A Few Words About A few words about...™ Casino Royale -- in BD

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Sony's new Blu-Ray of Casino Royale is pretty. Having not seen it theatrically, I'm not certain if it isn't too pretty. But it comes off as a quality BD experience.

    What I found disturbing was a tendency toward what should be an embarrassing level of both self-promoted tie-ins, as well as side deals with other producers of goods and services.

    While I'm certain that I'm in the minority, I find that a film literally stops dead in it's tracks when it becomes a commercial. Do James Bond and his band of merry cohorts really need to be using Sony Vaio computers and Sony Ericsson telephones and communication devices? And does virtually every vehicle in a film need to be a product of Ford Motors?

    When Columbia's owners were based in Georgia, and not Japan, there was an occasional sighting of one of their products, but at a certain point it simply gets silly and annoying.

    As for the disc, it was a very pleasant experience, and a very clean one.

    Recommended, but without a Ford or Vaio being in my future.

    RAH
     
  2. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
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    Thanks for the review and I am glad that someone else was as annoyed by the overbearing product placement as I was.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Poorly handled product placement tends to suspend the suspension of disbelief necessary to make some films work.

    RAH
     
  4. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Well I usually notice product placement in films and I'm usually annoyed by it, however the only instance I really noticed in CR was Bond using the Blu-Ray player but I was expecting that one.

    Maybe I was too engrossed in CR to really notice or care.

    I've seen much more blatant examples of PP in other films over the past 20 years.
     
  5. KurtEP

    KurtEP Supporting Actor

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    I can't wait to see this in HD. I've seen it twice in the theaters and own it on DVD, but I currently only have HD DVD (grrrrrr!). For some reason, it struck me that the coloration looked different on the DVD compared with the movie, but I'm not really sure why.

    As to the product placement, I found the Sony stuff a lot less annoying than the Ford placement. I think I only saw one or two closeups of cars that weren't Ford products (at the time, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, Ford, etc...).
     
  6. Jim-M

    Jim-M Second Unit

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    I'm just a Joe Schmoe with no film credentials and a sometimes faulty memory, but the BD looks like what I remember seeing in the theater. Actually it looks better at home because there is more of a 3-D effect. As to the product placement, I have no clue what kind of phones he used and Bond doesn't seem like a Mac kind of guy to me. I don't associate Bond with Sony, and I never care what studio a film is from, so the tie-ins go right past me.
     
  7. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    I found the tie-ins on this film as jarring as those in the Spider-Man films (Dr. Pepper, Cingular, Macy Gray, etc.). I understand that a certain amount of product placement lends realism, but when all the products come from one faceless multinational conglomerate, as was the case with CR, the realism suffers and the placement veers into self-parody. This is the comedic terrain mined so well by the spoofs in Looney Tunes: Back in Action and Wayne's World.
     
  8. ScottJH

    ScottJH Supporting Actor

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    When I think of James Bond, I think of....a Chevy Aveo.[​IMG]


    Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Land Rover are three BRITISH car companies that were that are/were owned by Ford. Aston Martin has been sold off in the past couple of weeks.

    So there's nothing wrong with tying into his British roots and giving the picture more of that International flair and ironically the only Ford badged car Bond was driving, the Mondeo, won't be sold in the USA.
     
  9. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    I agree about the product placement. It did stick out like a very sore thumb. I really like CR. Alot...but the product placement DID pull me out of the film some.

    This is not exclusive to this film, but it was the most I've seen in a long, long time.

    Back to the image, Robert; What goes into a decision to "clean up" a film like Royale that is so new?
     
  10. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    It doesn't bother me at all, infact, it adds a bit more realism to the movie.
     
  11. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

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    Heavy-handed product placement in the Bond movies has been going on since the Roger Moore era.

    Given how Fleming's novels regularly namecheck brands to emphasise Bond's effete liefstyle, I'm prepared to cut the movies some slack.
     
  12. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Indeed, I wasn't bothered by the product placement much at all because in comparison to the Brosnan-era bond movies, it was pretty darn restrained. Remember John Cleese stopping to name-check the car last film, or the Visa ads shot with the cast? What goes on in Casino Royale is minor stuff.
     
  13. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Rewatched the film on BD tonight and enjoyed it just as much as I did in the theaters and the first time through on BD. In fact, in the theater, I thought it was too long. I'm getting much more accustomed to the pacing now watching it multiple times at home.
     
  14. Rob_Walton

    Rob_Walton Second Unit

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    the only really jaring moment of product placement was bond driving the ford from the airport to the hotel in the bahamas. not exactly a bond-like moment - and it felt a little tacky. for the rest: bond's gonna have to use mobiles, and computers, and cars. is it really expected that the company financing the picture will provided advertisement for competing brands?
     
  15. Greg Kettell

    Greg Kettell Screenwriter

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    Of course not, but that doesn't mean they need to flash the Sony logo on the screen every chance they get either.

    I think the product placement was especially jarring in this movie, due to the fact that they otherwise left most of the cheesiness of the Brosnan era behind. The product placement stuff stood out like a sore thumb.
     
  16. Grant H

    Grant H Cinematographer

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    As to the look of the film, I've read it on the forums that this film was shot with a combination of digital cameras and film (much like MI:3, which actually looks, to me, a bit less digital color-wise. If so, that would explain the look. It was surely digitally color timed, and likely made to looks consistent with itself regardless of the cameras used scene-to-scene. Unless the shot digitally info is BS. Naturally, a duped theatrical print is going to look different than a video transfer struck from an original (likely digital) source. An exhibition print will add it's own "filmwash" to the image, so I can't say what ended up on video isn't closer to the original intent than what I saw in theaters. I would have actually preferred a grittier film look as well (I think a more digital look is fine for some fantasy films and the Star Wars universe, but a gritty reality should perhaps be, well, gritty), but if what I've seen on DVD is the way the director intended...

    I can't say the product placement bothered me any more than any other Bond film...or any other film at all for that matter.

    I've seen much bigger commercial moments in other movies, like X-Files, any of the Brosnan films showcasing the BMW line (esp. Goldeneye when the car just showed up to look nice). You could say DAD was a big Aston Martin and Jaguar ad, but really if you have great shots of a cool-looking car in action isn't it also for the benefit of the scene?

    As far as Bond driving his Ford Fusion (I think), that drew laughs in the theater, and not because of blatant product placement I don't think. Everyone was laughing because it was so un-Bond-like, kind of like that Cuba moment in DAD. At least that's what I thought. Much of the film is about Bond finding his style and adding some finesse. He's pretty much just a one-man wrecking crew in the beginning. Bond's been wearing Omega watches for a while; perhaps it was a bit much to point out that he switched from Rolex, but really I think that dialogue was more a nod to the evolution of the series and telling us this isn't the old Bond we or our parents grew up with. At the very least, the product placement in this Bond film usually served a dual purpose. I like the film more every time I see it, and I can't imagine letting these things get me upset since the quality of the film is really much higher than any other Bond film. It's engrossing from beginning to end, and I'd have to be in a rotten mood or just want to tear the film apart.

    Even with the blu-ray player (which makes sense if you were recording a hi-def feed) they had the decency to keep the blu-ray logo just slightly out of focus on the disc. If I hadn't expected it, I might not have even noticed it was Blu-ray. I was looking for it.

    And another note about Ford: Have you ever noticed just how many Ford Mustangs have been in the Bond films? Almost every film has one, usually driven by a Bond girl. Does that mean every Bond film deserves such criticism?

    I think the one that's going to stick out the most over the years is Halle Berry's Mercury Cougar if only because I don't think the popularity of that car lasted (but probably longer than the re-introduced, super-retro boat called the T-bird).

    Honestly, product placement has to go pretty far to bother me. The Cheerios in Superman is really bad when you consider they flipped the box around so it could read from two opposite shots! You shouldn't create a continuity error just to get extra product placement.

    That said, it takes me out of the film much more when someone drinks from a can that says "Cola" or uses their "MasterCharge." A fake or generic name just tells you you're in a fake world and destroys any illusion of reality. Should Bond use a computer that says something like "Speedy McPC" on it? Or a "ClearPhone"?

    More food for thought: After seeing the X-Files movie, a friend of mine told me he knew instantly the bomb was in the soda machine because it was labeled generically...and no company would want to be associated with a bomb.
     
  17. Jim-M

    Jim-M Second Unit

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    It seems that a lot of the awareness of product placement must be based on the viewer's awareness of brands. To start with, do you think of Casino Royale as a Bond movie or a Sony production? Do you look at the content of a cell phone screen or the brand? I would think someone has to be pretty attuned to car brands to think of Land Rover, Jaguar, and Volvo as Ford. I just think of a couple of English car companies and a Swedish company. Years ago, if Bond had been riding a mountain bike, I would have been all over what brand it was, what kind of components, etc. So much of the product recognition says as much about the viewer as it does about any product placement. I'm with some of the others who think that fake brands are more jarring than real brands. To me they stand out far more.
     
  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There are any number of film which have no brands, ie. logos covered -- one would assume for copyright purposes. Many, many Apple laptops are used in productions with a rather obvious piece of tape over the backlit logo.

    Unfortunately, to answer the question, because of product placement, I think of this as a Sony film first and a Bond film... later.

    RAH
     
  19. Rob_Walton

    Rob_Walton Second Unit

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    i'd agree with some of the earlier sentiment that those noticing product placement in many cases are probably on the look out for it. that says more about their own priorities, than about the film they're discussing.

    it's dissapointing that robert harris's review of this title focused almost exclusively on the area of product placement instead of on pq and aq. not sure what use this will be to those reading this forum.
     
  20. EnricoE

    EnricoE Supporting Actor

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    best pp ever: wayne's world [​IMG]
     

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