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Interesting that with the latest James Bond film, Casino Royale, not only are there fewer gadgets and fewer unrealistic action scenes (though they can't...

Interesting that with the latest James Bond film, Casino Royale, not only are there fewer gadgets and fewer unrealistic action scenes (though they can't eliminate these entirely; where's the fun in that?), but there's also less product placement, in contrast to the seemingly brand-a-minute atmosphere of the previous two decades of Bond films.

The product placement had gotten so egregious that there is even a Web site quiz on what brands appear in which Bond movies. In some cases, brands merely help convey a certain style or sense of place. Bollinger appears in many of the films, and Terlato Wine Group CEO Bill Terlato says his company pays no fees for the free advertising; it's the filmakers that requested permission.

But when a scene of a house break-in in A View to a Kill shows a close-up of a Sharper Image-branded gadget, audience members may be inclined to feel manipulated. Perhaps some filmakers, regardless of the high price of studio moviemaking, are beginning to appreciate that less can be more.

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