Tim Pawlenty for President--In Theaters 2012

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Tim Pawlenty released the trailer, I mean advertisement, for his upcoming presidential campaign. We here at The Wire are impressed by the cinematography of the short video, but also think it looks like Pawlenty is running for president of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. We're not the only ones amused by the intensity of the ad that features shots of various American cities, heroes such as Martin Luther King and George Washington, and Pawlenty recounting American accomplishments that "weren't easy." The video ends, much like a movie trailer, with "Courage to Stand," the title of Pawlenty's book displayed against a black background, followed by the words "available now."

Here's the video, along with some other reactions.

  • Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

    Everybody who's got the ego to run for president has to think they're a man or woman of destiny. And I bet even Tim Pawlenty does.

    But it's still not great to make your TV ads based on man of destiny imagery and edits. I'd defer to any students of film -- maybe Roger Ebert can help us -- but it seems to be part of the 'sci-fi-archival-footage-jet-fighter-heroic' genre, with perhaps an homage to Minority Report worked in.

  • Eric Freeman at Plasma Pool: "Tim Pawlenty is running for president, and he has an ad masquerading as a movie trailer to prove it. We’re all counting on you to defeat the aliens, Tim!"
For reasons we’ve never fully understood, he got pigeonholed early on as 2012’s “bland” candidate (“blandidate,” if you will), and despite his best efforts, he can’t seem to shake that label for some stupid reason. So what’s the most rational way for Pawlenty to fix this? If you didn’t answer, “release an ad for his book that looks like a Michael Bay trailer,” you’re clearly a moron. In terms of movie-ness, this commercial makes Palin’s Mama Grizzlies video look like a Mike Gravel ad.
I found this ad fascinating, for one major reason.  Right off the top, it invokes a bunch of cliches that we are used to getting from action film trailers.  Which is the intention, of course, but is a really strange thing to do, because aping the cliches of film trailers is something that is done frequently in our culture, and, until Pawlenty made this ad, it was done every single time as parody.  Even when people are goofing off with friends, you know that when someone starts to intone, “In a world where....”, whatever comes next is a joke.  If it’s a video that makes use of film trailer cliches for any reason other than to be a straightforward film trailer, then it’s a joke.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.