Well, if you weren’t scared about fast food before, you should be after watching this entertaining documentary by Morgan Spurlock. He takes on the challenge of eating nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days straight, and by Day 2 he’s already regurgitating his quarter pounder! What’s startling about this documentary is the clear effect it has on Spurlock the further he goes with this ridiculous diet. After 2-3 weeks, one of his doctors tells him he has liver poisoning akin to an alcoholic. He gains a lot of weight, he becomes depressed and starts to feel addicted to the food. Perhaps it’s a little over the top but it does make you stop and think about what you’re eating every time you go in to a McDonald’s or any other fast food restaurant.
In between updates on Spurlock’s McDonald’s binge is an assortment of interviews with experts and everyday people who give their views on the food industry. These interviews offer some fascinating tidbits of information (eg how McDonald’s markets its food to children using playgrounds at their restaurants to associate in young minds a good time with eating their product) as well as some tragic tales including one man who had to undergo a stomach reduction surgery after he had no other choice to lose weight – both he and his wife drank gallons and gallons of soft drink every day, and as Spurlock points out, what is the point of selling massive cups of soft drink to the consumer? And why can’t they offer something other than fries as a side food?
A big message from this documentary is the notion of a corporation taking over an eating experience and denigrating it to the lowest common denominator to satisfy stock holder bottom lines. As Spurlock and others point out in the doco (and in the extra features), McDonald’s and others ruthlessly exploit their markets to get every dollar they can, whereas similar restaurants who started out at the same time have been able to retain their wholesomeness, and freshness of food, albeit without global domination of the market. Public health is more important than stockholder profits. There’s also a criticism of the lack of funding for healthy food and campaigns, with their advertising budgets not coming any where close to the gigantic advertising budgets of McDonald’s – they just can’t compete and the message is, people will suffer.
This documentary had a big impact on McDonald’s who perceived quite rightly that it was a threat to its reputation. They immediately issued menus with dietary requirements for all stores, and began selling ‘healthy’ alternatives on their menus, and began sponsoring ‘get healthy’ campaigns to appear as if they were doing their part to keep people educated about what they eat. And they also scrapped their ‘super size’ meal option. If nothing else, this documentary put fast-food players like McDonald’s on notice. They may be giants, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be held accountable.
A fun documentary with a serious message that anyone can enjoy.
For the complete, original DVD review, click this link: http://www.allaboutmovies.net/dvdreviewsupersizeme.htm
Alex DeMattia is the lead DVD reviewer at the film/DVD review web site All About Movies.net. He also contributes reviews and articles for the Digicosm Film Blog: http://www.filmannex.com/Digicosm