Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On DVD 8/26 - Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?

Morgan Spurlock first gained attention with his Oscar-nominated documentary Super Size Me! Now he turns his attention from Big Macs to bin Laden his latest documentary which takes him through war-torn territories of the Middle East in search of the world's most wanted terrorist.

The set-up is this: With the impending birth of his first child, Spurlock wants to make sure the world is safe for the newborn. The hitch is, the terrorist mind behind 9/11 is still on the loose. So Spurlock sets off with his camera crew to find Osama. Seriously now--if you're about to bring a child into the world, do you risk your life by traveling to the most troubled spots on the planet? Is Spurlock out of his freaking MIND?!!!

It's an audacious idea, but the execution is fairly formulaic: travel to the Middle East and meet with the people and find out what they think. Not suprisingly, most of them claim to like the American PEOPLE, but hate our government. Hey, most American people hate our government, too! And that ends up being Spurlock's major thesis: despite the differences in language, culture and religion and the fact that many people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, etc. live in deplorable conditions due to the constant strife within their countries, we all--Americans and Muslims--just want the peace, prosperity and opportunity to raise our children safely. With the exception of a group of Orthodox Jews in Israel, Spurlock is treated with civility by just about everyone he encounters on his so-called "search" for Osama.

So in the immortal words of Rodney King, "Can we all get along?"

There are moments of brilliant irreverance (e.g.; an animated Osama dancing to M. C. Hammer's Can't Touch This) and introspective wisdom (Father Nabil Haddad, a priest living in Jordan says, "Religion is being used as a mask to hide the cruelty, the ugliness of violence..."), but overall there's very little in the way of ground that hasn't been covered before. Unless you, like Osama, have been living in a cave, Spurlock makes no new points or offers new solutions that haven't been seen or heard in prior commentaries. However, utilizing animation, Final Fantasy-esque video game stylings, traditional interviews, video confessionals and evocative visuals, Morgan Spurlock does manage to give his material a fresh twist--even if he doesn't manage to locate Osama.

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