5 of 6
This review of “Snack Attack Samurai” by Cber is the 5th of six issued by the VCK for the six finalists in the 2009-2010 Crash The Superbowl Doritos commercial contest. You may page backwards or forwards through any of the six sequential
blog posts to read any/all of the reviews.
The Video The Rating
1. “Kids These Days”…………………………………………8.2
3. “The Smackout”……………………………………………..7.5
5. “Snack Attack Samurai” ……………………………….7.0
6. “House Rules” ………………………………………………4.9
Snack Attack Samurai by Cber
CASTING/ACTING: The casting was serviceable. The resulting acting was also serviceable. I have seen worse efforts in this campy slapstick genre on national television. The most capable actor being the dude who takes the chips from Tim’s locker. Yeah, bandana man gave a great performance. Conversely Goggle dude had that classic ‘I can tell the camera is on me’ look.
SOUND DESIGN/LIGHTING/EDITING: SD- Probably the least complicated of all of the submissions. No errors in levels or dynamics. The SD promised a grilled cheese sandwich and it delivered. Admittedly, even a commercial as simply premised as this can easily be screwed up by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, so I still give kudos to the post designers and live action capture crew, though for ‘PROS’, it’s kind of hard to screw up a grilled cheese sandwich. Lighting was nice and even. No hot spots or dark issues. Nice kelvin balancing of the inside/outside. The editing was decent but I will touch on an issue or two in the CON.
WARDROBE/PROPS: What won this spot a place in the finals was the very elaborate use of the product as wardrobe to express over the top love for the brand. The Samurai costume was incredible. I am not sure why it didn’t get more screen time but I will touch on that in the CON. Bottom line, I know first hand how tough it is to create and maintain fragile, elaborate props, and the work that goes into preserving their structure and continuity on a shoot day. Kudos are appropriate here. Great labor intensive work.
DIRECTING/DP: No problems with the directing. The blocking was simple and made sense. The shot selection carried the viewer along the story line to it’s conclusion. Straight forward, no errors. Rather simple set-ups executed well.
STORY/LOCATION: The story works. It is by no means epic, but it works. It is a campy dudes-tailgate type story. It affords every bro watching the game the opportunity to high-five his buddy during commercial breaks, and chug back another swig of his brew until the next commercial comes on or he is returned to football action. Not ground breaking, but not inappropriate. Very safe.
WARDROBE/EDITING: I don’t know why the retro (80’s) style workout wardrobe. The Dorito bag didn’t hail from that era, so why the clothes? Did the writer think it would be a funny ‘throw in’ element? Personally, I kept expecting for it to mean something….that it would somehow relate to the story, and it never did. For me it was a distraction from the story-telling.
Editing: The main sight gag should have been introduced with audio first. It should have been the scream from the Samurai that got the attention of bandana man after Goggle dude hit’s the dirt. I don’t like the editing style where the camera cuts to the gag and only ‘then’ does the action start for that gag/clip. The introduction of the Samurai should have started 15-30 frames prior to his reveal. The proper sequence would have been: 1) hear the scream, 2) C.U. of Bandana Man – utter fear 3) cut to Samurai already in mid-scream. The way it was edited mitigated the full comedy potential. It makes me wonder if there were any external peers (objective minds ‘away’ from the project) to which dialys were sent for peer feedback. Hmm.
I didn’t like that we saw less than a full second of Samurai Man on screen. It probably was a prop/wardrobe reason (something that would have revealed some weakness – like that they weren’t really Doritos, and so yeah, the smart thing was to show them as little as possible), but still, I really wanted to see it about 10-20 frames longer. Honestly, if you are watching the game and you glance down to grab your beer or up at the clock, you could very well miss this main site gag, and the meaning of the spot.
WRITING/STORY: The story here is what perplexes me. The Herbert brothers tutorial videos pretty much outlined content surrounding zombies and ninjas would be a concept death-knell. We were advised to avoid them like the plague. Now I personally know the Herbert Brothers, and they are straight shooters. I am sure this pick is a little embarrassing for them since it flies in the face of the direction they gave in the creative brief. I would also guess that the Doritos judges didn’t check with Herbert Brothers before choosing a spot that conflicted with the advice given on their own sight. It was frustrating and disappointing for all of us contributors to the witness. If there ‘is’ a next year for the CTSB contest, the angry creative in me hopes the Doritos judges are forced to sit through 3,000 Ninja/Samurai vids as a result of this pick.
A major flaw of the Samurai clip being so short and ‘coming so late’ in the commercial (:26) is that it only gives the ad meter holder one major sight gag opportunity and not a lot of time to yank at those ad meters and have it sit there even if it does peg out at ten. Sorry but I do not count the Doritos (Chinese Star) in the neck a major site gag. It is a prelude. It will not in-and-of-itself get anyone to tweak any meters to any substantial degree. Call me jaded on the genre, or a closet Samuracist, but I don’t see this spot being judged equal to the Herbert Brothers spot and it will take such if Doritos wants to come out shining again.
Hey, if there were no better videos to choose from, I would’t begrudge Doritos for ‘settling’, but that just wasn’t the case here. IMNTBHO, there were at least 50 other videos that could have supplanted this one while increasing the qualitative strength of the finalist field. Of all the finalists, this story was the least original. Sorry Cber. Mind you, I didn’t say this video was the poorest production quality or worst acted. I won’t even say it is the least entertaining. I’m not done reviewing all the spots yet. I am asserting that the predictable unoriginal nature of the writing will not stimulate the more cerebral viewer who sees it. If this plays during the big game and gets a higher score than the 7.0 I issued it, I will issue a public apology blog post dedicated solely to how I was so very wrong in my review….let stand un-replaced on the VCK blog site for a full week, and then quickly move out of the USA to someplace where the majority of doofus’ (who voted this an entertainment milestone) will no longer be a threat to me and my family.
VCK Rating – 7.0
Please go to the next blog for review number 6 of 6:
‘House Rules‘ by DeJesus_77