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 doesnít 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 itís getting so bad that commercials arenít even necessary anymore, as the TV show of movie weíre 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 didnít even realize we were being advertised to, but we were, and thatís 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? Itís everywhere- and something that wonít (and canít) go away anytime soon.
Through clips and interviews, Spurlock shows that not only is it rampant, but itís actually necessary to generate budgets for blockbusters such as IRON MAN. He doesnít really say that itís all that bad, but rather, itís the sneakiness of the advertising thatís a problem. He goes to a few directors and asks for their opinions. Peter Berg, who used a lot of it in HANCOCK, isnít a fan of it, but admits itís inevitable. Brett Ratner thinks itís fantastic, while Quentin Tarantino doesnít really care as, as long as itís 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, itís 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 isnít so straightforward, and the film asks more questions than it answers, which isnít necessarily a bad thing. I agree with Tarantino. Itís fine as long as itís not too obvious (i.e- any show on NBC or The CW). One thingís for sure- Iíll never watch IRON MAN the same way again.