from all relevant data from the known experience with travel, fast travel, light speed, etc. that we have collected over hundreds of years to try to solve the problem. What if the problem was laready solved thousands of years ago by a civilization that did not leave any records - BUT - since all humans that live now have had a relative at every point in the great chain that spreads over time - back to billions of years ago - and if one of these ancient relatives came in contact with the info. that we need now, it is possible that the info. may be stored in the "collective unconcious" (wherever that may be - I guess deep in our brains). Anyway, a modern scientist trying to solve the faster than light problem might get some clues, intuition, hunches, dreams that point in him the right direction, and those clues could be coming because the species has dealt with this problem before and we have a memory of it.

    Yes, TOTALLY speculative. But I think that's how it might work. Going from horse & buggy to space shuttles in a little over 100 years is pretty awesome; but the key tool that we used to achieve those goals - the human brain - is supposed to have been capable of current level & type of activity 200,000 years ago.
    So, since much of human history before 10,000 years ago is unknown, I think (based only on my own wild & un-scientifically supported intuition) it is possible that the problems we solved/stuff we created over the past 100 plus years may have been dealt with in some way at an earlier point in human history.

    Of course this might just be a good idea for a movie only :)

    Either way, interesting to think about.

    - Sujewa

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