Maybe it did cost 4 million pounds to make. It could have been 5 million as far as I’m concerned. Much better to spend that sort of money on this stunningly gorgeous film than on a banker’s bonus. I watched it a week ago at the Islington Vue and again the following day. Going to the movies on a weekend morning is one of my great pleasures. Especially as, unless you are very unlucky, there’s no one else there. I do love a sparsely populated cinema. But I digress.
Watching this commercial made me think of others that stand out from the crowd. Like the Smirnoff ads, made during the eighties and nineties. A whole series, press ads as well as TV, presented beautiful and often strange images through the prism of the iconic Smirnoff bottle. There have been many other imaginative and creative ads – some action packed, others crazy or witty. Commercials such as Gap’s ‘Pardon Our Dust’, Sony Bravia’s ‘Bouncing Balls’ or ‘The Chase’ made for Levi 501s by David Fincher. And one of my favourites of all time Vauxhall Corsa’s ‘Hide and Seek’, which inspired many similar commercials. Relatively few, however, come anywhere near L’Odyssée.
Honda’s commercials have been especially impressive and ground breaking. Garrison Keillor’s throaty voice helps too, although they’ve had the intelligence to use it sparingly for the most part. There are of course some exceptions, such as ‘Grrr’ where the whole point was the song. There is no voiceover at all in the sensational ‘Cog’ except for the wonderful line at the very end ‘Isn’t it nice when things just work.’ And although the latest offering ‘Spark’ has rather more, they are again not only perfect but used judiciously.
In its 165-year history, Cartier has created many memorable commercials – ‘Winter Tale’, ‘Calibre’ and ‘Promenade d’un Panthere’ – to name just a few. Of course the famous Cartier panther is actually a leopard. But that’s an observation, not a criticism. I can find no fault with this surreal, spectacular and elegant film, which runs for a full three and a half minutes, a minute longer than Honda’s cog. From the original score by Pierre Adenot and its classic and exotic imagery to the palette of subtle colours it simply oozes class.