Posts Tagged ‘movies’

My Tour aboard the Enterprise

February 5th, 2008 | Derek Johnson

I was in LA last month to do some research for my dissertation on media franchises.  In addition to my time in the archives and my interviews with executives and producers, I decided that as a part of my “research”, my last stop before heading back to Wisconsin would be to go with my friends Scott and Holly to the Queen Mary Dome in Long Beach to visit the first leg of Star Trek: The Tour, the exhibit currently making its way across the US.  You know, one of those sacrifices you make for your work. 

Okay, so I was looking forward to it all week.  But at the same time, I was really apprehensive about the whole thing, convinced that the hour or so I thought we’d spend there would be no where’s worth the ridiculously high ticket price (even with the student discount).  

 Captain on the bridge!

But four hours – and several awkward yet kinda awesome pictures – later, I found that I’d actually seen a number of pretty interesting things…

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Extratextuals’ 2007 Awards Extraordinaire, Pt. 1

January 9th, 2008 | Derek Johnson

Franchising, Merchandising, and Licensing: Sleekest and Weakest of the Geekest

2007 is over, and organizations like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science must now look back in judgment at a year’s worth of media production.  Unlike those august institutions, however, we here at The Extratextuals want to look for craftsmanship, innovation, and experimentation (and lack thereof!) not just in films and television programs themselves, but also in the networks of additional, extra texts that increasingly surround one another in our media-saturated experiences. 

So without further ado, we present to you our 2007 Awards Extraordinaire, highlighting the products and productions of the last year that demand recognition in our dense, overlapping, and cross-pollinated media landscape.  We’ll call attention to those that we think worked extremely well, but we’ll also point to some stinkers too—those that just didn’t seem to get it.  Of course, if you think we’ve got it all wrong, the real fun might happen in the comments section, where our picks can be interrogated, amended, and enhanced.  

To start off this series, we’ll explore Franchising, Merchandising, and Licensing.  A far cry from the austere nominees of the Golden Globes and Oscars, these are the categories in which the media industries and their creative personnel have worked tirelessly and without pause to extend intellectual properties to their maximum potential, multiplying them across product lines and across platforms.  As my terrible subtitle implies, these categories tend to involve appeals to those audiences (like myself) that will intensely follow properties from one market to another.  So for comics, toys, games, and other things you might expect to find in The Android’s Dungeon, read more below the fold…

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Movie Poster Design: What Would Neil Patrick Harris Do?

November 5th, 2007 | Jonathan Gray


This poster for Harold and Kumar 2 is excellent. It marks a fairly rare occurrence of a poster that works at a conceptual level. Neil Patrick Harris’s cameo in the first movie was one of the more celebrated parts of the film, but I’d argue that this poster isn’t about advertising his inclusion in the sequel, nor does it necessarily imply that “NPH” will be seen on a unicorn in the film. Meanwhile, neither Harold nor Kumar is on the poster, nor any reference to the show’s plot (wherein the two are arrested on an airplane when an old woman thinks Kumar is a terrorist). Rather, the simple point is itself comically rich, suggesting that the sensibility behind the making of this film is the same that might find the notion of NPH on a unicorn amusing, or that might find the act of substituting NPH for Jesus by asking “What Would NPH Do?” entertaining. And they’ve really committed to the concept, too, with the blinding light, and NPH’s priceless look and seemingly unbuttoned shirt and jacket.

Of course, it has the luxury of being a sequel, so the mere words “Harold and Kumar” already tell viewers what to expect, but all the same, the promotional strategy here is arresting and deeply amusing. I saw the poster while going to see two films (two? See here for explanation) and I burst out laughing. Trailers for comedies should make one laugh, just as trailers for action films should excite one, but posters more often are left teasing the viewer, promising gratification later on. The poster for Harold and Kumar 2, though, delivers the goods upfront.

Compare, for instance, to the posters to the films I saw: Dan in Real Life (a lovely film) and We Own the Night (an okay film, though nothing special, save for a brilliant car chase in the pouring rain). More after the fold

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