You often hear the term “edutainment” thrown around. I’ve used it in a few reviews regarding films that keep the audience thrilled while offering plenty of food for thought, but I usually pair the word to learning tools a teacher could use in a grade school homeroom.
Whether you’re watching GMO OMG for fun or using it to study up about genetically modified organisms, Jeremy Seifert’s film is able to keep you stimulated with its good naturedness while providing and delivering a lot of information in an engaging way.
After being inspired by his son’s fixation to seeds as well as his own questioning about what his kids were eating, Seifert headed out to make a film about such topics. The filmmaker brings his family along for the journey as he interviews an array of subjects including streeter interviews of people unknowing of what a GMO actually is.
It’s a note that strikes close to Morgan Spurlock’s questions about how harmful calories can be in Super Size Me. In fact, GMO OMG does feel like a movie that tries hard to wiggle its way out of Spurlock’s shadow, and eventually does. Mostly because of Seifert’s gentle yet inquisitive presence on screen and behind the camera.
Seifert is as much of an everyday Joe as Spurlock is, and his environmental passion is as strong as Revolution’s Rob Stewart (minus the narcism). His attempts to lighten the mood also feel motivated by stunts Michael Moore has pulled in his docs. But whereas some movie goers look at Moore as more of an aggressive instigator than a professional, Seifert’s acts are motivated because he wants to keep his children involved in the awareness of and against GMOs.
I liked Jeremy and his down-to-earth interaction with his family. He’s quick on his feet, knows how to relay information successfully, and he serves as a trustworthy source – though his persistence gets a tad touchy when he’s trying to damper a good time while his children are happily eating ice cream. That said, there are only a few times where the filmmaker comes across as a Debbie Downer, but that’s what happens when the film’s Captain is impelled to spread the word about what’s really happening behind “All Natural” foods.
GMO OMG doesn’t necessarily blow the lid off of anything since GMOs are relatively known as something that normally doesn’t benefit our nutrition – whether you know what the acronym stands for or not. But, what this film does considerably well is the act of pulling everything apart and showing how it’s all connected. For instance, just because a product claims to use ingredients that are seemingly pure, they may have been affected by a slight tinge of a GMO in their conceptual stages. An example using a rainbow trout caught in a secluded cove is something that’ll make your jaw drop.
The filmmaker has outdone himself to make sure he doesn’t shorthand his audience on legitimacy. Everything that’s displayed for the audience (either from his mouth or through spunky animations) is cited almost immediately – Seifert isn’t telling any tales out of school. He also conducts some interviews with customer service reps over the phone. Instead of stopping his movie to focus primarily on the call, the film keeps on playing while the stumped agent on the other end gives their contrived answers over top relevant cutaways.
GMO OMG is a doc that also isn’t afraid to highlight tangental topics, such as how corporate greed plays a key role behind corn vaccinations and the unwillingness to implement GMO warnings on packaged goods. It’s also quite baffling to see how unprotected we are, even if we think we’re buying “the right stuff”. What better way to represent that fearful example than someone who has nothing but admiration and respect for the people he needs to provide meals for.
It may sound like I’m putting a heavy emphasis on Jeremy’s family and their importance to GMO OMG. Seifert will point the camera on his cute kids whenever he’s given the opportunity, but their presence doesn’t get overbearing because it serves a significant purpose. While GMO OMG does an outstanding job showing us the web behind genetically modified foods, the film also stresses just how crucial it is to make a difference for future generations who will have to provide for themselves and – someday – for their own families.
By the end, GMO OMG has done its part. It’s notified us of the problem, and has left matters up to us. It’s very easy to want to follow in Seifert’s footsteps and contribute to a make a difference.