My name is Daniel Miles
And I am a film Critic
And I can no longer trust James Bond.
For a start, this week it was revealed that the Welsh Assembly refused permission for key scenes to be filmed there as apparently they re not a “Drama Studio” which is odd as they’ve given permission for not only Dr. Who bu also Sherlock to be filmed there.
But my main issue is with a more insidious force than the Welsh National Assembly. It’s with product placement.
Now James Bond is no stranger to product placement, Hell, Tomorrow Never Dies was the first film in history to make its budget back entirely from product placement and even the book are replete with the stuff. So, I was expecting the camera to linger on a beer bottle, for a cars name to be mentioned or a phone to be heavily marketed despite only being in the film for approximately 2.7 seconds. I wasn’t expecting it to potentially alter the entire plot of the film.
Allegedly, the Mexican government has given the film 20 million dollars/14 million pounds to portray Mexico in a positive light. And also to ensure that the villain isn’t Mexican. And to portray modern “Mexico City buildings.” Oh, and to cast a Mexican Actress as a Bond Girl.
I’m not naive enough to think that this is the only film to be altered in this way. Any film costing north of 100 million pounds is going to take any money that’s offered to it to avoid it flopping and potentially taking film studios with it, but that doesn’t stop it leaving a bad taste in the mouth. But it does make you think, if this can happen to a James Bond film, as sure as a film gets of being a hit, then what kind of decisions and deals are made around smaller films?
Product placement isn’t going anywhere. Ever. Films are too big to not have them in. An average blockbusters costs over 150 million dollars with almost the same again in advertising and with that kind of money on the line I’m not sure who to blame, film studios or you for demanding that films get bigger and bigger whilst the plot and story get forgotten about.
So in closing, what do I think? I’m disappointed in EON for not telling Mexico where to go but mostly i’m wondering if Dredd had chugged down on a Coke and driven a BMW, would it have gotten its much deserved sequel?
Oh, and Check out Morgna Spurlocks excellent documentary “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” to learn more about the shocking amount of influence Product Placement has over our film and television industry.
My name is Daniel Miles