Saturday,23 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1382, (22 - 28 February 2018)
Saturday,23 February, 2019
Issue 1382, (22 - 28 February 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Stick to chases and races

Cars in movies can charm but also harm, writes Mohamed Abdel-Razek

Justice League
Justice League

Movies can take you to places and make you experience emotions and feelings while sitting on a lazy boy somewhere in this world. Few things in life have the power to do so. Some movies are so powerful they can put you in a certain state of mind for weeks, can even change the paths of a life. Disney, for example, is banning cigarettes in all of its movies and cartoons targeting children, and even PG movies will adopt the same measures. This tells you something, that if movies can direct the masses with all their differences, why not use them to persuade people with ideas or maybe consumer products?

Mutual benefit appears between companies and producers. Companies simply want their products to get sold and producers want to fund and prop to get their industry operating.

Away from direct ads that can appear lacking honesty, superheroes and charming stars are for sure the best candidates to take the wheel from here, and car manufacturers are no different.

Since the birth of James Bond 007 in 1962, and the portraying of cars in action scenes, car companies started feeling the magic. Steve McQueen driving American Muscle cars, like the bad boy in Bullitt in 1968, made Mustangs a cool car to drive because McQueen drove it in the movie and showed the car being fast and capable. Same with James Bond and the Aston Martin cars, which he portrayed as the most elegant, fastest British supercar you can buy. 

Many manufacturers then jumped into the party trying to get their girls dancing on the big stage. BMW gave their Z8 roadster to 007 Pierce Brosnan in the 1999 James Bond The World is not Enough, and again the 750il in Tomorrow Never Dies in 2001. BMW made sure with the producer that the bad guys in the movie would be driving a Mercedes W126 S-Class that will eventually get destroyed by Bond’s super sedan. 

The trend is widely employed now, especially with car companies sponsoring movies, however, something started to go wrong. The car being part of the world the movie is trying to portray sometimes is not possible. Car manufacturers in some movies today are trying to spread their own ads across the movie to such an extent that you might sometimes feel it’s a commercial break every time the car appears in the frame. They can even force the producer to make all the cars in the movie from the same brand, like in Justice League where nearly all the superheroes drove cars from the same German MB brand. Coincidence? At that point the manufacturer is actually harming the brand, not adding to its fame, especially when it’s already a big company.

Cars have proven they can be heavenly charming in movies and can even add to a film’s popularity. Nothing is better than Fast and Furious. But when sponsors overrule producers and their movies, cars can become friendly fire on productions, harming the plot as well as the brand itself. Getting back to the old school, limiting cars to chases and races, then totalling them and keeping the audience on the edge of their seats wondering how much these beautiful cars would cost, making car scenes speak for themselves, is probably the way it should be.

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