Get in the Bin!: The Localised Product Placement in San Andreas


Product placement is a long, rocky bridge to navigate. It generally pays for a large portion of a film’s production budget, therefore it is a necessary evil. You can only hope that the product placement is subtle and natural to the story being told. Is someone in a movie using an Apple iPhone, using a Dell laptop or wearing Nike shoes? That’s okay, as these brands are a part of our everyday lives as well.

Award: Converse All-Stars Vintage 2004I even have an award I give out for my movie reviews for bad product placement. It is based on an early scene from the Will Smith movie i,Robot where Smith’s character fetishises over his ‘vintage’ (vintage as the movie was set in the future, but the sneakers were currently available at all major stockists) Converse sneakers. The dialogue was clunky, and the product shilling was apparent, and it is these things that drive a viewer directly out of the movie-going experience. It’s reverse movie-magic.

Bad product placement sticks out as it actually looks like an advertisement mid-movie as opposed to harmonious integration. Wayne’s World perfectly skewers the perceived product placement faux pas by tackling it with comic effect (and no doubt paying some bills at the same time):

It’s up to the filmmakers to not throw in brands so gratuitously that it affects the viewing experience of the audience. Michael Bay can’t do this, and he’s the prime example but he’s not alone.

This is the scene!

This is the scene!

This brings me to the recently released disaster movie starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, San Andreas. Without getting into the plot too much, Rocky is an air rescue pilot who finds himself swept up in the middle of an massive earthquake that devastates many Californian cities based on the San Andreas Fault line. There is a scene where Johnson and his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) crash-land a helicopter into an outdoor goods store. Upon leaving the store we get a hero shot of Johnson exiting the flaming wreck to reveal the product placement that caused my neck to whiplash due to the speed of the double-take: that outdoor goods store was Australian retail chain Ray’s Outdoors. (more…)

Get in the Bin!: 3D Television

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m on 27/09/2010.

Luke Miksa's: The Negative Space Bar

There are many embarrassing fads currently permeating throughout our current cultural zeitgeist; Justin Beiber, auto-tune, Ed Hardy, but there is something out there that is obviously just a fad that is misleadingly being sold as the future of home entertainment: 3D Television.

Spot The Weasel...Ever since the release of Avatar in late 2009, 3D has been all the rage in technological circles. We are seeing sporting events, television shows and a great many films utilising this ‘new’ space-age, technological advancement and having it shoved down our collective throats. The problem is that 3D popularity is cyclical; with booms of 3D films in the 1950’s and the 1980’s prior to this current run of popularity. It seems that every generation gets a run of 3D domination: which is fine, except that in each instance the fad dies and becomes a gimmick just as quick as it started.

But I hear you saying, “…but Luke, Avatar was revolutionary; a state of the art, immersive experience that you yourself have praised for its technical achievements. You can’t deny the highest grossing movie of all time, sir. You just cannot.”

This is all true, but don’t forget that Avatar had an unprecedented production schedule of about five years, as well as having an extravagant budget which has been estimated to have been around the $250 million mark – both huge numbers by Hollywood standards. No matter how hard they try, no other movie will match Avatar aesthetically due to those two glaring facts. And in the year since Avatar’s release we have seen a slew of 3D films which have served nothing but to hammer this point home: nothing has matched Avatar and it appears nothing will in the foreseeable future.


Get in the Bin!: iTunes Updates

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m on 15/09/2010

Luke Miksa's: The Negative Space Bar

Welcome to the newest feature of Sorry I’m, a little thing I like to call GET IN THE BIN! (Or as many sane people call it: ranting). The genesis was simple: I have a lot of beef with many different things; so begins this gripe-tacular period of this website’s history…


Seven: that’s how many times I’ve had to download a new version of iTunes this year alone! And these are not just simple updates and patches; these are full downloads of roughly about 100MB each time. I know this isn’t very much by today’s standards, but without naming names, my Telstra internet connection is about as sluggish as, well, a slug: a big fat one. The last thing I need is another download to take up all my bandwidth and chip away at my precious download limits.


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