My Childhood, Repurposed

by on May.07, 2009, under comics, Entertainment, movies

I guess I’m somewhat of a purist. I don’t particularly care for the use of samples from great rock songs in rap and hip-hop music (I don’t think it is wrong, it just isn’t to my tastes). Though I am a fan of a decent remake or mixing that seems artfully done. In the same sense, I’m not a fan of seeing (or in this case hearing) pop cultural elements that I respect being reused in a manner that I cannot respect. So you can imagine my chagrin when I heard a radio commercial this morning do precisely that.

On my morning drive as I was attempting to ignore an unusually long commercial block waiting for some more interesting programming, I heard a spot that featured none other than Peter Cullen doing his best Don LaFontaine impression to shill some initially unnamed product. Not long into the commercial, I find that it is none other than Coors Light who has employed the voice of Optimus Prime in order to promote their color-changing bottle-label and taste-preserving bottle-cap technologies. I was beside myself to say the least. Let me explain why.

See, if it was winter – in the heart of football play-off season, I wouldn’t really take issue with it. It would be a prime beer promotion season and reaching for that “in a world” vibe for their marketing would be completely viable. But it is not football season and Coors is not trying to reach the tailgaters of America with this campaign. This marketing decision was made with the upcoming release of the Transformers sequel in mind. Coors is specifically trying to reach my generation with these ads (there is apparently a TV spot as well) – they are exploiting the sci-fi/comic book geek generation with this casting choice. If you doubt my claim, you need only hear the commercial’s tagline to know I’m correct: “With great beer comes great responsibility.” (If you are not one of us, you may not recognize this phrase, but we know!)

So in this blockbuster movie season when many of the hot titles to see are of the science fiction and comic book genre, it seems that a beer company has opted to capitalize on this market. And it disturbs me. Because while I hate to see such childhood heroes as Optimus Prime and Spider-man have their visage tarnished promoting adult beverages, I have to commend them for their efforts. I don’t like it, but it is well played.

I will try to avoid hearing this commercial again. And I will try to rationalize in my head that neither Hasbro or Marvel had any part in the creative licensing for this campaign (after all, Peter Cullen is not acting as Optimus Prime and the tagline is different enough that they didn’t likely need sign off to use it). As I said, I’m a purist, and I plan to try and keep it that way.

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Watch the Watchmen (On Second Thought, Maybe Some of You Shouldn’t)

by on Mar.16, 2009, under money, movies

I recently went to see Watchmen at the theater (which I mentioned previously).  In short, I really enjoyed it and would gladly go watch it again and will likely rent it (or even shell out the cash to buy it) when it comes out on DVD.  I’ve since read a few articles about the opening of this movie that have left me shaking my head.  It seems that a good number of people who had opted to go see this movie ended up walking out of it before the end.  Confused and curious, I felt compelled to read on only to find that the cause was what I should have expected – poorly informed consumers. (continue reading…)

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I Watch(ed) the Watchmen

by on Mar.08, 2009, under comics, movies

I’ve been an on again off again comic book fan – never a die-hard, but always an appreciator of the form in the least.  And while I like many of the DC heroes, I tend to read more in the Marvel universe – there is a gritty realism there that the DC realm sometimes lacks.  One glaring exception to this rule is the mini-series arc from the 1980’s entitled Watchmen by Alan Moore.  I personally only read the series sometime last year around the time that I first learned there was a film being adapted from it.  It was dark, visceral, and exposed and exploited many of the flaws and brutalities of humanity and through all that it was beautiful and well crafted.  And yesterday I saw the film … in full IMAX glory. (continue reading…)

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Not Long Ago …

by on Nov.26, 2008, under family, movies, parenthood

It has begun!  If there is no other benefit of parenthood, it is being able to expose your children to whatever memes you like (and hope that they ascribe to them as well).  In this fashion, my daughter listens to alternative music, likes comic book super heroes, and quotes her favorite shows in conversation.  And this past weekend, I’ve initiated what I consider a sacred rite of passage – Star Wars. (continue reading…)

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Unapologetically Fanatic

by on Nov.17, 2008, under comics, movies

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am a huge fan of the recent comic book film adaptation movement.  I was raised on a formula of Superman, Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies.  Matured to the Batman and Spider-man series’.  And in my adulthood have enjoyed both fleeting and sustained relationships in the comic book movie genre.  But this article sent chills of pleasure down my spine (which I came across via a Slashdot post). (continue reading…)

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