22 November, 2005

Movie Review: The Island!

I recently had the opportunity to watch the movie The Island, which deals with Weighty Issues such as, "Will scientists grow power-mad and create a clutch of clones to use as organ banks for rich people, cynically denying their humanity?" These are, in fact, serious and delicate issues that deserve careful consideration, and director Michael Bay has clearly done extensive reading on the ethics involved from an essay his son wrote for his seventh-grade science class.

As annoying as the obtuse treatment of the issues involved was (I could actually feel my brow-ridge expanding as I watched), what was REALLY goddamn annoying was the product placement.

Here's a shot of Ewan MacGregor at the bar. There's some drinks. Oh look, the bartender is setting down a bottle in front of them, with the label turned so we can read it clearly. Wow, they still drink Aquafina in the year 20X6.

Oh! Here is hot blonde actress Scarlett Johansson engaged in some fancy-shmancy virtual kickboxing with Ewan MacGregor. Hey, what's that familiar logo being not-so-subtly flashed in the background? It's the X-box logo! Boy, those X-boxes are sure advanced in 20X6!

Here's director Michael Bay, counting his money. Hey, Michael Bay - do you think we're fucking baboons, or what? Do you think that sort of shit makes us do anything other than roll our eyes and mutter, "Jesus, that's some shameless, shameless product placement."? Did it occur to your advertising geniuses that maybe our disgust would make us less likely to buy those products?

Not that this kind of stuff is new. One of my favorite films from the early eighties, Blade Runner, has some equally glaring product-placement. There's Coke advertisements all over the dystopian future. Except Ridley Scott had the good taste not to insult us: in Blade Runner, those ads are just another garish, weird feature of the ugly urban landscape. Even in the future, this shit will haunt us.


Not to mention the Puma shoes and clothing and the MSN search booths. 

Posted by Nikhil Mulani

All that agreed with, I must say I like science fiction product placement for products that don't exist by suitably bizarre and futuristic brands. Remembering that this shit will  haunt us in the future, and imagining out that much detail, is a nice touch if you go for that sort of thing in the first place.

Any thoughts on Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro? I was kind of thinking of trying to read it, in that fantasy never-never land where I actually still read lots of long novels.  

Posted by Saheli

While we're on the topic. . .80-100% fine crimpy fluff  

I think that will be the goal for my next blog. 80-100% fine crimpy fluff. Sounds like a recipe for success.

Posted by Saheli

woops, wrong blog.

Weird, I just watched the beautiful and oddly erotic movie 2042. I saw no product placement in the whole show until the closing credits, which inexplicably have the logo and name of the huge mobile phone manufacturer, LG. The logo of which looks like the WInking Circle . 

Posted by hedgehog

electronics firms are frequent sponsors of films in east asia, particularly art films. not enough money in them for full funding from media companies. actually this is true about the USA also, except that what's happened is the electronics firms just went right out and bought the media companies themselves. 

Posted by chromo

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