Monday, September 24, 2007

Branded World

There are some very interesting things over at Culture Monkey, a blog you should definitely check out:

"Today the ideal blockbuster is part of an entire universe of image-commodities and commodified experience, stage managed in all their myriad formats by a single media conglomerate. Should the consumer wish, video games, animated series, comic books, novels, role-playing games and fan communities, all interrelated to an unprecedented degree of detail, can ensure a near-total independence from the reality of others. The blockbusters of the 21st century, including Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the granddaddy of them all, Star Wars, are not just movies, or even just stories: they are worlds unto themselves."

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The idea of wholly-produced 'worlds' that traverse media--realms into which the fan (however casual or hardcore) can immerse himself--has always appealed to me. Of course it's part & parcel of marketing, this profit-wringing through the variegation of 'image-commodities,' but there are some interesting things done with the possibility, like Mamoru Oshii's Kerberos, which I'd love to eventually delve into beyond the few films I've seen from the saga. I hope to finally get some thoughts on Tachigui--The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters up here.


traxus4420 said...

hey, thanks for the link. your blog is a recent and welcome discovery.

in literature creating 'worlds' or fictional universes is pretty widespread, science fiction obviously but also to some extent more lit'ry fare like faulkner's yoknapatawpha county. sometimes adaptations are made in different media. so this will to create a unique mythology whole cloth is definitely not limited to corporate media. it just seems like the idea of attempting it is so marginalized by critical orthodoxies (misguided attempts to recreate a culturally integrated community like ancient Greece, escape from social reality, etc.) that it is easy to overlook the fact that Hollywood, Time-Warner et al, with all their resources, are attempting to build communities that suit their needs through (the simulacra of) myth, not just the individual commodities that critics are trained to 'review.'

Gareth said...

Henry Jenkins has an interesting piece on this idea of vast created worlds in a defense of the Pirates of the Caribbean that I found quite compelling, and a useful starting point for thinking about this kind of film.