07 September, 2011

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (Documentary)


Okay, I'm going to need your help on this one. This documentary (Yup! it's not exactly a "movie", but minor point), for me, didn't really do anything besides prove or rather state an observation that I believe everyone is aware of.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is about how product placement has become such an integral part of the cinema world (I say that because it's clearly universal) that at times even scripts are changed to support the multimillion companies "sponsoring" the movies. So, in order to state this point, or prove it (I can't tell), the director Morgan Spurlock goes about making a documentary about product placements and finances it by getting companies to sponsor the entire documentary. So technically the "movie" is about getting the movie made. 

Now, my problem with the documentary is that the whole idea of getting money off sponsors to get the movie made in exchange of product placement is something known to everyone. It's also common knowledge that then this very money is again put back into the advertising world when the movie itself is promoted. So, that part was no surprise.

What works for this documentary is that is gives you an idea about the workings of the whole procedure. From initial meetings, to lengthy legal documents, to the arm twisting, basically everything that is now common in the business world. Whatever is not, you might have already seen glimpses of in Entourage which in a funny way is an expose into the movie industry of the west.

From a psychological point of view there is a rather interesting debate that originates from all of this. Does taking money to product place means selling out? Does this mean that you have left your integrity behind and simply believe that money makes the world go round? Opinions on this debate are varied. There are people who feel that they would not "sell out" no matter what, while others who think that if product placement means getting their movie made, then there is no harm in it. 

So, all I really got out of the documentary was maybe get to know about some of the names behind the business end of the movies. Now, some people might argue that that was the entire motive of the movie. It got these people publicity and it's something that they are not ashamed of. It's not done in a subtle way and in fact one of the lawyers early on says that the reason he gave a free counseling session to Spurlock is because he will get publicity out of it. But my question is that for someone who is not a part of the movie industry and who is not likely to get in touch with these people ever, do I really care?

So, if you think I missed out on something do drop me a comment and let me know. I really hope there was more to the documentary than what I made it out to be.


Rating 2.5/5, no wait 3/5 just because their promotional posters, especially the "Last Supper" one, are brilliant.    
  

2 comments:

  1. I agree that it didn't go deep into the subject or taught new things, but it did show a side of the industry which we will never see otherwise. Besides that Morgan Spurlock is a very entertaining and enthousiastic documentary maker who I always enjoy watching.

    BTW, coming week will be documentary week on my blog, you might be interested...

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  2. True Nostra. I finally saw SuperSize Me and I appreciate him a lot more as a documentarian now.

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