I hate TV ads

July 28, 2009

I really do. They get in the way, they’re usually too stupid for words (Auckland Glass will never see a dollar of mine. Never) and they get muted the minute they appear.

And yet, a good TV ad is really good. The UK has some of the best, and I’ve chucked a bunch of good ones in here (bunnies!).

This irks me. How can I find ads that I actually enjoy? Is it just the comparison with crap ads that makes them enjoyable? I even like the Fold ad that Vodafone produced:

(we’ll claim it as a local ad even though it was thought up by a couple of Poms and filmed in Australia. It’s as Kiwi as I am) and the bit I really like is that the whole thing hinges on the actor’s ability to do sleight of hand and so drop the things he folded without making it obvious he was doing that. Brilliant – without him, the ad would suck.

Fair Go did a piece on the making of the Fold ad which you can watch here.

I don’t know what Spike sells but I do like these ads.



Firefighters are damping down at the scene of a fire in a disused cinema in the centre of Wrexham.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service were called to the Old Hippodrome on Henblas Street at 13.09 BST.

My brother and I used to go to the Hippo to see the kids’ Saturday morning show in the 1970s. Some cartoons, an old serial and some dodgy Children’s Film movie with a moral imperative. Nice.

We also saw Star Wars in 1977. We drank Kia Ora orange juice, ate white milk chocolate teddy bears (I know this because Brother ate all his before we even got in to the movie) and boo’d the bad guys and cheered the good guys. It was awesome.

Shell’s new TV ad

June 5, 2008

It’s apparently the most expensive TV commercial ever made – roughly NZ$5million for two minutes. I like the ad, don’t get me wrong, but when I first watched it (sound off, naturally) I didn’t realise it was for Shell petrol for quite some time.

See for yourself:

The first half of the ad I thought it was clearly for some kind of eco-friendly stunt the petrol company was pulling. “See what the world will be like without any people in it” kind of thing. There are scenes that are straight out of Wil Smith’s I Am Legend (a shame the ending sucked – good film, that could have been great. I’m a big fan of Big Willy but dude, that ending sucked out loud) and you get that whole The Quiet Earth post apocalypse sensation.

Instead, it’s an ad for a new kind of petrol. Right. One that’s not made out of fossil fuel? No, the dinosaurs are still in your tank.

It’s somewhat unnerving, I think, to see a petrol company showing an ad for what could, potentially, be the last car on the planet.

But it’s a cool ad. It reminds me of a comic I used to read as a lad: Tiger and Scorcher. In it I would catch up on the weekly events of George, the rally driving mini and Roy of the Rovers, although he took his left foot off to his own publication (and ultimately had it amputated in the final ever issue) and of course Billy, the boy with the magic football boots. But one of my favourites was Skid Solo, who drove a car that looked just like that Ferrari. He was cool and he was a good three or four years before Han Solo stole his name.

Oh, and Han shot first. I’m sorry, it’s just stupid the other way.

Our growth as a nation, independent and free, has turned a corner.

No longer can we hold our heads up as a nation of the future, of growth, of forward thinking people.

Why is that, O sage one, you ask? Is it because of the impending recession? Because IRD can’t count? Because we’ve lost Sir Ed or because we still have “issues” around whether Russell Crowe is a Kiwi or an Aussie?

No, it’s because Dr Ropata is returning to Shortland Street.

What is it with TVNZ and its return to the halcyon days (that never were) of yore? First they bring back Jim the Weather Man, now this. What next? Dig up Angela D’Audney and roll her out again? Bring it on, Selwyn Toogood. We’ll have gardening shows on in prime time (actually, they do that already), shows where minor league celebs dance for our pleasure (“Oh how I like to see the monkies dance!”) and shortly I’m sure they’ll dust off Ollie Olsen:

and probably we’ll see Radio With Pictures, the Goodnight Kiwi:

and no doubt University Challenge will be exhumed.

It’s the 21st Century. Can we have something new, please? All I can say is, I’m a simple man, trying to make my way in the universe.

Actually, I’d probably watch Radio with Pictures.

On Star Wars (the new lot)

November 3, 2007

As a late-comer to blogging I reserve the right to be late to a lot of other things as well. For instance, I’d just like to point you all to Jane Espenson’s blog. Jane is a TV writer (Buffy, Gilmore Girls and Friends and we’re so not worthy) and all round nice person if her blog is to be believed (and you can’t believe half of what you hear and none of what you blog) and she’s telling us all about writing.

Then there’s Neil Gaiman who is a God Among Men and Wil Wheaton who is a Geek Among Guys both also looking at the whole writing thing from their own perspective (and don’t you all find yourselves rooting for Wil as an actor/writer/husband/father as well? I know I do).

But writing itself is not what this post is about. No no. Don’t be fooled by the packaging.

It’s about Star Wars. More particularly, it’s about the prequels, the three new films. Specifically it’s about Why They Sucked.

First off, allow me to stipulate a few things.

Yes, I know I’m no longer in the target audience. I was, when Star Wars first came out and remember queuing up with my little brother to go and see said epic in North Wales.

Actually, the very first inkling of Star Wars came with a TV series called The Krypton Factor which aired in Britain that summer. As quiz shows go, it was pretty good. Contestants had to not only answer stupid questions and beat the clock but they had to solve IQ puzzles and do an assault course. They also had to watch a segment of film and answer a question.

The segment they showed on the first episode was the Cantina sequence. Then they asked the contestants to pick out the human bartender from a line-up. Ha.

Remember, this is 1977 Britain and nobody has any idea about anything to do with Star Wars, science fiction in general or blockbuster movies in particular.

Second point of stipulation: I have never made a movie in my life, couldn’t do it if you held a gun to my head (or gave me a big fat cheque) and George The Lucas can, and did, and is very successful at it, so clearly he’s onto something and I should shut my big fat mouth.

OK. The first movie – The Phantom Menace. OK, it’s about a trade dispute. OK, it’s about taxes, but you could see something glimmering under the surface… something nasty and lurking. There’s all that lovely talk about “the one who will bring balance to the force”. Then there’s whiny Anakin. Sigh. Do you remember the posters that came out? Anakin playing on what was clearly Tatooine with his shadow cast large on the wall behind him – and his shadow was Vader’s shadow? By the gods the hairs stood up on the back of my neck when I noticed that. They’re doing it now. Ooooooh.

Naturally, Qui Gon Jinn gets slaughtered, but he doesn’t disappear! This is a difference that made everyone in the theatre where I saw it sit up and say OMG! STFU! The Jedi don’t know how to do everything yet!

Then we have episode two or Attack of the Black Hawk Down Syndrome as I like to think of it.

Yadda yadda, story line, plot points, awful dialogue, sand is irritating just like me, etc. I’ll put up with that crap falling-in-love scene between Anakin and Padme because at one point you can hear Qui Gon clearly shout “Anakin, no!” and that was another goose bump moment. It’s OK, the boss is coming back to help sort things out.

And then he never does.

Instead, in the final movie we get Yoda telling Obi-Wan that soon he’ll be trained in the new strange ways that have never been mentioned before and he should go to the desert and become a hermit.


I wonder if Liam Neeson had some big ass falling out with Teh George himself.

Qui Gon should have been in the third movie. He should have been there explaining things.

And most importantly of all he should have been there explaining to Obi Wan that he, and Yoda, and possibly even Anakin himself knew what we all knew but dared not whisper: that Anakin DOES bring balance to the Force. That the overally goody-two-shoes Republic is stagnant and devoid of humanity and we need more than just plain niceness and “This is Jedi business, nothing to see here” crap.

Instead we get Darth Vader being born because his wife’s gynecologist can’t do a simple scan to see if there are twins on the way. Sheesh.

Given the movies that Neeson chose to be involved in following TPM and the roles he played (“Gangs of New York” and “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Batman Begins” in particular) you’d have to think he was rubbing someone’s nose in it. Could that nose by George’s?

That is all.