For over 7 months, the world has been shut down as people are prohibited from going to school, work, or other daily activities in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Frustrations with the pandemic have rose as we are approaching colder weather and cases are increasing. At the start of quarantine – a term that has become too normalized – people sarcastically compared the pandemic to movies, but top Hollywood producer Michael Bay is actually bringing the pandemic to the big screen with his new movie ‘Songbird’ starring KJ Apa and Sofia Carson.
— Songbird (@Songbird) October 29, 2020
What is the Movie About?
We may be still dreading the effects of COVID-19, but in Bay’s world – four years into the future – the virus has transformed America into an apocalyptic society as the virus has mutated into COVID-23, killing over 50% of its victims.
Through mandatory thermal scans, citizens must scan their face each day to detect a possible infection. If an anomaly appears on the test, the infected will be immediately removed from their home and forced into a quarantine camp. While waiting to be escorted to a camp by the sanitation police, the infected person may not leave their home – or they will be shot on sight.
Living in this dystopia are the protagonists Nico (KJ Apa) and Sara (Sofia Carson) who fall in love after meeting online during the beginning stages of quarantine. Though they have never met in person, they have played crucial roles in each other’s lives by helping each other cope with the harsh realities of the new world. However, Sara becomes infected with the virus and must wait for the sanitation police to take her away. But Nico – who is immune – will go to any lengths to get to Sara before she is seized.
Throughout the trailer, the song ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley is used to depict the new normal, but the lyrics “Don’t worry bout a thing cause every little thing gonna be alright” is ironic as clearly nothing is “alright” and the song speeds up as more horrific events occur and harsh realities are revealed.
This thriller’s plot may be suspenseful and intense, but many think it is too soon for a movie about the current pandemic as we are currently living through it and watching thousands of people die.
One Twitter user compared the pandemic to the last crisis America has suffered, 9/11. After 9/11, the user claims films avoided using the World Trade Center out of respect for the lives lost and says Bay is being insensitive to those who are suffering greatly from the pandemic.
remember when 9/11 happened and films refrained from using the WTC for a while out of respect?
flash forward two decades and people are so irreverent now when even worse tragedy hits; there’s a michael bay thriller about it AS WE’RE GOING THRU THE EVENT.
— Morgan (@LeimertCreative) October 29, 2020
Other Twitter users are agreeing that the movie’s intensity and horrific depiction of the pandemic is not the kind of media we need to get through these dark times.
Making a “dystopian horror movie” about a horror that is real and happening RIGHT NOW is so tone deaf. And so not what people need. So many people have lost jobs, livelihoods and loved ones due to COVID, and everyone’s life has been severely effected. Bad, bad, bad move.
— pip pap @ genshin impact (@scallywap) October 29, 2020
nah i can't get over how michael bay saw thousands of people dying and losing their jobs during a global pandemic that is still going and thought yeah let me make it into a bad action movie with the riverdale guy
— kia (@LADYBlIRD) October 29, 2020
The last thing we need in a pandemic…is A MOVIE about being in the pandemic. Really #MichaelBay
— Tre Mosley (@TreMosleyVO) October 29, 2020
In addition to these comments, people are declaring that Bay did not “read the room.”
Michael Bay trying to read the room pic.twitter.com/FeBIgi99BL
— Roland (@RolandCreative) October 29, 2020
While a “cool” concept, this feels like the most tone deaf possible movie to make right now. Maybe next time read the room and don’t try and release a movie that’s going to create sensationalism around the deaths of 220,000 people.
— Factoid Powerlifter Comic guy (@factoid_twitch) October 29, 2020
Also, many are declaring that Bay has “no taste” by choosing to produce this movie.
Did you guys checked on Michael Bay ? A lack of taste is one of the Covid symptoms.
— LΔurent (@_LaurentB) October 29, 2020
Many are also angry that Bay will be profiting off of the tragedies of 2020 by releasing this movie.
This feels wrong. I can't articulate how I feel honestly but if feels like they are trying to benefit financially from the hell that is the pandemic. Having lost family members (yes unfortunately plural) to covid I only hope there is humanity and hope found in the film.
— Darknightmare (@Darknightmare93) October 29, 2020
The release of the trailer has also sparked many to call for Michael Bay’s retirement.
Can we just all collectively agree Michael bay should just retire https://t.co/u9ZEm2St2e
— among us stan account (@YingjueChen) October 29, 2020
Some are also despising the trailer for its cringiness.
So…..that Michael Bay covid movie.
I just saw the trailer and uh… pic.twitter.com/egIDf76xD7
— Leviticus101st (@LeviJones101st) October 29, 2020
However, one Twitter user is arguing how Hollywood has utilized societal fears of the time for movies in the past, but in a more subtle and unrealistic way. But no one could have imagined a worldwide pandemic, so this movie only increases mass hysteria for the future.
Horror in media has always been reflective of the societal fears of the time. When Americans feared threat of the atom bomb, a rise of Alien Invasion movies came. At the threat of terrorism, zombie movies were on the rise. It’s usually supposed to be subtle & nuanced though.
— pip pap @ genshin impact (@scallywap) October 29, 2020
Another Twitter user is commenting on the irony of ‘Riverdale’ actor KJ Apa starring in the movie as she claims Apa has been public about his views against wearing masks.
the irony of kj apa (who doesn’t think covid is real, doesn’t wear masks, travelled during quarantine, and never social distanced) being in a movie about covid that was filmed during covid… also the pandemic isn’t even over and there’s already a movie about it? i hope it flops. pic.twitter.com/Fcenrgz0NR
— blair (@lovemesometopaz) October 29, 2020
On the other hand, Twitter mostly has positive thoughts about singer and Disney star Sofia Carson, and some will watch the movie solely because Carson is starring in the film.
You ever see a trailer for a film that you know is most likely going to suck so bad but you still really wanna see it anyway? 'cause that's how I am with Songbird. Plus Sofia Carson is in it and she's pretty much the only reason why I wanna watch it lol. https://t.co/uSDPm9FJdM
— Harmony Dancer (@Bloom_Tazza93) October 30, 2020
At one point, many of us expected for someone to eventually make a movie about the pandemic, but some never expected a movie surrounding the fears of COVID-19 would be the first movie to get the green light to begin shooting during the pandemic.
Although it may seem that we are living through a movie today, do you think it is too soon to make a movie about COVID-19? Do you think it is possible that Michael Bay’s movie will become a reality?