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SUPER SIZE ME   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Tuesday, 07 September 2004

"All I need is a good idea" said George Lucas, when he sat down to write Star Wars : The Phantom Menace. Morgan Spurlock had that good idea. And it didn't involve Jar Jar Binks neither.

 

The modern documentary is the latest and best art form. The rise of the DVD "extra feature" has made the documentary derigeur. A behind the scenes crew capturing the birth of a film. Or a record. Or something else.

After all, it's not long now. Dissent is a byproduct. Dissent is a commodity. Dissent is market. After all, if it's profitable, it's profitable. Rebellion, it always sells at a profit.

But thank God the documentary market has boomed. Documentary was once the bastion of late night cheap TV : TV no longer shows documentaries. They're scared. Papers don't print exposes. They're scared. Free Speech is too expensive.

Documentary is now not just documentary : documentary is a statement. Farenheit 911 plays loose and fast with the rules and the facts to prove a point, and does so brilliantly. But what about Super-Size Me?

For a start, Super-Size Me funny. On occasion side-splittingly so. Take our human guinea pig (or our very own, human, smoking monkey, if you prefer) : Morgan Spurlock. Morgan is average height, weight and health. Watch him crumble as he eats McDonalds morning, noon and night for 31 days, sticking to a strict McDiet that is horrific in it's proportions. By the end he stumbles, short of breath, visibly flabby and unhealthy, up his short flight of stairs, collapsing before waking with palpatations.

What McDonalds does to your insides is vile. Seeing Morgan awed by the mounatins of sugar, salt, fats and Other Things That Are Bad For You is a truly frightening sight. Even more so when we choose to fed the beast by feeding ourselves.

It's a no frills movie : there's no bending of the facts. He just eats and eats, and wisecracks. The vomiting, the open chest stomach surgery, the blood tests, all are shown unflinchingly. The blood sugar levels, cholestoral results, the ever expanding waistline, all are shown here in their full gory glory.

But it isn't just some guy eating Big Mac's for 30 days. As part of his month, Morgan takes us on a whirlwind tour of McDonaldsWorld TM , from the risible Hamburger University, to the school mealtimes with vended Coke, and hospitals living with the Golden Arches as it's official visitor restaurant. It's an ugly, wicked sight. It shows the vile truth underneath the peeled back patty of Happy Meals and unhappy, unhealthy customers and employees.

Super-Size Me is the most powerful film of the year. More so, even, than Farenheit 911, because Super-Size Me is a document. It shows McDonalds for what it really is, with clever juxtaposition of facts, figures, Big Mac Heart Attacks, voxpops with punters, and good humour.

You will probably never eat in a McDonalds again. Or a Burger King. Or a KFC. Super-Size Me can change lives. So go my Supersized Man-Armies, and free the slaves from McDonalds. Oh, and by the way. Do you want Fries with that?

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