While I spent most of the elongated Thanksgiving weekend tucked safely away in my home, far away from scuffling PlayStation 3 shoppers, I did emerge briefly to take in a matinee—the latest installment in the James Bond franchise, Casino Royale. My short review: it’s an enjoyable diversion, the action sequences are engaging, and the new guy is perhaps the best Bond since Sean Connery turned in his license to kill for a lucrative career playing The Older But Wiser Rake. The movie’s a bit long—Roger Moore didn’t need 144 minutes to dispense with Karl Stromberg or Mr. Big—but I felt like I got my $7’s worth.
So what does this have to do with technology?
I’ll pause for a moment to give anyone who wants to watch Casino Royale in a state of unspoiled splendor a chance to frantically hit their browser’s back button. OK? Good.
So just about midway through the movie, when Bond arrives in Montenegro for the big Texas Hold ’em game against Le Chiffre, he meets up with his local contact Mathis. It’s at this point that Mathis informs Bond that the police chief is in Le Chiffre’s pocket, but not to worry—one doctored photograph later, and the police chief is being led off in disgrace.
“It’s amazing what you can do with Photoshop these days,” Mathis chuckles.
Now it’s not uncommon to go out to the cineplex or flip on the TV and hear some character on the screen make reference to the Mac or Windows or, these days, the iPod. (A couple months back, my colleague Jonathan Seff spotted just such an instance on the TV series Eureka .) But this is the first time I can remember a movie or TV show name-checking a specific piece of software.
And make no mistake: it’s not as if the Casino Royale screenwriters had to mention Photoshop by name. They could have easily had Mathis saying something along the lines of “It's amazing how easily you can doctor photos these days,” or even the clunkier “It’s amazing what you can do with image-editing software these days.” But someone somewhere figured that Photoshop was such a known quality that you could mention it by name in a major motion picture slated for release around the globe without having to worry about audience members turning to one another and saying, “Huh?” It’s a pretty strong testimony to the amount of mind-share Photoshop commands—not just in the digital-imaging world, but among the population at large.
So am I correct in thinking that it’s unusual for specific software titles to get cinematic shout-outs? Heard any other references similar to Photoshop’s Casino Royale cameo? Let me know in the attached forum thread.