Activision's big-budget Sam Worthington x Jonah Hill commercials for Modern Warfare 3 won a lot of fans, but novelist, essayist and former paratrooper D.B. Grady is not one of them.
Writing on The Atlantic, Grant - "a former paratrooper with U.S. Army Special Operations Command and a veteran of Afghanistan" - says the commercial series "trivializes and sanitizes war to an extreme, setting a new low".
"The advertisement trivializes combat and sanitizes war", he writes. "If this were September 10, 2001, maybe it wouldn't be quite so bad. Those who are too young to remember Vietnam might indulge in combat fantasies of resting heart rates while rocket-propelled grenades whiz by, and of flinty glares while emptying a magazine into the enemy. But after ten years of constant war, of thousands of amputees and flag-draped coffins, of hundreds of grief-stricken communities, did nobody involved in this commercial raise a hand and say, 'You know, this is probably a little crass. Maybe we could just show footage from the game'."
Having never been to war, I don't think I'm qualified to argue for either side of this. I will say, though, that if he wants to really talk about hideous marketing, someone should point out to him that almost nobody in this business shows actual footage from a game in a trailer.
The Hideous Marketing of 'Modern Warfare 3' [The Atlantic]