"The Chase" (also known as "The Magic Begins") is a four-part 1987 Pepsi commercial/miniseries starring Pop music megastar Michael Jackson, who at the time was the face of their "Choice of A New Generation" campaign, and is quite possibly the most elaborate series of Pepsi commercials to feature Jackson.
After ending his concert with a Pepsi variant of his (then) new single "Bad", Michael attempts to leaves the arena, only to have his chopper blocked off by both fans and paparazzi alike rushing towards him. What follows is a chase across California as Michael desperately tries to shake off the overeager mob.
A fan-made remaster of the commercials can be viewed here.
The commercial was originally going to use a song called "Price Of Fame" as the central music track, but was replaced by "Bad", as the latter was headed to number one on the music charts around filming time. The unreleased version featuring "Price Of Fame" with many deleted/alternate scenes can be viewed here.
Parts in order:
- "The Chase"
- "The Chopper"
- "The Museum"
- "The Finale"
These Michael Jackson commercials feature examples of:
- Book-Ends: The first and last commercials respectively begin and end with Michael Jackson performing in an arena.
- Chase Scene: One that serves as the framing device for four commercials.
- Deus ex Machina: Michael's last second escapes. In "The Museum", Michael gets cornered twice by the mob and suddenly disappears as soon as they get close to him. It's strongly implied he's jumping through pictures and televisions to get away, but there's no obvious signs of magic being used in the commercials.
- Drives Like Crazy: In the tail end of "The Chopper", Michael hops in a car to get away from the mob. While the viewer doesn't see much of his actual driving, it's telling that he nearly drives headlong into a construction site.
- Everyone Chasing You: To the point where Michael has to get creative in his evasions.
- Oh, Crap!: Understandably, Michael gets this quite a few times, even with an "Oh, Crap!" Smile:
- The very first is when his only means of transportation is blocked off. He tries to play it off with a nervous smile, until he realises he's stuck on top of the arena's roof with no safe way down.
- In "The Chopper", he has one when he nearly runs head on into the mob. Another comes almost immediately after, when he nearly drives his car into a construction zone, and when he's forced to ditch it to escape.
- "The Museum" has him taking refuge inside a museum. He gets a worried look on his face when he hears the the mob catching up.
- Paparazzi: A mix of this and Groupie Brigade is what makes up the mob that chases Michael throughout the commercials.
- Portal Picture: With a Television Portal thrown in as well. In the final cut, Michael hit two dead ends, with the mob hot on his tail, and is strongly implied to have escaped at the last second via jumping into a picture (in a museum gallery) and later a television (in a diner). A deleted scene has him hit a dead end in a back alley, only to escape though a San Fransisco billboard, which would have explained the sudden switch between night and day in the second commercial.
- Product Placement: Goes without saying that there's several Pepsi logos and cans shown throughout the commercials, but it's telling that the final cuts made their appearances somewhat less obnoxious than they initially were going to be. And of course, the Pepsi-fied versions of "Bad" and "Price Of Fame" played throughout the commercials.
- Repurposed Pop Song: "Bad" was well on it's way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (if it wasn't there already) at filming time, so it made sense for Michael to use it in the commercial for a little extra boost in sales. A track called "Price Of Fame" was the initial theme for the commercials, but was shelved in favor of "Bad". The original version was released posthumously on Bad 25, but it's Pepsi recording did not see the light of day until it's leak in 2015.
- Road Block: Construction site variant. Michael nearly drives into it during his escape.
- Too Many Belts: Downplayed. Michael wears two variations of his outfit from the "Bad" music video, but they have much less buckles on them.
- Where It All Began: Michael ultimately winds up back in the same arena he ran from.