Morgan Spurlock's previous documentaries were attention-grabbing in content, but simplistic in structure. In Super Size Me he consumed nothing but food from McDonald's for a month to see what would happen. In Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? he went looking for the film's namesake. So what exactly is the deal with Spurlock's latest doc, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold?
There's a trailer out now for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival release, but watching it may leave you as confused about Spurlock's new project as most of the corporate officials that appear in the theatrical preview seem to be.
Here's an official description of Spurlock's latest documentary:
‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’ unmasks the marketing process to bring audiences behind closed doors directly into the pitch meetings and marketing presentations which ultimately inform our everyday entertainment decisions. Sponsors were provided with brand category exclusivity. Each of the brands represented in the film have sponsorship arrangements with Spurlock, placing him front and center in their brand campaigns and advertisements, both on and off-line. Partners have the unique right to promote themselves in association with Spurlock and the film as “The Greatest.” The agreements also stipulate that Spurlock maintains creative control of the film’s content and final edit.
In other words, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a film about product placement in film, that was financed by product placement, and is composed primarily of footage - which also includes a good deal of product placement - that documents Spurlock's quest to attain the proper backing for his project.
If your brain is still working after reading that, watch the trailer (via Yahoo! Movies) below:
Spurlock may pitch his new film as "the 'Iron Man' of documentaries," but Jimmy Kimmel's featured quote in this trailer, describing The Greatest Movie Ever Sold as "the 'Inception' of documentaries" is pretty much right on the money.
Much like Christopher Nolan's sci-fi blockbuster both questions the nature of reality and - being a work of cinematic art - is itself a representation of reality, Spurlock's Greatest Movie Ever Sold examines the nature of advertising in movies, and is itself an unorthodox advertisement.
Confused? Early buzz for Spurlock's Greatest Movie Ever Sold has been quite positive, and the actual pic shouldn't be as difficult to understand while watching it - versus analyzing its multiple layers of meaning. The best movies tend to be both entertaining and leave you with food for thought, so Spurlock's latest looks to be on the right track in that sense.
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold begins a limited theatrical release next month on April 22nd.