BEIRUT — At first glance, it's just another blockbuster trailer. Epic music by Hans Zimmer, futuristic settings, serial explosions — except that one of these explosions looks strikingly similar to one traumatic collective memory: that of Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port blast.
The trailer for Gareth Edwards' upcoming sci-fi film The Creator, which has been on YouTube for the past two weeks, appears to use images from the tragedy.
In the first sequence of a video that compares images of the Beirut explosion with those used in the trailer, a ray of light crossing the sky over the Lebanese capital is visible just before the blast. This same ray is present in the film's images. Even worse, the textures of some of the city's buildings have been altered and recolored. The Électricité du Liban building, for example, is repainted in a different color.
Just days before the third commemoration of the ammonium nitrate explosion, which claimed more than 220 lives, injured 6,500 people and destroyed swathes of the capital, criticism of the film's use of the footage is pouring in.
"How is this even remotely ethical or acceptable? How did it even pass through editing?!" one Lebanese man posted on Twitter, now rebranded as X.
Gareth Edwards' upcoming movie "The Creator" uses the Beirut Port explosion footage from 2020 as a backdrop for the movie's "CGI" explosion.— Malek Teffaha (مالك) | Future Class '22 ? (@malekawt) July 31, 2023
What in the ever living fuck?
How is this even remotely ethical or acceptable?
How did it even pass through editing?! https://t.co/VX8D1lVdiD
In another video, three American special effects engineers, who usually dissect trailers on their channel, are adamant: "This is not a good idea at all. We go to the movies to escape reality, not to revive traumas." Through images, they show how a shot of the Aug. 4 explosion was used in the trailer for The Creator.
The film, directed by the creator of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is due for release in the US at the end of September. But according to many online commenters, people in Lebanon are already planning to boycott it.