on March 18, 2012
at 04:39 PM
Spoiler alert. Don't read this if you've not yet seen the movie and don't want to see a very detailed overview / review.
Overall, it's somewhat entertaining, maybe it's enough to show to family members who you'd want to convert to Paleo, but not compelling, and not deep, and missing important aspects of the Paleo diet. Loads of useless video game-ish like animations and sound effects in a GUI like form that looks like something from an X/Box game. Had a lot of good moments, some great moments, but also plenty of failures, spoiling it for me.
The anthropological bits were great, and the supermarket walk through was good. The rest, not so much.
IMO, the $30+ total spent on this would be better spent on Cordain's Paleo Answer, and Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution books instead.
Maybe I expected too much.
Below is a scene by scene of my opinion of it. Skip the rest of this if you want to see the movie yourself - not that there's any surprise plot twists in this. :)
The back story was compelling. The flashback to 1978 scene and the heart attack on the track as well as the medical advice given after the run were pretty grim and moving. So, that part won me over immediately. Good music there too. WIN!
The first 5 minutes of the movie was fine, but then, got video-gameish. There's a lot of unncessary graphics and sound effects, trying to preset some sort of futuristic video game like GUI when presenting information. These are complete with whooishing, buzzing, and beeping sound effects. Found these very distracting and annoying, maybe they were targeted at 15 year olds. But as I'm not one, I say: EPIC FAIL!
At about 5 minutes in after the Michelle Obama clip, the screen zooms out to an iPad like frame and then scrolls into various iPhone, iPad, android phones. One of them clearly has a Verizon logo and an LG logo, another an HTC logo! Even if those companies funded this movie, (doubtful): FAIL!
Later, another media wall, showing videos, but this was prefaced with "A google search shows tons of conflicting information." Sorry, what does googling for information on the web have to do with a media wall of videos? Web pages, I could understand, but videos? FAIL!
Of course, we couldn't have had a bunch of clip-show bits trying to scare us, without mention of how 400K people die each year obesity and that just has to be measured as "About 100 9/11's" along with explosion footage of the WTC. Seriously? Was that necessary? Isn't it about time to let go of that tragedy? Was Rudolph Guiliani the producer of this movie? FAIL!
There is some good advice about doing your own research and your own thinking VS accepting conventional wisdom. WIN!
Then, an introduction to the Price-Pottenger Foundation via sepia toned animations of a leather bound book showing tribal pictures with great teeth jaw/structures. Mentions Weston A. Price, and his search for the original diets. Finally the movie starts to take off. WIN!
The segment with Dr. O'Day on the Australian Aborigines leads in with a white board hand drawing animation, very cool - good use of animations for once. When they moved to cities they started getting sick from neolithic diseases, but when returned to the traditional ways of life, insulin and cholesterol normalized within a week on a high protein diet, without exercise. WIN!
Next a segment by Jay Wortman on the Canadian First Nations tribes, on how returning to a VLC diet fixed many neolithic problems. WIN!
A couple of minutes was wasted chasing the details of other diets, such as views from Vegetarianism/Veganism. But this was required to fit in with the "In Search of" theme, ok, I'll take it. It had some good advice about how companies are processing real foods, selling them as crap-in-a-box at 8x-10x the price vs real food. Ok, I'll accept the detour to vegan land.
The "Soy Jerky" abomination speaks more to the fact that people are tricked into avoiding meat for political reasons, but really at our core we still crave it. Why else would someone put up with fake meat-like foods if they weren't craving meat to begin with? Obvious!
The maker of the soy jerky said our guts are herbivore guts, this was immediately debunked in the next segment by Dr. Eades! EPIC WIN!
But the movie missed an opportunity to mention what's wrong with soy, how it's mostly GMO, and how it contains phytoestrogens as well as anti-nutrients. FAIL!
On to Banting and his Letter on Corpulence and a segment by Taubes. WIN!
Then Dr. Weil who changed his stance on fat and stated it clearly, and Sally Fallon, on the Framingham Study. WIN!
Next, the My Plate is analyzed and its failings shown by Dr. Eades, Adele Hite, and Robb Wolf (on steel cut oats vs snackwells). WIN! Best part was about how to fatten up farm animals: same ratios as the food pyramid. "Farmers use the USDA food pyramid to fatten their animals." EPIC WIN!
On to Dr. Cordain, who went over how he was inspired by Boyd Eaton, and then followed the references in paper after paper... This finally includes good graphics of humans migrating across the world. No gratuitous GUI, but good use of a 3D map with photos and timeline graphics. WIN!
Cordain did a great bit on a football field where he describes the timeline of the Homo-genus and how only in at the half yard line, milk and grains were introduced, then the last fifth of the last inch of the football field, did we start our exposure to crap-in-a-box. EPIC WIN!
Next, a trip to the AMNH with Gary Sawyer to look back at the hominids of two million years ago, and how eating meat caused brains to grow, then on to anatomically modern humans. EPIC WIN!
Next, Dr. Leslie Aiello on evolution for the last 7 Million Years and the hominids there along with their diet, and how after 2MY, the big change started. And how once agriculture started, the spectrum of variety dropped, and how we see nutritional deficiencies in the skeletons after the agricultural age. Win!
Off to a dig site in Jonzac, France with Dr. Shannon McPherron, a paleolithic archeologist. We see a huge number of bone layers along with stone tools, for both Neanderthals and moderns, along with the bones of the hunt. How they were intelligent, successful hunters, and the question of why moderns survived but Neanderthals did not. Then Dr. Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Plank Institute goes over bone analysis and health from these finds: tall, strong, very healthy, we're not meant to eat sugar, cereals and stuff like that. EPIC WIN!
Dr. Michael Richards in Leipzig Germany on milk, cereals, and the realization that these diets are not so good for us. Studied bone chemistry to see the composition of hominid bones to compare to carnivores vs herbivores, so we see modern and ancient humans get their food from animal protein, and very little plant foods. In Neolithic sites, he sees much lower nitrogen isotope values indicating plant protein food intakes.
"So until modern agriculture, were there any vegetarians?" "I don't think so... sometimes we do, but find out we accidentally sampled a cow instead." ... "Nomadic life style, lots of hunting and eating of animals, some wild plants, lots of exercise, moving around, that's what's been successful... This kind of paleolithic diet is the most optimum for modern humans, it has to be, it's what evolutionary pressure has gotten us to." EPIC WIN!
Onto Dr. Lane Sebring, who puts paleo foods in practice. Human (lean meats, chicken fish, fruit nuts vegetables) vs non-human food (grains, dairy after two years old, beans, potatoes.) Grains cause us to lose height, inflammatory diseases of the gut, arthritis, etc. Effects of eating protein vs carbs. Start with protein, surround by veggies, maybe add some fruits or nuts for snacks. EPIC WIN!
Then CJ and Dr. Sebrig go through a supermarket and show what should be eaten and avoided. Also filled with computer graphics, with icons for CJ and Dr. Sebring, which for a movie about a paleolithic diet seems an anachronism...
But they go over which kinds of meats are good (no mention of grassfed!) how frozen veggies might be better than "Fresh" that has been sitting around. Organic vs conventional and pesticides. Limiting fruit and a very brief mention of fructose. Fruit vs juice.
Loved how these had "Non-Human Food" logos over them in red with a buzzer sound - good use of graphics here. WIN!
Mentions of insulin spikes from two slices of bread being higher than a cup of sugar. WIN!
Going over various products such as fake-maple syrup, breads and cereals, blurred out so as to not show product logos (but they show cereal boxes in other scenes!) How whole grains are a gimmick. Mentions that cereals block absorption of minerals and that grains block their absorption, even if you take vitamins. Some mention of the dangers of artificially sweetened syrup, but not deep.
Not much mention of why we should avoid legumes, i.e. soy/peanuts, industrial seed oils. FAIL! Absolutely no mention of leaky gut. FAIL!
Robb Wolf was limited to just a few small clips. He should have had a lot longer segment to describe what the Paleo diet is in full detail, as he has done on his podcast. It could have been done within 5 minutes, and this movie, being an hour and a half, certainly had room for another bit of content at least!
Also, I would have loved to see the full interviews with all of these folks as extras on the DVD, but these were not provided. LAME.
on March 18, 2012
at 02:45 PM
Saw the trailer, looks interesting... and expensive, I live in Europe. I imagine it will say what we all expect it to say... that is be pretty paleo-oriented. I could be wrong.
on March 19, 2012
at 01:51 AM
I'm going to get it and show it to anyone who I can get to sit down and watch it. I'll come back and read the review once I've watched it. The preview looked great. And, CJ Hunt seems like a really nice and sincere guy wanting to make a difference. I got to speak with him briefly at paleo f(x).