Yesterday I saw “The Island”, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, and can now say I have been priviledged to the Microsoft product placement throughout the film.
The first bit of placement came courtesy of an Xbox gaming bar early in the film. Ewan and Scarlett played a major fighting game. In the game, they each stood in front of a semi-transparent holographic screen which showed the opponent and contained massive sensors and provided feedback. The idea is that you see the other person and fight them, except you aren’t actually hitting each other or getting hit. In the center of the two screens is a holographic platform that shows the fight in all its brutal glory.
I gotta say, Xbox 2070 is looking pretty good. What an excellent game! I tried getting my cameraphone out in time, but I missed the fight. Above right is a shot of the bar, and you can see some green in the background.
The second scene is actually available for download by MSN Video (wonder why ). In it, Ewan and Scarlett are trying to locate their ***** ******** to save themselves, and attempt to do so by using the MSN Search-based Information Directory, which has replaced all regular phone booths. Don’t be surprised if Yahoo and Google have their own Information Directory booths (unless Microsoft truly owns the universe in the future).
One big problem? The person they search for isn’t listed! Of course, that might make sense, since the guy is shown to value his privacy, but it isn’t good placement. Simply changing the computer voice to say “That listing is private by request” would have been better. Also strange that the second person searched for and found is a *****, and what kind of famous ***** would be listed in a public phone book?
Also, the largest skyscraper in Los Angeles has a Microsoft logo, implying, I guess, that Microsoft’s corporate headquarters have been moved in the future to L.A. and into a massive 100+ story tower. Of course, this is because Google nuked Redmond in 2015 during the Last Great Search War (Microsoft survived to dump a Hawaiin island on the Googleplex). Well, not really, but it would make a great movie.
As for the movie, I very much enjoyed it. Sure, it was 40 minutes too long and some plot points were poorly conceived, but the movie as a whole was an excellent action flick with a smart premise. The freeway scene manages to be right up there with any chase scene in any movie ever. I have no idea why this movie tanked (except maybe the length), but its actually solid, and the only decent straight-up action movie this summer.