Review: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
PLOT: Morgan Spurlock investigates product placement in mass-media, with him deciding to fund a documentary on the subject solely through product placement with corporate partners.
REVIEW: THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD is just as much of an eye-opener as his last film, SUPER SIZE ME. Like that film, it doesnt really tell us anything new. We knew McDonalds was bad going in to SUPER SIZE ME, but did we realize how bad it was really? Like that, we know product placement is rampant in films, but Spurlock proves that its getting so bad that commercials arent even necessary anymore, as the TV show of movie were watching is already one long commercial.
Remember IRON MAN? Remember when Tony Stark, after escaping his captors in Afghanistan, makes his first stop after returning home a Burger King, at which point we actually see him wolf down a Whooper, while saying how good it is? Most of us probably didnt even realize we were being advertised to, but we were, and thats just the tip of the tentacle. How about Matthew Weiner having to include product placement in his new season of MAD MEN in order to get the budget he needs? Its everywhere- and something that wont (and cant) go away anytime soon.
Through clips and interviews, Spurlock shows that not only is it rampant, but its actually necessary to generate budgets for blockbusters such as IRON MAN. He doesnt really say that its all that bad, but rather, its the sneakiness of the advertising thats a problem. He goes to a few directors and asks for their opinions. Peter Berg, who used a lot of it in HANCOCK, isnt a fan of it, but admits its inevitable. Brett Ratner thinks its fantastic, while Quentin Tarantino doesnt really care as, as long as its not too obvious (although he notes that he never uses it- not by choice, but do to the fact that no one seems to want to advertise in his films).
As Spurlock tries to get his film sponsored, he lets us see the extent to which companies try to use films to control their image, with one potential sponsor even insisting on final cut. At what part does artistic integrity suffer? Yet, its still a necessary evil in many cases, with it even being a good thing in certain cases. To that end, Spurlock shows how many schools, after having their budgets slashed, are able to pump more money into the classrooms by selling advertising on school buses or in arenas. Who does it it?
Unlike SUPER SIZE ME, where it was clear McDonalds was very bad for you, GREATEST MOVIE isnt so straightforward, and the film asks more questions than it answers, which isnt necessarily a bad thing. I agree with Tarantino. Its fine as long as its not too obvious (i.e- any show on NBC or The CW). One things for sure- Ill never watch IRON MAN the same way again.