Whether you hate the Oscars or love them and whether you’re heeding the Avatar loss or celebrating the victory for The Hurt Locker, there are sometimes moments where the Academy has helped exposed me to something that is out of my comfort zone in terms of animation and for this occasion, I appreciate them fully for it.
Logorama, in its fundamental story and concept, is a simple movie. Two Los Angeles cops are keeping check for a gun and drug smuggler and end up going on a wild chase to catch him by any means necessary before it escalates into a hostage situation in a local restaurant. Now take that concept, replace the cops with Michelin Men, replace the gun smuggler with Ronald McDonald and have the local restaurant be Pizza Hut and you have the other side of what makes Logorama so fascinating.
Taking 6 years to make and created by French graphic company H5, the guys behind music videos for bands Massive Attack and Super Furry Animals and one of my favourite videos ever, Royksopp’s Remind Me, Logorama is a city full of brand names, logos and trademarks where Fido Dido walks the streets with the little AOL people and Colonel Sanders actually runs the KFC in the middle of town. It is a bustling metropolis of some of the most well known figures which is the most extreme version of going outside your door and looking at the billboards down the street except, along with those billboards, you happen to bump into the Red and Yellow M&Ms and Biro school children on your way to the shops.
The detail they have put in to making every mascot and every landmark distinct and and how they flow really well is the biggest strength of the movie. It would be amazing for the makers to let us know what brands weren’t in the movie because it feels as though they have most, if not all, of the most well known brand names. Not even just with the things you see straight away, the imagery that crops up later on is masterful in its execution. It is almost amazing that, with over 2,500 brand names, that most of these companies have not sued H5 for slander but doing the research I have, they are away from legal prosecution because the film can be seen as a satire of the way brands have sunk into our lives. That, and the Oscar nomination and win probably would have helped their case.
The film’s direction and pace does not keep this curiosity up for long and it slides deeper and deeper towards the dark ending it has. What grabbed me immediately is not just the fate of some of these well loved characters but my reaction to it happening. Some of the deaths are gruesome and most come out of nowhere that the emotional investment in them is on the forefront simply because of their well known statuses and it disturbed me. I never like to be disturbed while watching a movie because most of the time, it feels simply there for shock value but I very much appreciated the idea of it for this short. In a way, it is a combination of two factors.One, it made me rethink and look at how much brands have been a part of our society for such a long time and on the other side, it gives you more sympathy for what happens to the characters. Rarely are you given so little time from a film to care for the protagonists and it is even rarer that you are able to feel something for what happens to them in that short space of time.
For those of you who are fed up with the brands of the world being spread all around the film, you’ll get a very different experience from the film. The grounding to reality is almost in counteraction to the brand’s high status in the world and can definitely be seen as both metaphorical and physical in a big way. Not to say you’ll be rooting for the next thing to get hit down or taken out, but I doubt you’ll feel the emotions I felt going into the movie. In a way, though, that is one of the best things about Logorama. Whether you love brands or hate brands, you’ll get something out of the short. Whilst it’s not a truth exposing expose that people want it to be, it is definatly a testament to where our society is and the reaction you’ll get when you watch it can tell you alot about what side of the fence you fall under.
At only 16 minutes, it is definitely something you can watch in one sitting but if you do not like dark films, you probably won’t like this one. But if you like films that are executed well and make you rethink how you think about your favourite brands, give Logorama a shot. Along with that, those who subscribe to the Naomi Klein No Logo mindset will get the most kick from it with every brand name known to man eventually getting their turn for a shot.
If you are in the US, Canada, the UK and Germany, Logorama is available on iTunes for £1.49/$2.25/$2.31 (Canadian)/1.65 EUR.