Sony Pictures Launches Excruciatingly Stingy “B:LA” Teaser Campaign at Comic-Con, Online

23 07 2010

They Had Me At “Doom”

If you’re lucky enough to be at the San Diego Comic-Con, you suck. If I had just one nerd friend that I could drag with me to things like this, I’d be there too right about now. It seems like it’s crazy as all hell.

So for months, there’s been almost no new images or details about Battle: Los Angeles—which I imagine is in keeping with Marketing 101, or whatever, but it sure has been annoying. As of this weekend, though, those days of information blackout are over; there’s B:LA data literally pouring out of San Diego right now. In fact, I’m not even gonna try to keep up with it. Let the cream rise to the top, and all that. Twelve bloggers blogging, eleven twits a-tweeting.

Viral teaser campaign: San Diego Comic-Con (image yoinked from a Giant Freakin Robot post).

By the way, in an earlier post I said that this joint was dropping on 17 February (F is for February; February is for film failure), but a few months ago Sony bumped it back to 11 March. Peter Scrietta at / Film calls this release date the “coveted 300 slot”; I guess it’s the opening weekend during which 300 broke not one but two spring box office records (it’s all on Wikipedia, if you’re interested). So we shall see.

Viral teaser campaign: San Diego Comic-Con (image yoinked from a FirstShowing.net post).

Until the Comic-Con dust settles, we the losers who didn’t go can only gnaw on the thrown bone that is the official website. Because the web address featured on all this advertising media demands nothing less, I’ll isolate where I would otherwise incorporate:

reportthreats.org

Yeah. About that. Okay, so on the main page of the Battle: Los Angeles website, visitors are invited to “enter the site and find out the truth”—which happens to be the exact tagline Sony Pictures used in its Phase I viral marketing blitz for 2012 (don’t strain yourselves or anything). And indeed, when you click through, it’s all standard teaser fare. The fictitious organization. An emphasis on verisimilitude. And lots of video. They have all of this “footage” organized into categories, and I nosed through most of it (if you’re wondering whether that was a waste of time, the answer is yes, it was).

If you’re a glutton for punishment, I recommend the “Eyewitness Testimonials” category. Start with the one I gravitated to right away: the one labeled “Doom”. It’s wrapped flimsily around this premise of a shared event at what I’m gonna go ahead and call a swap meet. So in the course of these “testimonials”, the vendors (or whatever), who include a scruffy, lip-pierced bad-ass and some concerned seniors,  succeed only in conveying that they are bad actors who can only get viral campaign work (with the exception of the black lady—I totally bought what she was selling). And isn’t that the same outfit that George Sr. wore while he was hiding out with the staircar down in Mexico?

Clockwise from top left: inked and street-savvy member of 18-to-24-year-old demographic who knows what he saw; hard-working chaser of the American Dream whose accent lends a sense of mystery and who has seen more than her share in her time on this earth but never anything like what she saw on the day in question; inventor of the Cornballer (¡Si! ¡Si! The Cornballer!), with longtime secretary/personal assistant Kitty Sanchez.





D9

16 08 2009

No Subtitle Necessary

I was very interested to see whether District 9 would live up to all the hype. People have been saying that it was going to be good, but people say a lot of things. The ad campaign for this thing has been creative to the point of hot-as-all-hell, but too often that just means that somebody’s desperate to market a product that somebody else has already told them is shit. And I’d already heard some rumblings about a played documentary-style approach and a mysterious black fluid that was assigned so many mysterious properties that it was effectively Bond-O for plot holes.

Well, my fears were unfounded. This movie was awesome.

I’ve decided that I’m not even going to worry about spoilers. If you’re somebody I know, then you’ve either already seen it or have no intention of ever seeing it (I know you people), so it doesn’t matter. If I don’t know you, then you made it to, like, page 19 or so of the Google search results for something like “distritc 9 sublinimle mesenges” (I know my WordPress dashboard), and you’re a weirdo for making it that far down. Why would I care about ruining a movie for a weirdo.

Very International Pictograms Standard. Win!

Viral teaser campaign: billboard.

Okay, so the film presupposes the presence of a stalled-out alien mother ship hovering derelict over Johannesburg; the action of the film takes place two decades after its arrival. Despite being forced almost immediately into an enormous favela, the 1 million drone-class aliens who were found in sorry shape on the UFO have since bred in captivity, so that after twenty years they’re up to 1.8 million in number (if I recall correctly). So, it being Earth and all, this population crisis has tensions at a near-boiling point. Also please note that, although this recipe for disaster took twenty years, one imagines that it took all of twenty seconds for the smug, NIMBY-minded, pay-it-forward South Africans, our representatives of the human race and its nature in this film, to come up with a slur that would stick (“prawns”), and not much longer to ghettoize the disadvantaged aliens into dumpster-diving poverty.

Very fascist color scheme. Win!

Viral teaser campaign: bus stop.

At one point, a female voice-over reporter remarks, without a trace of irony, on the crowd of onlookers from “human rights organizations” which has amassed to monitor the forced eviction of the decidedly non-human aliens from District 9, and suddenly I got the movie. This movie isn’t about Wikus, its human and squirm-inducingly Kafkafied protagonist. It’s about the unrivaled, subtitled humanity of the alien Christopher (I love that all the aliens have been assigned Western names, but this beat-you-over-the-head-with-the-fact-that-this-is-a-morality-play name in particular is a bit much). Oh, yeah, and speaking of the Wikus mutations: that shit was gross. Between his shedding of body parts and the other characters’ apparent absence of any shred of human decency, this film is only for the strong-stomached. Seriously. Oh, and in terms of war-gore, let’s just say that more often than not the settings on the alien rifles are cranked to “microwave”. So convincing. Ergo, so nasty. Catsup packet comes to mind.

Generic in a dystopian, 1984 kind of way. Win!

Viral teaser campaign: print (L) and special (R).

I love the fact that there’s lots of humor and levity during the first half-hour, which is styled as a sort of documentary and serves to bring the viewer up-to-speed on the last 20 years, but that the humor straight-up evaporates when shit stops being polite and starts getting real. You know, like when you start committing mass infanticide with another species’ eggs. Or you find out that you’re “worth more dead than alive” to your father-in-law, who is also your DNA-harvesting boss at the menacing defense contract corporation where you work. You know, the one with a totalitarianesque name (Multi-National United) that gets truncated to an acronym (MNU). That one.

I know my posts’ve been more cheer than jeer lately, but this movie is really, really good. 2012 will be better disaster porn, but District 9 has substance. Also, two of the dudes from Tsotsi have minor roles here, and it was cool to see them play characters on the other side of the superstructure (and by that I mean a little bit farther up from the absolute bottom but still closer to the bottom than the middle).

The critics have been impressed, too, and the opening weekend receipts seem healthy, so hopefully we’ll be seeing more from this Blomkamp dude. I mean, for real. By taking the “human” out of “utterly depressing dehumanization”, he managed to leave me more cynical about how people treat each other than I was before I entered the theater. And I was already super-through with people when I went in, so…good job.





A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Monday’s KenKen Puzzle

25 06 2009

NYT Arts Section Calls Attention to Hyperreality of Fake News

Recognize this anchoress?

Yeah, I didn’t either. How about now?

I know, right?! I totally spent, like, a decade of my life barely tolerating this broad. Now I totally respect her, and I never would’ve even made the connection were it not for this (and, speaking of the NYT, look).

Of course, as we all know, this sort of thing is not exactly unheard of:

But that’s ancient history. Right now, I am totally digging Battista’s deadpan delivery and feature-story inflection while describing the poor customer satisfaction ranking of Prague’s Franz Kafka International Airport, where  passengers are told that their airlines don’t exist, security checkpoints include elaborate oral and written personal interviews, and navigation is hindered by “extremely long corridors leading to dead ends”.

The “Pervatasaurus leerii” and “Despondex” features are much, much funnier, but I posted this one because the person who freaked and tweaked all of the airport signage graphics has my dream job.

Above: LOL @ “Ç” and “Ñ”. Below: Somebody should do something about the “oppressive, impersonal atmosphere”.