Sunday, 15 November 2009

Bad movie, worse poster

Movie studio Universal is in trouble today, for being a little heavy handed with the clone tool. Some eagle-eyed movie fans have noticed that cast members Faizon Love and Kali Hawk have been unceremoniously dumped from the posters for new comedy Couples Retreat
Although the film follows the misadventures of four couples on a tropical island, it seems that there was only room in the ads for six people. According to the rather embarrassed publicity team, efforts had been taken 'to simplify the poster to actors who are most recognisable in international markets'. That meant dropping the African-American couple from the line-up, and playing up Malin Akerman and Kristen Bell's A-list profile instead.
Having said that, the US original wasn't much better, with Love and Hawk so far in the distance it looked as though they'd been washed out to sea. 
However, on close inspection it seems that this new poster may not be the work of an unforgivable racist after all. Instead, it could just be that the artworker in question suffers from OCD and couldn't help 'tidying' up the poster. After all, the characters' leis and floral accessories have also been removed, as have all the tidemarks on their clothes. 
Interestingly, most companies usually get into trouble for manipulating people of colour into publicity materials, to make up for their lack of diversity, not taking them out. The Onion even ran an alarmingly accurate story back in 2000 on the subject, headed 'Black Guy Photoshopped In'.
Ultimately, the real issue here is just how bad movie poster artwork has become. This once noble artform has now been replaced with lazy studio photography and basic Illustrator work. I guess Taschen's long-running series of Film Posters books will have to end with the 1990s

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