For fanboys (and girls) "The Dog Strikes Back" is the best 2012 Super Bowl commercial.
What a German auto has to do with a pooch's shaping up is hard to deduce, but this commercial certainly makes an impression on the imbibers at Chalmun's Cantina in the pirate city of Mos Eisley.
Volkswagen released an earlier teaser called "The Bark Side" to warm up audiences for the Super Bowl favorite.
The German auto maker must have determined that everybody likes dogs and Star Wars, hiring some Jedi Dog Trainers to produce this canine symphony of "The Imperial March" aka "Darth Vader's Theme." Soloists include Chewbarka, Dog Vader, DAT-AT, oh please, don't get started with the pooch puns.
And here's last year's Super Bowl commercial to which the bar fly in "The Dog Strikes Back" alludes--"Are you kidding? The dog is funnier than the Vader kid"--Hmmm . . . you be the judge.
Star Wars seems to have become an icon of American, strike that, world culture. The good-versus-evil morality prevalent in the hero's journey winds up in the lowest derivation of popular culture -- television commercials. Not only that, but these commercials went viral almost as soon as they aired. In addition, George Lucas' Star Wars has made over $20 billion in the merchandise universe selling flashlight sabers, plastic Darth helmets, and video games.
Toby Miller, social scientist and chair of Media and Cultural Studies at UC Riverside believes "The great achievement of Star Wars had been to take a moribund genre in science fiction and restore it to popularity. George Lucas took a genre that looked cheesy and made it look like a high-concept movie by investing in new ideas, technologies and people. Finally, the story and imagery have been the stars rather than the actors." There's all kinds of things to argue with in that statement, including the idea that science fiction is/was a "moribund genre"? What univers(ity) is that Professor living in? But I digress . . . What does Star Wars have to do with selling geeky German automobiles? Maybe the answer lies in transference - we can transfer the success of Star Wars onto ourselves if we buy that car. Maybe those commercials say, "It's good to be a geek, so buy a geeky (yet cool) car." It seems that Madison Avenue has entered our collective souls alongside George Lucas' empire. What is the ethos (authority), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic) behind all these :30 second Star Wars related interruptions?
If we look at these commercials as an extension of the Star Wars legacy, you can make a pretty deft analysis of the hero's journey. Think of society as the hero getting ready to embark on its mission and leave the innocent world of childhood behind. Were we innocent before television commercials? Certainly, we were less affected by advertising for the simple reason that we weren't exposed to quite as much. As society waited to take that first step across the threshold, did we make a first refusal to resist such creative, yet costly, temptations? You'll always have people that say, "Commercialism of an icon like Star Wars is a travesty," but what would George Lucas say? How does the profit factor create or limit creativity. Remember, Mozart didn't produce anything for free. Supernatural aid exists in the form of that magic we call technology, such as that little bit of iPhone magic in our pockets. Crossing the first threshold may have taken place at the movie theater, Toys-R-Us, and/or your local video game or comic book store.
Puzzle me this, earthling, how, when, and where did we as a society enter the Belly of the Whale?