March 02, 2007

Short straw deprives us of sex, piracy and giant monkeys

My first experience of the Dutch came many years ago, when I worked at Shell. Blue-eyed, serious yet benign seven-foot giants in orange tartan suits, gaudy monochrome currency and a language that sounds like a bear chewing snot.
There’s an updated version of the modern Dutchman in Shell’s epic new 9-minute cinema ad that I can’t help but laugh at.
For a long time, the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has tried to push its corporate social responsibility credentials with some dry and dull marketing. Still haunted by one of the most enormous PR fuck-ups in business history (which was going on at about the time I left), Shell’s new film is an attempt to show how sweet it is.
Now the friend of sandal wearing hippies, smiling stone-age natives and small fluffy animals, Shell’s ambassador is a scruffily handsome but pained engineer who just can’t figure out how to get to those inconveniently-situated oil reserves.
Now, call me a generally ignorant hairy fuckwit, but I don’t have a science or engineering degree yet I do remember Monty Burns in an episode of the Simpsons coming up with exactly the same solution as this fellow, and good old Monty didn’t have to rely on a acne-ridden brat for his Eureka moment.
It’s amusing that the hero is Dutch (OK, I know that the real-life engineer was a cloggie too, but some artistic licence should have been granted), because if he’d been English the audience might have expected the bounder to seduce the cute native reporter and roger her senseless under the palm trees before fighting off pirates and saving the local villagers from their giant monkey god.
The Dutch, you see, are an unknown cinematic quantity, so it’s safer to stick to an actionless moving picture postcard without any real suspense.
So here’s the film (click on “Eureka”), but don’t blame me if you have to sit through it again next time you go to the flicks.

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