So, yes, it didn’t occur to me because this article was about Fast Five, which came out some time in late April, about a movie that came out over a week ago, which is yet another a few days prior to the Toyota Corolla x Hatsune Miku tie-in.
The Boston.com article, titled “Fast Forward: Why a movie about car thieves is the most progressive force in American cinema” details the nature of American mainstream cinema and how somehow The Fast and the Furious franchise is now the #1 progressive franchise in America mainstream cinema which treats race as a fact of life and not some issue or point. It mirrors a less-whitewashed reality experienced by more people in this country than most other films. Perhaps a coincidence, it is no less a force for progress.
The article is a good read, and if that topic interests you, please go ahead. I am just going to grab one thought out of it. I quote:
In a sense, the balkanization of movies would appear to be an example of how much culture has splintered into niches—more proof, if we needed it, that we no longer watch, listen to, or read the same material. But moviegoing is one of our last shared public acts. Hundreds of millions of people continue to watch movies together, and it’s easy to scan the house and see who’s watching with you. Were you to visit the big theaters in Boston—the AMC Boston Common or the Regal Fenway—you’d see that the audiences at both complexes are often diverse. The movies are not.
You wouldn’t draw much of a popular audience, mixed or otherwise, to a movie about race, of course. And that is the accidental genius of the “Fast and Furious” movies. They’re not about race. Race—and casualness about race—is just their hallmark. They’re about something else, a great American unifying principle: sexy cars that everybody wants to drive.
So to me, it comes down to two things:
1. To see Hatsune Miku–a first pop idol of sorts for her race (Japanese meme-oid fictional character)–in a car ad is something truly American. Big dreams! I laughed pretty hard, I confess. But it’s the right car, for the right audience.
2. Some people are complaining because, well, it’s a Toyota Corolla. In fact it’s probably as opposite to “sexy cars that everybody wants to drive” as it can get. Just look at how well the Corolla XRS sold (cancelled for 2011 model year). I mean I suppose there’s a perverse joy in putting racing stripes on your Chrysler Town and Country, and a Miku x Corolla ad is not as bad as that, but one might just question the unifying qualities of such choice on the automobile. Well, at least there is no question to its desirability, considering that despite the failure of 10th gen Corolla versus its competition, its utilitarian appeal ensures a sales figure of over 200,000 vehicles a year in the US alone. Still, it just isn’t a “big dreams” vehicle. It’s the exemplary Asian-conservative econo-car.
Mr. Opportunity should have had his chance with the young idol. Imagine the scandal it would generate back in Japan! At least Civics had way more face time in F&F than the Corolla (which was always just the cameo of the iconic AE86). Thinking about it, I think people would have reacted more positively if it was a Civic or a Mazda 3 (a truly progressive merger of American and Japanese concepts and technologies), if we’re sticking with that class of cars. The production quality nitpicks are always going to be an issue when we’re talking about international copyright and money spent on ads, but it would have soften the jarring migration from one media scene and aesthetics to another.