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I, Robot.

I saw I, Robot last night, but what it should have been called was I, Advertising.

It's remarkable that I enjoyed this film after the opening five minutes, which should have included a little note, saying, This section of the film was paid for by Converse and JVC and the company that owns the music being played. In fact, should a note have been provided, I would have found it a refreshing bit of honesty. But, alas, no note. Instead, Will Smith, in the future, shows near orgasmic joy over a pair of converse sneakers, vintage 2004. I thought to myself as I looked at the vintage shoes (that I could go and buy for eighty bucks, because, gosh shock fuck golly, I live in the year 2004!) that the film industry really does think I'm an idiot. It isn't even trying with subliminal marketing.

So, here's a bit of advice: you can buy knock offs of those Converse canvas basketball shoes for twenty bucks. They're a brand called Blend, believe it or not, and they are so identical that are probably owned by Converse, in the same way that Coca Cola owns Homebrand or No Frills or whatever those generic brands are in your part of the world. Twenty bucks. One orange note.

And when everyone around you looks down at your cheap knock offs and grins in ridicule, cause you're not branded in the socially acceptable way, you can ask, "How much you pay for yours?"

"Eighty,"

"I paid twenty. With the money I saved, I lower executive at Converse starved to death, and the mass process line of Globalisation was halted just for ten seconds. See how I helped the world and got a cheap pair of shoes identical (outside that ugly label) to yours?"

The advertising in I, Robot is so poorly hidden that you are left with no choice than to believe that Alex Proyas left his artistic license at the door, and cashed in big time. I hope he has new tomb stone cleaner for Brandon Lee, who, at this moment, is beating bony decayed fists against his coffin, demanding that his death at least ensure films without ham fisted marketing thrown through it.

Still, the film itself, isn't bad. Will Smith is slightly unpleasant in his role as detective Converse... I mean, Spooner. He drives an Audi. In fact, a lot of people drive an Audi. It appears as if the Audi has stormed the world with cheap automobiles that don't run on gas, thus reducing pollution. Of course, this is just guessing, because of course Audi doesn't make this kind of statement in the film, and would hate to do such a thing that would damage its market ratings in that industry of its, but still, it's hinted at. Audi also seems to have solved parking. But, like I said, Will Smith drives one, having recently returned to his job as a cop after an accident.

I actually thought the accident and how Proyas worked it into the film was the strongest part of it. I won't spoil it, except to say that, for me, it made the film rise above the stinking pile of product placement that it could have been. Well, that it was, really. (I mean, it's the fucking future, for gods sake, how hard is it to just make up fake companies and have them strewn through it to save me the feeling that I just paid eleven bucks to watch a commercial for fucking Converse? See Will Smith dodge the bad robot, see him kick, see how he gives everyone attitude... he has Converse. Yes, thank fucking you.)

Actually, you know, screw this. This film is a commercial. Skip the thing or download it or do something, anything, other than pay money for it.

And tell people, the reason you're doing this, is because you resent Converse assaulting your senses like so.

Comments

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ashamel
Jul. 29th, 2004 06:38 am (UTC)
I thought you'd seen it, and was impressed by the fact Alex Proyas had made it. Or did I misinterpret and/or confuse you with someone else?

Anyway, you make good points. Not that I recognised the sneakers as being a real brand or anything. I was fairly sure the car was, I just didn't know which. I guess that's a good thing. But nothing impresses me more than the guy who weaves through a crowd in Terminator 2, managing to keep his Pepsi can towards the camera at all times. It takes skill, you know...

I don't know if I would boycott the film over this, though. Such things can even work out (witness Blade Runner, which used real advertising to make its future much more believable). But then again, maybe I should. I, Robot just wasn't good enough to carry itself with any particular grace over the product placement (though the move as a whole wasn't too bad either).
benpeek
Jul. 29th, 2004 06:52 am (UTC)
i had a few hopes for the film, because of proyas, so maybe you're thinking of that?

i don't know if you should boycott the film. it just seemed like a good idea by the end as i was typing there. it's just that the product placement was so obvious, so about selling me something, that i couldn't get past it. i'm well aware that in every film out there, a product appearing is paid for, in some way, but it should never rise above the background and establishing a world reality, imho.

but it seems to be that it's getting worse, this advertising, and unless people start voicing complaints against it, it'll just continue and become more and more acceptable...
future_conduit
Jul. 29th, 2004 06:56 am (UTC)
Wil Smith
don't worry. i was planning on waiting 'till DVD.

as for the product placement thing: at least "revenge of the killer tomatoes" dealt with product placement in an honest and presumably comical manner.

i could imagine what would happen though if the hollywood art department were to design a whole range of "generic movie brand" products. it would be the Duff Beer phenomena all over again where copywrite law suits would render the actual product to be taken off the shelf and collecters would reap the rewards while the manufacturers take it up the pooper.

Wil Smith gave me the shits even as far back as Fresh Prince of Bell Air. and i was deeply offended at the pervesion of UFO folk lore that ommited 1/3 of the Men in Black posse to make it fit into the "original odd-couple" action comedy genre. my blood still boils at this technical inacuracy added to the fact that the real MIB actually specialise in threatening people who plan on going public about UFO sightings and do not offer interstellar pest control services for liberty & justice for all...

but funilly enough i didn't mind BadBoys2 in a "big guns, explosions" kind of way.

benpeek
Jul. 29th, 2004 05:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Wil Smith
god, i hated bad boys 2. on the other hand, i thought the mib films were a nice little diversion of amusement. though, in fairness, i've always thought that will smith had a nice screen presence, and have never minded him in films or whatever.
bodhichitta0
Jul. 29th, 2004 09:56 am (UTC)
That is so depressing. I just wanted to go and see some robots kill some people in devious, malicious and mischevious ways. *sigh*
benpeek
Jul. 29th, 2004 05:37 pm (UTC)
well, you won't really see that. robots don't really kill that many people, and certainly not in devious ways. but if you can get past the advertising, it isn't a bad film.
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