Paul Walker's Viral Tribute Shouldn't Feel Like a 'Fast & Furious' Ad (VIDEO)

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Paul WalkerActor Paul Walker's tragic death continues to dominate headlines this week, from the coroner's report listing his cause of death (unsurprising yet sadly gruesome) to the mystifying ongoing questions of whether the Porsche he was riding in was going too fast (I'm not saying it's not worth investigating what happened on Saturday, but did you see what the godawful wreckage looked like? I'm going to go way out on a limb and say the speed issue is probably not up for debate at this point). The latest wave of news comes in the form of a viral video, thanks to the Fast & Furious YouTube page.

Universal Studios has released a tribute to Paul Walker, and it's being described as "heartbreaking" and "beautiful." It's racked up over 1.6 million views as of this writing, and it's ... well, it's a really nice video. The soundtrack is fantastic (Skylar Grey's "I'm Coming Home"). There are lots of great shots of Walker.

It's also, undeniably, a two-minute ad for the Fast & Furious franchise.

I know, I know. What kind of monstrous asshole criticizes a tribute video? I'm trying to be delicate here, but there's just something about the video that makes me kind of sad for how Paul Walker will be remembered. Check it out:

It's a lovely video, right? Nicely edited, great music. Even if you're not a huge fan of the movies and you didn't know much about Walker, it's the sort of thing that makes you feel a little choked up.

Which is why it feels a little ... exploitive? Maybe that's too strong of a word. I feel like the fact that they only included movie footage, rather than even a single offscreen moment, ties Walker's persona to his Fast & Furious character as though he didn't even have an identity outside of the franchise. There are lots of nice moments of Walker in the video, but it feels less like a tribute to him in particular and more like a commercial for the movies. Even the Vin Diesel-delivered dialogue about how important family is seems manipulative. Walker had a family, a daughter, but this video is all about the guy he played on the big screen.

I understand he probably really was like family to the cast and crew, but this wasn't something Universal made and released internally as a private memorial. It was designed to go viral, to be shared among fans, and to create more loyalty to the franchise. The best thing about the clip, in my opinion, is the fact that Walker's friends and family are able to use it as a vehicle to share this message:

Paul Walker's family appreciates the outpouring of love and goodwill from his many fans and friends. They have asked, in lieu of flowers or other gifts, that donations please be made to Paul's charity Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW). Donations can easily be made through their website at http://www.ROWW.org/.

What do you think of Universal's tribute video to Paul Walker?


Image via Universal

celebrity death

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Nchole Zenz Wiest

Wow -- I have to say I agree with you.  If I didn't know the circumstances or what I was watching, I would be thinking to myself "what a great movie trailer!"  Beautiful, yet sad.

nonmember avatar Andralyn

I see what you are saying, but this may be the way that Universal Studios wanted you to remember him and they probably just want to keep his personal life private, like how he lived. Make it more sacred to his friends and family.

Steph... Steph1499

Well I do agree that its not a huge personal tribute but that man made 6 of those movies and from what I have read the cast members were like family.  Plus I think it is a little tacky to ask his daughter and other family members to provide pictures and videos of him for the tribute since it just happened.  So they went with a professional tribute of him.  

nonmember avatar Maggie

I am...conflicted about this. As someone whose boyfriend is in the automotive industry (and personally knew the driver, Roger Rodas, and, sadly, can be seen as an extra in the first F&F clip shown), I get it. The F&F franchise has a huge following, and is part of a culture...those involved in that overall lifestyle (racing, modifying cars, etc.), do kind of feel like their own family, and Universal made the tribute to show those fans the only side of Walker they knew. Yes, it would have been nice to include some candid off-screen clips, also, but knowing what that culture is like, I understand why they did what they did. Not to mention, Walker was very private about his private life, so I wouldn't expect anyone to include anything about his family & relationships, out of respect for the privacy that he seemed to work hard to protect.

nonmember avatar Maria

I agree with Maggie. He was a private person up to the time of his untimely passing. Why would you expect his family and friends to start sharing his life with the public in the wake of his death. Universal did a great job, should they have included other clips of movies that he was in maybe but I think it is beautiful and heartfelt.

Mandi Perkins

I agree, I feel like it's a tribute to his character in the Fast and the Ferious series rather than Paul Walker himself. I get that it's what he is best known for, and some footage from the movies would have been ok along with some real life footage/photos of him, but like I said above, how it is right now it seems like it's for his character not him.

and to  
Andralyn - it didn't even necessarily have to include any of his private life but maybe clips from other movies, photos of him out at public event - any other photos of him that have already been made public, anything like that would have worked. 

nonmember avatar Nikole

I think this is what he loved in his personal and private life, he enjoyed fast cars and racing and this brings both his private and professional life together without the outside world knowing too much of his personal buisness.

SaphireH SaphireH

This is theirs and im sure there will be more. I myself love it, yes i've seen a lot of his other movies but to me he will always be Brian O'Conner. For me the Fast and Furious movies hold a place in my life for a private reason so that's how i will remember Paul Walker the best

Shari Hester

saw nothing wroung with it ,loved paul and will miss his smile and beleive god has a good guy on the f and f team,gods racers in heaven.

nonmember avatar Daria

I agree , they could have at least used bits from the interviews, even those promoting the movie, would have still made it more about Paul not the character

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