The Lord Of The Rings films earned New Zealand a lot of international good will. On screen, the country seemed picturesque, while New Zealander’s willingness to embrace all things Tolkien made them charming and relatable. And Air New Zealand’s recent Lord Of The Rings-themed safety video stayed on the right side of nerdy, turning the country into the geographical equivalent of Gone Girl’s “cool girl.”
But the airline’s latest safety video calls all that into question. Perhaps New Zealand isn’t a cool girl at all, but merely a weird kid with out-of-date tastes. Because rather than celebrate a timeless fantasy series with a video full of celebrity cameos, Air New Zealand’s latest reference point is apparently 1997’s Men In Black and, specifically, the Will Smith single that accompanied it:
The actual joke here is that New Zealand’s rugby team is the All Blacks, so their players are literally “the men in black.” And while they might not be recognizable to American audiences, the video features celebrity cameos from rugby legends like David Campese, Martin Johnson and Agustin Pichot as well as current All Black players like Israel Dagg, Dan Carter, and Keven Mealamu.
But despite the sports connection, the high production values, the Rip Torn cameo, and the halfway-decent instructional safety lyrics, the whole thing still raises a lot of questions about the timeliness of New Zealand’s pop culture references. Because if the country is still this excited about Men In Black, they should just wait until they see Armageddon next year. [via /Film]