After learning about lawsuits filed by two obese women against McDonald’s – accusing the fast-food giant of making them obese – Morgan Spurlock decided to eat nothing but food from McDonald’s for 30 days to see what would happen. Even his doctors didn’t expect the eventual results: Spurlock gained 30 pounds, became depressed, experienced a diminished sex drive, and teetered on the edge of liver failure. His doctors even warned him that failure to change his diet immediately would cause death – and he still had a week…to go.
Sprinkled throughout Spurlock’s quest to eat nothing but McDonald’s for a month are: interviews with people on the street, experts in the health industry, and executives for fast food companies. Spurlock goes deeper than just McDonald’s, which is fair, because McDonald’s isn’t the only fast food company out there making people fat today. Spurlock also explores school cafeteria lunches, marketing, and subliminal messages in advertising.
Super Size Me is guerilla film-making at its best. It’s David vs. Goliath, everyman vs. big business. While you won’t necessarily come to hate McDonald’s you may swear never to eat there again, or at least a lot less.
Spurlock comes across as extremely likeable and knowledgeable, and you really worry for him when his doctors tell him to change his diet immediately. We’re also introduced to Spurlock’s vegan-chef girlfriend, Alex, who is both disgusted and worried for Morgan as he eats himself heavier on a pound-a-day average. While Super Size Me can get a little preachy at times, all the information presented is vital and applicable in today’s society.
Super Size Me is educational, and at the same time, as entertaining as anything else for rent at the video store.
Given the success that Super Size Me had at the Sundance Film Festival and in theaters, you would think that the studio made sure the documentary looked the best it could on DVD. They didn’t. The image is letterboxed, but not formatted to fit widescreen televisions. The image is a bit washed out and blurry, which is understandable, given the technology used to film the intimate documentary, but the image could be a lot better.
Presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, Super Size Me isn’t going to be your demo-disc anytime soon. The movie is chocked full of talking, which makes for a less than impressive listening experience. Music does sound surprisingly good when used, and when graphics flash on screen they stretch the field of your surround speakers, but overall, the audio is similar to getting the wrong order at the drive-thru window.
- Commentary – Morgan Spurlock and girlfriend Alex’s commentary really doesn’t offer much insight other than what happens on screen. We do, however, learn more about the cast and crew, and that Spurlock compiled more than 250 hours of film, which needed to be whittled down to roughly 100 minutes. Given that Super Size Me is a documentary, real life situations are already presented on screen, which takes away from the commentary, the usual way to explain what happens behind the scenes on a feature film.
- Interviews – There are six interviews with more talking heads from the health industry, including the author of Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, who ironically doesn’t appear in the film. Schlosser gives the best interview, explaining how the food at McDonald’s and other fast food chains, is chemically and scientifically engineered to taste good, and instead of the normal burger, which is made from ground beef from one animal, McDonald’s burgers are made up of beef from up to a thousand different animals from several different countries. Gross.
- Deleted Scenes – Included are four scenes that didn’t make the film for obvious reasons including a look into Overeaters Anonymous, and the amount of trash that Spurlock collected during his month long McDonald’s diet. While the deleted scenes are interesting on their own, they would have slowed down the pace had they remained in the film.
- The Smoking Fry – The disc’s best feature shows how McDonald’s food breaks down over a long period of time. While the burgers and sandwiches grew nasty funguses and oozed strange fluids after several weeks, the French fries appeared as good as they did coming out of the deep fryer. Yum!
Super Size Me is an excellent look into the perils of fast food and the current state of obesity in America. The documentary is fantastically entertaining and informative, so very vital in today’s society. The many extras included on the disc compliment the film and will make Super Size Me a different, but interesting part of your DVD collection.
Special Features List
- Commentary by director Morgan Spurlock and his girlfriend Alex Jamieson
- Four deleted scenes
- Interview with Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
- Extra interviews
- The Last Supper: recipes from healthy chef Alex