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Cinematic Infommercial

Maybe he could have communed with nature, and the abundance of life (not shown for some reason) on the island. I know—wishful thinking. I wanted something more spiritual than another product-endorsed, demi-god known as Wilson.

There's such heart in the Robert Zemeckis film, Cast Away, that the saturated use of FedEx really did a number on my head. I couldn't understand why a fictional company wasn't created, allowing the story to unfold without turning it into a big fat cinematic infommercial? The producers MUST have received a phenomenal fee for the visual display of the FedEx logo...EVERYWHERE, and just maybe this fee paid for the huge talents of Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis. I dunno. But the damn logo haunted the production like some colorful ghost, popping up from time to time as if to prove that civilization and FedEx are absolutely inseparable. Even on the bonus features, the use of the company is justified by insinuating just that: FedEx is an American institution that's here to stay. Well, if they keep getting their logo splashed across screens in big blockbuster flicks like this, they very well may stick around FOREVER.

Now...sandwiched in-between this shameless product endorsement was a fairly decent film. Chuck Noland (Hanks) learning to deal with his exile was a real treat, an emotional deck of cards that played well no matter what hand was thrown in the sand. It comes as no surprise that Hanks is a fine actor indeed. But before you can say this film is about to redeem itself...four years go by, Noland sheds his fat (actors love to do that), and he's a true-blue, perky, island survivor. Who cares? I didn't.

I guess it was fun to count his ribs and see where all the fat fell off, but it seemed the REAL story was left between the four years we didn't get to see. Less about FedEx and the sappy love story (built around co-star Helen Hunt) and we could have had a film about a man's struggle with utter solitude, a real in-depth drama about the dark fear of monotony. Wow—that would have been something to see, an ordinary man, cast away to live inside a tropical prison and forced to psychologically re-examine himself over and over. Maybe he would have taken the FedEx boxes and burned them in a glorious right of passage, dancing naked in the moonlight screaming, "Free at last, thank, god almighty, I'm free at last!" Maybe he could have communed with nature, and the abundance of life (not shown for some reason) on the island. I know—wishful thinking. I wanted something more spiritual than another product-endorsed, demi-god known as Wilson.


And if you didn't get your fill of FedEx, there's lots of bonus materials that carry on the torch, and even a very special tribute to Wilson, the volleyball Hanks falls in love with. You even receive (for an extra buck) an ugly miniature of Wilson when you purchase the DVD; you can even affix it to the antenna of your car, should you wish. Holding this fast-food-like giveaway in my hand, I suddenly wished I was on a tropical island, shedding my fat, eating a low cholesterol diet of fish and fruits, talking to the spirit in and all around me...and I positively want to be there overnight.


Posted by: r - Legacy Article

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