Movie merchandising has been around forever. Its roots can be traced way back to 1939 when MGM capitalized on its runaway smash hit by releasing a line of fully articulated Gone With The Wind action figures, featuring that Christmas’s hottest toy, Rhett Butler with Not Giving a Damn Action. Sadly, the short-lived line was discontinued when concerned parents took issue with what they believed was a defective toy with missing legs, but was in reality, the Three-Fifths of a Citizen Mammie figure.
Usually film merchandise is released when, or in most cases before, a major release hits theaters. Savvy companies can make millions by striking when the iron is hot. Then again, there is another way. Release a film, let it seep into the popular consciousness, then release a tie-in product a scant 38 years later. When that happens, we get Soylent Green Crackers.
If you’ve not seen Soylent Green (38 year old spoiler alert!), you are probably at least familiar with the oft-referenced line delivered by the always terrible Charlton Heston, “Soylent Green is people!”
The film is set way off in the year 2022, in a dystopian world where the earth is overpopulated, food is scarce, video games still look like Asteroids, and homicide detectives wear neckerchiefs.
Between bouts of bedding hot ladies and chewing the scenery, old Chuck discovers that the main component of the Soylent Corporation’s little green food wafers is none other than dead human beings. Gasp!
It’s not great, but it’s fun and watchable.
Unfortunately, these crackers are not made of people (stupid government nutrition laws). They are made from the usual crackery ingredients like enriched flour and buttermilk but also contain a touch of spinach and spirulina powders for color and novelty. And they are officially licensed through Warner Brothers. So there’s that.
This product’s package design is excellent. The box is an imagining of how the wafers would be sold in the film’s world, down to the grasping hands of food rioters and the “high energy plankton” selling point. Minus the manufacturer’s steam perforations, the crackers themselves look almost exactly like their Hollywood prop counterparts. Ok, so it’s probably not very difficult to produce edible green squares. But still.
In Soylent Green, the country’s populace clamors to get their hands on Soylent Green, as it is supposed to taste way better than Soylent Red or Soylent Yellow, the other two processed foodstuffs made by the evil antagonist corporation. Not knowing what those two taste like, I can’t say that these crackers taste better, but I can say that they taste good. They are green saltines, after all, and who doesn’t like a saltine? And to be clear, the greens added to the saltines are not in any crazy amounts, so they only have a marginal effect on their flavor. Barely noticeable.
They are a little denser than the Nabisco Premiums you may be used to, but that doesn’t detract from the experience at all. When you’re living in stairwells and scrabbling for resources, you want as much bang for your buck as you can get anyway.
Soylent Green Crackers are novelty food at its finest. They taste good, are packaged well, and have a very clear line of site to their cinematic inspiration. Everyone needs a box of these in their home. The sexy concubine that came with your apartment will certainly appreciate them.