|By Paul Motter
The cruise industry is constantly trying new ways to portray cruising - and the latest is videotainment. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is an encyclopedia - at least in theory. The challenge is getting you to watch it.
I found three new and unusual cruise videos in my email this morning - obviously not the usual travelogues. These are meant to be entertaining, and if you retain any usable cruise information when it's over, well that's just icing on the cake.
The first two videos are surprisingly slick. Royal Caribbean hired actors Jenny McCarthy and James Brolin to each direct and star in a 10-minute mini-movie using the newest RCL flag ship Allure of the Seas as the location. These "star-powered" videos are not your average paid endorsements. In terms of casting, acting and production values both qualify for prime-time network television - although you will never see them there.
Jenny McCarthy's video, "The Allure of Love," co-stars Courtney Henggeler (The Big Bang Theory and Accidentally on Purpose), Scott Elrod as her reluctant paramour (The Switch and Castle) and Charles Malik Whitfield, featured in hot TV series like Southland, Rizzoli and Isles and White Collar.
The trope is half-baked and predictable; recently split McCarthy and Elrod are each taken on Allure of the Seas by their best friends, without knowing the other will be there. They are supposed run into each other accidentally, but the ship is just too big. Meanwhile, each is constantly uploading "I'm so hot" pictures to an unnamed web site that the other is seeing - but neither notices the other is on a cruise. Plot holes aside, the acting is solid. Visually, a subtitle of this film could have been "what a lovely pair," as screen time is equally divided between McCarthy's breasts and Elrod's pects; and once in awhile a shot of the ship.
The only really cheesy moment is the predictable ending where Jenny McCarthy pops out her newly bejeweled left hand and says "We're engaged!" Why, oh why, did the producers choose the song "Free Ride" to take the story out? Is Jenny on a free ride because she is getting married? They certainly aren't referring to the cruise.
The other featurette, "Royal Reunion," starring and directed by James Brolin with Caroline Lagerfelt, Dean Cain, Chelsea Rickettes and Justin Baldoni, is a family reunion in a beautiful two-story loft suite.
Of course, the ship itself plays a major role in both videos as cast members interject spontaneous dialogue like "Didja hear that? The room service is free! Man, this cruise is somethin' else."
Although the creators deserve kudos for a very professional final product, it is just hard to grasp the raison d'etre for these shows. It's like a product placement wormhole where the product itself becomes the star of the film and the actors are the carefully placed props.
Naturally, the only logical reason for Royal Caribbean to spend the change on these vignettes is the hope they will go "Internet viral." So I am doing my part by passing them on to you. You can see both "Royal Reunion" and "The Allure of Love," at RoyalCaribbean.com.
The last cruise video comes from John Keen, well known and successful owner of the CruiseNow cruise agency. John has been diligently working on video content for his cruise site for over a year now, but today's effort enters a new realm with "This Week's Cruise News Video."
At first sight you might think John is a serious anchorman, except for the set resembling "The Daily Show," and the mock ten-gallon hat he is wearing. But as soon as he tells his first joke, regarding comments by competing cruise lines on the decision by Princess to also sail from Galveston, the dubbed canned laughter takes the whole thing into ridiculous territory.
John follows up with another "news item" about Disney Cruises starting a new onboard night club for adults only; Chippendales. The splash screen shows two hunky chipmunks wearing nothing but bow ties. Okay - while the first news item was real, the second is entirely confabulated - but there is no difference in the presentation. Yet another cruise video looking for a reason to live.
Keen's video actually then even gets stranger, drifting into political hot potato territory. I don't mind artistic leaps, but this is more like a pratfall - well executed, however. The jokes were amusing but once again, I am just not sure where this is going - except for those hopes of Internet viral status - so here it is for your enjoyment. John Keen Cruise News for March 14, 2011.
It appears we have a new film genre; cruisertainment. "Viddy well, my friends, viddy well."
You can comment on the these videos in our forum: Weird Cruise Videos.